Sunday, August 8, 2010

Famous Beijing Hot Pot

I miss my Singaporean and Chinese friends already... we all went to one of the famous Beijing Hot Pot restaurants last weekend, called "hai di lao" 海底捞 (thanks to shirley for telling me the name). The Singaporeans were from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and they traveled to China with us to take the same manufacturing&warehousing and economic decision analysis classes at Tsinghua University.

When we first got to the restaurant, the waitress gave us hot hand towels to wash off our hands. Or our faces.

They also gave us aprons to wear, apparently hot pot can get pretty messy. Mark loves being the token white guy.

I'd never been to a hot pot restaurant like this before, but my mom has cooked it many times at home. The hot pot was built into the table and heated with gas from underneath, so the food was constantly cooking. I liked how they split the pot into two, so one half was spicy and the other half was not spicy (for people like me, who don't eat spicy food).

If you've never eaten hot pot style food before, the way it works is that you put things like raw meat, fish, veggies, and noodles into a pot of boiling soup and cook it yourself, to your own taste. Its pretty similar to fondue, except with a full meal. The meat is usually sliced thinly so that it can cook within minutes. We ordered a bunch of different stuff at the restaurant, I have no idea what a lot of the vegetables that we ordered were called. This cart was only like the first round of food-the top has seaweed, bamboo shoots, potatoes, cabbage, black fungus, pork, and beef.

You put each plate or bowl of vegetables in one at a time. This is a plate of several different types of mushrooms.

Our friend Yin Hwa (in the apron) enjoyed pretending to be the chef, the two Tsinghua girls sitting on either side of him certainly got a kick out of it. Chinese girls from Tsinghua were a little bit quieter and shy compared to us Americans, perhaps because they weren't as comfortable with their English. I noticed that they tend to stick together and of course they only speak Chinese when they are together.

This is me with two of my Singaporean friends, Genvieve and Sichong :)

Zimu and Mark had a lot of fun trying the different foods together. Zimu is one of the Georgia Tech students, he actually stayed in China after our program and is interning at a logistics company in Shanghai for the fall semester.

Here are a few more of the Singaporeans at our table... Genevieve is really hungry, Donald has no idea that he should watch out!

Chris really enjoyed the bamBOO! Or perhaps this is his evil twin...

Donald made the rookie mistake of taking food right out of the pot and immediately trying to eat it, so it was too hot and he had to cool off the food next to the AC unit. Eating hot pot works best if you transfer the food straight out of the pot to your individual bowl or plate, then eat it after it has cooled for a minute.

The subway trains in Beijing stop running around 11pm, and we just barely made it into the subway to head home before the trains stopped. So while we were waiting for a train, JQ (in the blue skirt) decided that she would sell some of the snacks that we got, just like a street vendor. Chris is trying to bargain her down to $1 rmb per bag of crackers.

We were all so full after the meal! Eating hot pot is great, I would definitely recommend it if you have never tried it before :)


Post a Comment