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Last night was unusual that not only did I stay up until 04:00, the parental units joined me.

We went to Happy Valley at 18:00 and had bowl upon bowl of ma2 la4 huo3 guo1 (hot and spicy fire pot): a sterno or gas burner is placed on your table and on it is a pot of broth, sometimes with hot oil, made from chili steeped in oil.
Plates heaped full of tofu, rice noodles, napa or bok choy, and bowls of chili sauce, peanut sauce, and garlic in vegetable oil or soy sauce are placed in front of each diner. They bring frozen seafood and meat (chicken, beef, sometimes pork and mutton), sliced very thin, and the diners take turns boiling their own food at the table.

ETA, 23:30 CDT Sat 30 Apr 2005: Or, as yodge reminds me...
You're not supposed to take turns! You're suppose to all charge at the same time and fight! And then someone goes "oi! who wants beef?!" And three people go "ME!!" And the first person cooks enough beef for five people, and the other three people chuck chicken into the pot. People walk around pouring drinks, and usually some poor soul (usually a mother-ish figure) spends the whole evening cooking fro other people and not eating; and some lazy folks refuse to eat the prawns unless their sisters shell them, and then let it all boil down to a tasty gum at the bottom of the pot.

Sounds about right.

Then we went to a friend's house for tea, which mean homemade cookies, tea, corn, sunflower seeds, and fun conversation. I played with the little firebrand kidlet (he of the Scotch tape mummification, stapler disassembly laptop running-over, and preserved egg wall-splatting). He's much mellowed now that he's almost five, and only dragged me out of my chair to the floor once. ;-) Banamum gave him a Hot Wheels Motocross and he and I built a Duplo masterpiece of a garage for it.

Pictures later!

Banamum's friend Auntie H came home with us to see my house, and we ended up in Phase 2 of theological discussion and professional tales from 11:45 until 03:30. Then I drove her to the Holiday Inn (it was cold even for me, but Banadad wanted the defogger to work right.

Well, I'm back.



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 1st, 2005 04:38 am (UTC)
i need to find me a place here that serves ma la huo guo... we used to have places that have tom yum broth in malaysia... mmmm. it was quite a tradition to have ma la huo guo during my granny's birthday.. and at the end, everyone gets seconds with the yummy boiled-down broth and noodles.
May. 1st, 2005 04:43 am (UTC)
It's also quite amazing how inexpensive huo guo is in the USA. $15 on the West Coast (downtown Seattle, last time I was there), $10 here in the Little Apple.

You might be amused to know that hpguo's nickname is Huo Guo because of his affinity for it. Even the American students call him "Hot Pot Guo" (kindasorta like "PIN numbers") in jest.

May. 1st, 2005 05:29 am (UTC)
huo guo sounds alot like shabu shabu.
May. 1st, 2005 05:55 am (UTC)
Shabu shabu
Possibly, but I can't tell from this whether the restaurant diners are supposed to cook the meat at their own tables. Ever had shabu shabu?

May. 1st, 2005 06:35 am (UTC)
Re: Shabu shabu
yup - my japanese flatmate was a huge fan of fondue and the weekly fondue night, he'd prep the shabu shabu while our french and korean flatmates prepped the cheese fondue and the americans did the chocolate fondue. (this is a pretty decent recipe)

diners cook the meat (and veggies) at their own tables, and then when everything's done, you can eat/drink the broth. it's usually served with rice and dipping sauces.
May. 1st, 2005 03:08 pm (UTC)
Sounds way yummy
Thanks for the recipe, and yeah, I think it's basically the same thing. I should mention that the Chinese version is be default very hot and spicy, because the broth has paprika and red chili pepper in it.

May. 1st, 2005 03:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Sounds way yummy
one of the dipping sauces is really spicy :D
May. 2nd, 2005 01:11 am (UTC)
Re: Sounds way yummy
Very good! I'll try it Japanese-style the next time I have a chance (I don't think there's a single Japanese restaurant here in Manhattan, KS).

That's an... uh, interesting icon - part food, part something completely different. :-D

May. 2nd, 2005 03:02 am (UTC)
Re: Sounds way yummy
whoops, that was supposed to be this one, not tenacious d.

yeaaaaah, i haven't seen much shabu shabu here stateside. usually the japanese places i hear about are the random "cook at your table" steakhouses or sushi places, which is a shame because japan's got some great food. or, at least, the japanese i had in france was great food... though, it could be slightly different - i know the vietnamese place was waaaaay different from any vietnamese i've had stateside, and i'm not just talking quality coz they were about on par as far as that's concerned... more like, le dragon d'oro had this dish, poulet a la sathe (chicken in satay sauce) and it was completely different than any satay chicken i've ever had. and delicious.
May. 2nd, 2005 03:20 am (UTC)
Re: Sounds way yummy
whoops, i'd deleted the melony kitty. and now it's back!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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