Asia 2010 China

Adventures in Eating: Hot Pots and Beer

While in Yangshuo, I just had to try some of the local specialties. So last night after the show, I decided to dive into one of them…Beer Fish, which is an entire fish sauteed in beer, along with some veggies. Now, when I say whole fish, I mean whole fish, as the Chinese don’t go to the trouble of removing the bones for you. Thankfully this fish was cut into bite sized pieces (that all had a mouthful of bone in them! All in all, it was quite tasty.

One thing I have noticed with fish here is that almost all restaurants keep the fish live in tanks out front. When you order fish, they actually catch it for you and then cook it fresh (hence getting the fish with bones). In one sense, it certainly is nice to know where your food comes from!

Of interest though were some of the medicinal soups on the menu. These included pork lung soup to help you breathe better, cow brain soup to help your memory and pork stomach soup to help your digestion (see a pattern here?). They even had varieties to help your skin and other internal organs! No thank you!

Finally, before departing this afternoon I tried another local specialty; hot pots. Having no clue what a hot pot actually was, I went ahead and ordered and was quite surprised when I was suddenly surrounded by a table full of food!

First came the condiments: soy sauce, vinegar, scallions, some leafy thing, chilies and ginger. Next came an electric burner and a large pan full of broth which was brought to a boil on said burner. It came with a ladle, a slotted serving spoon and a ladle shaped strainer. Next came a plate of raw beef and blanched noodles (which is what I had ordered, but you can basically add as many ingredients as you like, all of which are a la carte).

I simply sat there staring at my food. I had absolutely no clue what to do with it. Fortunately, the waitress came to my aid with some lessons.

You put the ingredients in the boiling broth until they are cooked to your liking (which doesn’t take very long). When you’re satisfied with them, you fish them out of the broth and into your bowl. Alone the soup didn’t have a whole lot of flavor but the right mix of condiments made it quite tasty!

It was such a production though that people stared as they walked down the street. Another western tourist passed and made a huge to do, insisting that I have a picture to remember the meal by. So here ya go!

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By Aaron

Hey there! I'm Aaron and this is my travel site, where I document my adventures to all corners of the world. My love for travel started at the ripe old age of four, when a midlife crisis uprooted my family to Ecuador for five years. Since then, I've been to countries on 4 different continents. When I'm not blissfully on the road, I reside in New York City, where I become the ultimate travel junkie and spend my days dreaming up my next great adventure! Read More...

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