Our friend arrived late Friday evening and we had arranged to meet her at a fancy hot pot restaurant which my girlfriend and I had been to just nights before. Needless to say, the other, even posher one was booked out so we had no choice.
Now, this is sacrilege to say in Taiwan, but I’m not a massive fan of hot pot (火鍋 huǒ guō) for 3 main reasons.
The first being that you have to cook everything yourself. Sometimes you just want to relax and have a plate of food brought to your like a king. Hot pot relies on throwing raw meat, seafood and veg into the pot until judged suitably cooked.
Number two is that if you’re really hungry, sometimes you just want to shovel food into your mouth, gasping occasionally for air, and then do a massive belch of contentment once sated . This is hard to do with hot pot which prevents you from binge eating by scolding you at every possible opportunity, which leads me onto my third point.
The constantly boiling cauldron of spicy broth is one of the hottest things known to man, and there are few things worse than a cabbage leaf collecting a small reservoir of hell fire, which then flops down before entering your mouth, burning your facial flesh.
I realise this makes me out to sound like a binge eating, spoon shovelling, belching idiot who can’t get food successfully into his mouth, but it is my opinion and the opinion of an idiot.
Once every now and then is a much more pleasant experience but regular scolding is not my idea of a meal.
I did however get to dress up in this emperor costume and have several concubines at my side.