January 30, 2014

Hot Pot

As we've hung out with our Chinese friends over the last few years I've noticed a few themes in the questions we ask and answers we get.  We talk about favorite foods and while they enjoy trying American foods, most of them really like to cook at home.  When asked what they miss most about home, after their families they often miss certain foods the most.  One thing several students have mentioned missing and making at home s Hot Pot.  I really had no idea what it was until they started telling me about it, but it sounded interesting.  So when Groupon recently had a deal for a local Hot Pot restaurant we decided to buy it so we could try it out with friends.

Last night presented the perfect opportunity.  Our friend Lucas' parents are in town from China for about a month and we wanted to go out to dinner and meet them.  So we met Lucas and Yali and Lucas' parents for dinner last night.

The placemats had a brief overview of Hot Pot aka Hot Pot 101 with all the steps and options.  It was awesome.  Just some quick info in case you don't know what Hot Pot is.  It's basically a meal where you cook your food at your table.  You order broth--either original or spicy (ours was half and half--original on the left, spicy on the right)
Then you order plates of uncooked meat, vegetables, tofu, and noodles.  There are so many choices of food, we didn't know where to start.  So we decided to let Lucas order and he chose very well
We started off with lamb, which is the most common thing Lucas and his parents had growing up.  It was very thinly sliced and delicious.  We also had shrimp meatballs and fish to round out the meat portion.  For veggies we had corn, mushrooms, yams, and lettuce.  We tried a few types of tofu and then ended with cooking egg noodles.
They tried to teach me how to use chopsticks, but I was a failure so I stuck with my trusty fork and luckily they had spoons to get things out of the broth.  Lucas mixed it all up and served it with his chopsticks--we were grateful for him and Yali being able to let us know what to get and how to cook it and how long it needed to be cooked.
Snuck a picture of Lucas with his dad :)  We really enjoyed meeting Lucas' parents.  They took a trip to South Texas this past weekend and it was fun to hear about their experience with America so far-- we are looking forward to seeing them more before they head home and introducing them to a few American traditions as well.

Tonight David is celebrating Chinese New Year with them.  Lucas invited us to his house where his parents were preparing a traditional meal with dumplings and other yummy food.  I was so excited when he invited us--such a fun way to celebrate their new year.  Unfortunately, I got sick today so I stayed home while David headed over.  But I'm looking forward to learning more about their celebration from David and tomorrow night at ICF's New Year Party!  

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