Monday, April 30, 2007

Margy's Beijing Journal: Hot Pot

Tonight was Margy's introduction to Mongolian hot pot. (I don't think it counts that we've visited the dreadful J.P. Lee's in Millburn, NJ, a Mongolian barbecue place that's like a less fun version of a hibachi restaurant.) The joint was hip and classy, and parties could seal themselves off from the throng by closing what Margy described as a shower curtain around their table.

Legend has it, Margy says, that Kubla Khan brought hot pot to Beijing from Mongolia, though tonight I believe someone else delivered it to Margy's table. A big pot of broth was set over a burner in front of the diners, and Margy and her companions used chopsticks to grab a slice of meat from a tray and then swirl it around the broth for a scant minute until it was cooked. After the meat came a plate of dumplings, which were bathed in the broth in the same way. To the left of the broth is a bowl of tripe.

Me, I had Vietnamese food on Baxter Street in NYC -- not bad, but hardly a trip to the Forbidden City followed by a hot-pot feast.

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