Of Chinese hotpots

14 04 2010

When we arrived in Xi’an we were greeted by my colleague Yong, Yong and I were classmates in the MBA in St. Gallen last year.  Yong lives and works in Xi’an and was at the train station with his colleague Mr. Lee.  Yong and Mr. Lee were kind enough to show us around until we could check in to our hotel at noon.

We saw the fanciest part of town where the government has built a great looking garden to jack up real-estate prices in the surrounding areas.  It is quite obvious that there is no recession in Xi’an, you can see building cranes everywhere and a lot of things going on. 

We went to a culture center that acted both as a museum displaying traditional Chinese art – paintings, sculptures and antiques – as well as a restaurant and a meeting place for the rich.  The whole place was fancy to say the least but the fanciest piece in the whole place was a nice piece of pork that had been conserved in some kind of transparent coating.  Very arty!

For lunch Yong and Mr. Lee took us to a Chinese hotpot restaurant.  We had never tasted a Chinese hotpot before so we were very excited.  On the table came two pots, one with some kind of lightly seasoned fish broth and a the other with a spicy kind of chili soup. 

We went to a communal table to create a dipping sauce where we could choose from about twenty different ingredients: garlic, chili,  spring onions, ground peanuts, sesame oil, soya sauce, peanut sauce, fish sauce and many others that I didn’t recognize.  We just followed Yong and tried to do as he did.  In the end our dipping sauces tasted great :)

Finally all sorts of things to dip into the boiling hotpots came to the table: mutton, beef, ground meat, mushrooms, seaweed, noodles, beads, fish balls and cabbage and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few items.  Gradually the dipping things were were dipped into the hotpots to boil and then we ate them.  We can both agree that this was absolutely fantastic and the best Chinese food we have ever tasted.  We had a Japanese hotpot in Bangkok but this was much better, especially the spicy one. 

Thank you very much Yong !!!

After the late lunch we had no choice but to go back to our hotel to digest and relax for the rest of the day.  We watched Resident Evil II on the computer – highly recommended …hehe.

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