After finding myself a tailor in China, I had a suit and 10 new button down shirts made. I thought it would be nice to take my driver and my friend who came along to help me figure out the fabric markets out to dinner!
We went to a very popular new place in Shanghai... to be honest I have no idea what the name of it was, but they had one of the best hot pots I've ever had the pleasure to taste!
There is a thick layer of chili oil which is sitting on top of the broth. There are vegetables and noodles underneath the broth. What kind of broth is it?
First you take your pick of these:
You look tasty!
That is a 3kg grouper... 6.6 lbs of delicious LIVE fish! They kill it, filet out the meat, then they put all the bones and the head into a pot to make a fish stock. Each stock is made specifically for the table, which takes a bit of time.
So have some spicy vegetable snacks while you wait!
Once the stock is completed they add the chili oil, then meticulously shave the raw fish and drop them into the stock right before it comes out to your table.
They top it with a bunch of chilies and voila you have your first hotpot course. The fish has just barely been given the chance to cook through in the intense fish stock and chili oil. Each bite melts into your mouth, is intensely flavored, and has a cloud like texture. It is immediately apparent that this fish was alive and fresh just 20 minutes before you eat it. It isn't easy to tell from the pictures but this bowl is more then 2 feet wide.
Once we have polished off the sliced fish, we scoop off the extra oil and add in the second course of the hot pot.
Vegetables, noodles, meatballs, sliced beef, mushrooms and on and on and on. This meal easily was eaten for 3 hours.
After the meal Mr. Chen was so pumped up from the chilies he decided that we needed to arm wrestle. It was a valiant effort, but I have him beat on pure mass and a long history of weightlifting.
This isn't a meal for every day, or even every month. Nor should it be a meal for 3 people. But sometimes you just have to take one for the team ;) I did it all for you, Globetrotters!