Blog #2: Hotpot

A magical pot of savory tastes and aromas.

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March 25, 2020

(4 min read)

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HaiDiLao, a hotpot restaurant that originated in China, is a fantasy that has come to life. Each table within the restaurant has a tiny hotpot well situated in the middle of it. With this magical hotpot broth you can dip, sip, and envelope your senses with sensational Chinese spices. Waiters come to your table and serve you freshly pulled noodles WHILE performing a dance. A skill that only a rare few can achieve through years of practice. HaiDiLao has become so successful in China because of how they masterfully serve a cathartic experience. Yes, hotpot is a cathartic experience; because, the first time you truly have legitimate hotpot, it will be an emotional experience. You may even see glimpses of the universe and come to an understanding of the world. The combination of high amounts of sodium, msg, and capsaicin will release a ridiculous amount of endorphins within your mind. This, plus being alongside your companions, will become a memory of a lifetime.  The magic of hotpot can be explained. First of all, the broth. The broth is a salty, savory pool of stock, garlic, peppercorns, chilis, and a bunch of other secret Chinese spices. Anything you cook in this broth will have all the flavors of the broth imparted into it. And because of all the salt in the broth, the flavors will be even more enhanced in every piece of meat or vegetable you cook in the broth. The salt works like a catalyst in imparting flavor into the ingredients, boosting the flavor level ridiculously high. Next, the sauce. The sauce is pretty cool. You go to the sauce bar and you chef up an aromatic gravy to dip all your cooked ingredients into. There will be around 30 different aromatics to choose from, but the essentials are peanut sauce, garlic, green onions, cilantro, and hot oil. You need a shit ton of garlic, the garlic will give you the "hotpot high". A side note on garlic: garlic is like one of those orgasmic foods, taking a bite of raw garlic will make you irk...but it will also make you smirk, if you know what I mean *winky face*. Lastly, the ingredients, you order a bunch of protein, vegetables, tofu, seafood, etc, and you basically have the rainbow on your table. This will add the visuals to your hotpot experience and make your eyes glisten. So yea, that is the gist of hotpot; it's pretty fucking awesome. Anyways, you dip the food into the broth and then into your sauce, consume it, then boom! Cathartic experience. By the time you've eaten all of your ingredients, there will be so much garlic and sodium in your system, you will feel like a cured, marinated meat. However, because of all the endorphins released, your mind will be swirling and bubbling like the hotpot broth in front of you. You will also gain an addiction to garlic, and the first thing on your mind the next morning will be garlic. SO YEA, this is why hotpot is a cultural phenomenon in China. It's the go-to social activity for the youth, the adults, and everyone else in between. Not the old though, they can't handle that much sodium. So, as you can see, the Chinese are addicted to hotpot. So much so, that many of them get stomach pains because of all the sodium intake. That just goes to show how much they love this culturally iconic food. To conclude, hotpot is another food that exemplifies the beauty of culture. The world may not agree with China's communist government but they can agree with the taste of their food.

Nathon Chin

@tentenlee

A cool kid on the block who likes food.