Monday, November 05, 2007

Beijing Hot Pot! (With Super Beef and Chicken Feather-Shaped Vegetable)

My very best meal in China was a Mongolian Hot Pot, well, actually, a Beijing Hot Pot since it's popular there too and they offer local ingredients to make the dish their own. That evening my boss and I went AWOL from an Italian Delegation group dinner and Shanghaied (pun intended) a China expert to take us to an authentic restaurant. What do I mean by authentic? A place that would seem normal to a middle-class Beijing resident. Pier Luca, our hijaked tour guide asked a cab driver (oh what an asset it is to speak the language!) to drive us to a good place to eat. It was that simple.
The menu came in Chinese to Pier Luca and he asked if there was an English-language version as well. Oh what fun that menu was! 5 pages of culinary adventure and hilarious/adorable Sino-English vocabulary choices. Have a close look at this menu page. (Sorry for the poor photo quality) We passed on the "artefactitious crab", "sheep's pizzle" and "ox throat" and went straight for the "super beef" and lamb. My boss wanted to make sure that we ended up with something relatively familiar. For vegetables, we chose some bok choy, mushrooms, cellophane noodles and my favorite, "chicken feather-shaped vegetable". See above. We had initially laughed at it but, when it arrived, we saw the utter logic and descriptiveness of the name, don't you agree? So we began to pick up slices of the raw meat and veggies and drop them into the boiling broth. We'd leave them in just until cooked (less than 30 seconds for the meat to a couple minutes for the bok choy) and then enjoy it hot out of the pot.Last but not least, the fabulous dipping sauce (sorry again for the photo quality) that flavored everything with hints of peanut, sesame, soy, chili and I'm sure a lot of other things. It was fabulous!


Blogger ML said...

That looks absolutely delicious! I'm glad you were able to get something familiar.

3:04 PM  
Blogger kimba said...

Hehehe - sheep pizzle.

BTW, my spelling is horrible, but I did manage to get the name of your blog corrected on my blogroll (I only just noticed).


5:18 PM  
Blogger Cherry said...


I've always wanted to go to a hot pot dinner!

7:53 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi ML, I was totally happy with the familiar meats but if given the chance, I'd have gone for some of the funkier choices too.

Hi Kimba, Yeah, I saw "sheep's pizzle" and asked our China expert if that was really genitalia and at first he said, no way! but then read the Chinese and, indeed it WAS. You've got the right spelling, no prob.

Hi Cherry, Super Beef! The Superhero of meats. Take the first hot pot opportunity that comes your way, it's soo good!

9:35 PM  
Blogger Maddy said...

I don't know how you could pass up the "Balls of Cuttle fish".

11:19 PM  
Blogger hellomelissa said...

fantastic story! i have to live vicariously through your culinary adventures.

1:38 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Maddy, Sadly, my boss declared an all meat, no fish hot pot.

Hi Melissa, hey, any time, BTW, I love your Halloween posts! I get no Halloween 'round these parts.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Susan!

What a menu!!! What is "Islam Ham" I wonder? Or did I just misread the menu?

Super beef sounds so good...and with that fabulous dipping sauce even sheep's pizzle (?) would taste delicious I am sure!

What an adventure Susan, thanks very much for sharing!

12:57 PM  

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