Hello friends, long time no see!
Well, just the other day, I went to little sheep for some bomb hot pot. And just in case you have no idea what hot pot is, it is a traditional Chinese dinner, where there is a huge pot filled with ingredients as base, hot water or other flavored as soup. So, the whole concept of it, it’s that you just cook the food in the soup and you eat it afterwards. It’s kinda simple but also complicated, people that are non-Chinese are usually pretty confused by it. When I first came to the US, I had no idea what hot pot is called in English, the Chinese name for it is “火锅”, which literally means HOT POT. Haha I don’t know, it was just really funny to me how they just translated it so literally but it also makes so much sense.
So, after the dinner, as always, I posted a picture of it on my Instagram. I always take forever to come up with a caption because I try to keep it professional, but this time, it hit me really hard. I tried to be less cheesy so I wrote my words in Chinese, pretending no one would understand what hidden under my eyes. “吃的不是火锅，是情怀。涮的不是羊肉，是家”
People don’t get it, they often question me, “how do you eat so much”” wow you really eat a huge variety of food”. To me, food isn’t just something to fill your stomach, it is not a supplement for your body. It is a journey, a journey to reflect what is on my head and my emotions. Say ramen as an example, I hate eating it on a sunny day, it is the most suitable food when it is gloomy and a little chilly, ramen is the food I eat when I feel a little down. I love north-east Chinese food, but I only eat it 3 times a year because the more I eat it, the more I miss home, it is a luxury to me. And hot pot, oh how do I even describe it, hot pot is my ultimate comfort food, there is nothing a hot pot dinner can’s fix.
I remember when I was a kid, I could never have hot pot that often, cuz my dad is not allowed to have it according to the doctors. So whenever I got to eat it, is whenever my dad go on a business trip or something, my mom would take me out to a nice hotpot dinner, and it would be like our little date, just between me and my mom. As a kid, it was hard to tell when the veggies or the meat is ready, so I would always start cooking and pull out the veggies every 5 seconds and asking my mom if it was ready yet. Surprisingly, she was never irritated by me and my non-stop questions. Just because how rare it is for me to eat hot pot, we would even go eat this blazing hot dish for lunch in 90 degrees weather. Hot pot is like a little token for me and my mother, whenever I think about it, I think of the little dates me and my mom went on.
Now let’s talk about what are some of my favorite food to eat / cook in the hot pot. For meat, I LOVE LAMB. Coming from the north part of China, our winter is always freezing, and in china, we believe that eating lamb can warm up your inner body. Most people don’t like the taste of lamb because it has some kind of rank smell. Sometimes, I would give beef a try but that’s like never. And for seafood, I love to get shrimp, it always adds a little bit of seafood flavor in the soup, and also growing up next to the ocean, there has to be seafood in every single meal. If the place doesn’t offer shrimp then my best alternative would be shrimp balls, they are less fresh tasting but you gotta do what you gotta do u know. To be honest, I can totally eat hot pot without the meat, just because I am a vegetable killer. For veggies, I love spinach, napa cabbage and this Asian plant called tonghao, it also has a very distinct flavor, it might taste like medicine or even grass if you are a first timer, but trust me, if you cook it long enough, you will fall in love with it. The most important part about hot pot is the sauce, if your soup base doesn’t have a strong flavor, then your food will taste plain like you boiled it with hot water. The most common sauce we love is the sesame sauce, it’s very thick and usually you mix in a little bit of the soup base. Then you dip your cooked meat and veggies in the sauce, and enjoy the life changing meal.
Don’t you want to try hot pot out now? Well here are some of my regular places in south bay area. :)
Little sheep Mongolian hot pot (very northern, get the lamb and no need for sauce)
Boiling point (Taiwanese hot pot style, comes with all the food inside your pot)
Q Pot Korean bbq & hot pot (all you can eat hot pot, huge seafood selection)
Dong Lai Shun (kind of pricy, but very quality food, traditional Beijing hot pot)
Tasty pot (like boiling point, but small portion)
Shabu places (Japanese style, pricy, not a lot of food but you wont be hungry after, great quality food)
Also, there’s a new place just opened up in Cupertino, called “haidilao hotpot”, it’s very famous in china and you can get 4 different types of soup base at same time. I am going to try it out on Valentine’s day hehe, and I will update you guys with the review!!
Once again, thank you guys for reading! I will see you guys soon soon soon!