Hong Kong, December 1, 1999
Is it Chinese or Mongolian Hot Pot?
It was first introduced to me as Mongolian Hot Pot, though
I never did see it in Mongolia,
but none the less, hot pot is a Chinese way of eating. A bowl of boiling
water, heated by burning coal in a fluted center or by a natural gas
flame, and seasoned with hot spices dominates the table. Like fondue, you
dip assorted items in the boiling water till they are cooked to your
Fresh vegetables like spinach, lettuce, odd greens that I swear are roadside weeds, and seaweed are always thrown in, against my crisp-veggie tastes. I do agree that the beef, pork, and chicken needs to be boiled, but the weird stuff turns my stomach.
There is something about the way cow's stomach and pig's intestines look and smell that disgust me. I've gotten to the point that just thinking about it gives me the chills. The last night before I left Hong Kong, Jennifer took me to a special Taiwanese restaurant that specialized in Rooster testicles. Lets just say that they were a lot bigger than I expected, about human size I would guess, and the taste was like liver, not semen.
In the end, I don't think I like hot pot, Mongolian or not. All that boiling fills me up, but it's a bloated feeling really. And with the extremely spicy sauce found in Hong Kong, my stomach isn't happy for hours after I eat. Oh, and the vocal retribution the roosters of Vientiane are inflicting on me at dawn every day is not worth the odd ingredients either. Next time, I'm gonna pass on the hot pot experience.