One of my favorite things to do while traveling is to eat. I love trying local dishes or special renditions to food not native to the particular location. It was befitting that while making a phone call back home to my fiancé, who is also a foodie, recommend I try Chinese hotpot. So like a good listener and trustworthy partner I am, I took on her recommendation and made it a priority to try China’s hotpot before heading off to another one of my adventures.
So while many of my classmates decided to check out the optional activity for today at the Propaganda Museum, I knew this was the perfect time and chance to find something delicious. A group of us decided to head off and head to the subway (which, may I add, is one of the cleanest subways I’ve ever seen) and use Da Zhong Dian Pin (China’s version of Yelp) to find one of the best hotpot places in Shanghai. We ended up at a place near where we were staying that of course had 4.5 out of 5 stars on Da Zhong Dian Pin. If you know me, you know I don’t play about my stars and dollar
signs on Yelp– so I was a happy camper that the restaurant we chose was both affordable and tasty. I can say at the very least, my expectations at this place were met and that the food was DIVINE! We had the option of both a spicy and mild “soup” to use to cook our meats and vegetables. The spicy soup base included Sichuan pepper, chillies, red chilli oil, and a few vegetables. While the mild soup had oil and mild seasoning. The ingredients we used were tofu, beef, lamb, seaweed, potatoes, lotus root, and spam. We took turns adding and picking out the cooked items from the simmering pot using our chopsticks. We also created our own dipping sauce to dip our food in after cooking our ingredients in the soup. My sauce was a mixture of sesame oil, garlic, hot spice, cilantro, and green onions. These flavors combined with the “soup” created a mouthwatering flavorful savory meal.
In addition to the lovely meal, the hotpot experience created a communal atmosphere among friends. We gathered around a simmering melting pot with broth at the center of the table with raw ingredients to the side of us. We chatted, ate, made jokes about our chopsticks use, each other’s ability to handle spicy dishes, and sipped tea. This was definitely not like your average local quick Chinese restaurant experience in America!
~Brenda Duverce., MPP
See below for additional photos.