06 January 2010
This is a traditional firepot. Or, well, it's actually a huo guo. Which in Mandarin translates as "fire" and "pot" so my family just calls it a firepot. :) It has space for a small charcoal fire in the bottom part, a donut-shaped bowl for food, and a chimney. The bowl is filled with soup (usually pork broth), and the table is set with platters of raw food that get cooked in the soup as the meal goes. Through the chimney is how the fire gets stirred and more charcoal added.
Food items include thinly sliced raw meats, green leafy things like spinach and cabbage, tofu, fish balls, other seafood, and things along those lines. Each eater gets a plate with some soy sauce, sesame oil, and sometimes other sauces (we use a lot of sah tsa, which I have no idea how to describe). The meal ends with putting mei fun into the pot, and a bowl on the chimney to smother the fire (if it hasn't already gone out).
Firepot is what we do for festive occasions (in much the same way that most Americans of the dominant culture have turkey on Thanksgiving). Nowadays, because people are more worried about fire hazards, they make electric versions of the pot or just use fondue pots instead. To me, that's just not the same...
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That's really cool. Thanks for sharing.
It's like The Melting Pot took your tradition and turned it into huge money.
We have an electric one. :P
Hmmm... do I want to know what The Melting Pot is?
John: sacrilege!! :p
That looks totally cool! I would love to try that.
The Melting Pot is a chain fo fondue restaurants. The only time I ever went to one, the service was so bad, that our entire meal (for 8, mind you) was comped.
"colav" = place to wash cola
Is there a version that's more like grilling at the table? I'd totally love that.
My word verification word is "snestion". I don't know what it is, but it soooo needs to be a real word.
Yeah, the Koreans grill, I think. Possibly also the Mongolians. At least, I've seen Korean and Mongolian "BBQ" restaurants where they cook the food at the table, but never been in them myself. Then there's also Japanese hibachi, but you don't cook your food yourself at those. (Aren't you in NYC where you'd be surrounded by such restaurants?)
snestion = a questioning sneeze?
The firepot looks like fun.
Ugh. Melting Pot. Have only ever been to one in NC with my parents many years ago. We thought it would be fun because we'd been making fondue for years.
As she prepared the fondue, the server proceded to "explain" to us how it was made, the history, etc. We assured her we made fondue all the time, was why we were there and didn't need the lesson. She continued with the scripted speech virutally uninterupted like what we said didn't even register.
Pretty much ruined the experience for us. We've not been back.
I've only been the Melting Pot once, and it was really, really good. I guess I got lucky.
But it's really pricey...
fishms = what fish have during sex.
Nathan - Next time I'm in NY and free for dinner, we'll go to a Korean one where you grill the meat yourself. The best ones aren't grills, they give you hot lava rocks to lay the meat on.
MWT, the Benihana-style stuff is called teppanyaki (hibachi is the grill, and (as my wife calls us) dumb Americans could not pronounce "teppanyaki, so...), and I only saw two restaurants in all of Tokyo where they chefs did the cooking for you, and one was in a hotel obvious aimed at dumb Americans, and the other was - the Benihana Honten there (gotta keep the HQ store in Tokyo so you can claim "Tokyo" on your advertising). :D
Normally in Japan, you do the cooking yourself for teppanyaki, and often you can do Japanese firepot (Shabu-shabu) or teppanyaki in the same restaurant - both cook-your-own. My favorite variant of teppanyaki is sukiyaki, and my favorite place for it is this little hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Kamakura. Now you made me go an miss Japan. :(
Yeah, I remember it being called "teppanyaki" in North Carolina, but down here in Savannah everyone says "hibachi." So I'm just going with the flow. ;) My aunt had a Japanese restaurant that featured those chef performance grilling things, way before Benihana existed. I don't remember if anyone in the family called it anything in particular...
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