Saturday, September 13, 2008

Even When You Thought You Did, You Didn't

We're doing just fine communicating our wants and needs to all of Beijing. We can get a mattress delivered, get a taxi to take us where we want or need to go. We can even get a travel agent to meet us on a street corner to exchange yuan for tickets. This past Friday night, we got in over our heads.

We weren't expecting to be schooled in the Chinese language as innocuous as a restaurant, but we had our hands full (and luckily, later, our tummies).

Long story short, after three waitresses came over and tried to explain the menu to us, they brought over a contraption that had hot coals in the bottom and water in a trough. They dumped some seasonings in and presented a variety of vegetables and meats like chicken and beef. Ahhh! Hot pot! We weren't expecting hot pot, but we got it. And we were delighted.

Hot pot is a communal type of eating. You dip or dump pieces of raw meat, veggies, and uncooked noodles into boiling water, leave them there for a minute or so, and take them out so you can dip them in a delicious peanut sauce.

Three funny moments that occurred during dinner...

(1) When I chucked a large clove of garlic, the waitress came running over to have me take it out. Apparently, the garlic is to be opened and put into the peanut sauce. It is already cooked and pickled (and yummy on its own volition).

(2) Somebody put some veggies in and couldn't find them. Ten minutes later, they said, "oh, there it is" as they fished it out of the bottom.

(3) Julie grabbed some raw meat with her chopsticks and accidentally dropped it on her plate. When the waitress saw this, she practically fell over herself to get to Julie to tell her not to eat it that way. Of course, she had no intention of doing so and yes, she got a new plate.

Even after feeling dumb for a bit, there is no way we won't be returning to that place. The food was outstanding and even Z ate heartily here!



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