Monday, May 15, 2006

Singing Hot, Hot, Hot (Pot)

I realized today that my previous post on "easy entertaining ideas" might not be as "easy" as I let on, so, I just wanted to provide another entertaining idea with Chinese cuisine, that actually is more manageable. The idea is hot pot, where all the cooking is done by the guests at the party, and the serving dish is the pot itself! No washing of an additional serving bowl! Now that is what I call a great meal for a working entertainer!

Let me give you a quick hot-pot-how-to. So long as you have a portable electric or gas hot plate and a pot, you can have a hot pot party. The key ingredients that you should have your table stocked with, include napa cabbage; spinach; shrimp or fish balls; thinly-sliced red meat; daikon sliced into coins the thickness of poker chips; cubed tofu; and thin vermicelli mung bean noodles. All items should be cleaned, cut, unwrapped, and plated at the table.

First, begin boiling a large stockpot filled with chicken broth at the range. You can also add some daikon and fish or shrimp balls, as those items take longest to cook. When the guests arrive, pour some of the boiling stock into the "pretty" pot you will be using at the table. The whole concept behind hot pot, is allowing guests to cook what they'd like to eat, in what portions they want to eat them in. Additionally, they get to participate in the process. Think of hot pot as the "Asian man's fondue."

It is important to show the guests how to cook their items and prepare their individual bowls. Each guest is given a small rice bowl, in which they add the amounts of seasonings and sauces that they like. Usually, guests are to crack a raw egg into their bowl, and they are to add their choice of sauces, including a barbeque sauce made of dried fish, soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili sauce. They then cook the items they want (be it slices of meat or leaves of green vegetables) in the communal pot of boiling soup, retrieve the steaming items, and dip the cooked meats and vegetables into their egg mixture before shoving it into their mouths.

Watch out for the foamy froth that bubbles up on the top, and skim it off where possible. Also, a great utensil-tool that is almost imperative for hot pot nights, are mini-spider ladles, available in Chinatowns everywhere for as low as a buck.

Easy and entertaining!

But, moving on to the topic that I really wanted to discuss.

I had never been the object of criticism by a disgruntled reader (like Pam from Daily Gluttony or Kirk from Mmm-Yoso!!!), until today. It was entirely expected, as I've definitely written my share of controversial posts--or at least posts that I thought were controversial.

One of them was "De-fense!! De-fense!! De-fense!!," a quasi-obnoxious post, which was written in jest. After that posting, I actually waited with bated breath for a scathing response from some tempermental New Yorker... But, the moment quickly passed, and I continued blogging on mundane topics.

This afternoon, I received a comment from a poster named, "NYC Foodie." As I read this anonymous person's comment, I bust out in a hearty cackle, and couldn't stop grinning from ear-to-ear. Read it, and you'll share my amusement.

My feeling is that, so long as I've encouraged readers to engage in some sort of discussion, then I've done me' part mate! I've then helped to provoke discussion in this world, one forkful at a time! (Or some might see it as one fork jabbed in the crotch of your pants, again, at a time.)

I "do" appreciate the aspect of a blog that acts as a soapbox for me to unilaterally espouse my views, so I'll take this opportunity to respond to some of the points "NYC Foodie" brought to my attention.

First, as for Thomas Bouchon kicking himself in the @$$, hey, it's possible. (You know, when someone flings his or her foot backwards and kicks themselves in the butt with their heel?) If Mr. Bouchon wants to "kick his own @$$," who am I to judge? More power to him. But, just because he has two restaurants (one in Yountville and one in New York City) doesn't mean that one restaurant isn't better than the other. Some wealthy investors will invest in competing athletic teams for the love of the game. Thus, it is entirely possible to "kick [one's] own @$$."

Also too, I'm sure you've watched the Olympics. Perhaps you even watched television coverage of the Winter Olympics this year in Torino. Remember the feud between Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick? I'd say that there were some races between those two, where the U.S. was "kick[ing it's] own @$$," even though the U.S. ultimately won the gold medal.

As for your question, "There are more NYC restaurants on this list anyway, so how can the Bay Area be 'leading the pack'?" The answer is simple. Being fourth place, is arguably better than being eighth, sixteenth, eighteenth, thirty-second, and forty-fifth place. Again, refer to the Olympics analogy.

Furthermore, it's called the "Bay Area," and thus by definition encompasses an "area." For instance, Silicon Valley may also be an hour away, but it is still categorized as the "Bay Area." Many people consider Napa Valley to similarly be part of the "Bay Area." But, admittedly, there are also people who do not.

In closing, I concede that the "The World's 50 Best" ranking does show that New York is technically ranked higher than the Bay Area, as they do have more restaurants on the list...

But... my Suns and Lakers are still better than yo' Knicks!

Thanks for engaging in banter with me Anonymous-Commenter-Person!


  1. obviously, nycfoodie was out of their league in trying to take on PE in a debate. And! the post wasn't even about food! hilarious. Go Shani!

  2. I got some suggestions for what it can do with it's @$$, buy a paper sack, I'm pretty sure people are pretty tired of staring at it daily.......Some people really don't get it, maybe it needs to purchase a sense of humor and irony????
    Nice Hua Guo, we usually buy a "base" and then buy precut meat from either the Japanese Grocery or one of the Korean Markets.

  3. you are so funny. i for one enjoy reading your unilaterally espoused views. haha.

  4. Oh boy, some need to worry PE, I got your back.

    Coincidentally, I got a nasty retort from I think an employee of a restaurant I reviewed over a year ago. Kind of out of the blue. Better late than never, but I guess they had to say something since my post is the second hit on Google. First is their own website.

  5. You are the best Ahnee. I agree with you, don't affront Passionate Eater, or else you'll face the wrath!

    I appreciate you so much Kirk, thank you for making me smile--I am touched by your comment! I agree, I know I was being obnoxious, but "trash-talking" is by definition obnoxious, and not intentionally mean. I feel as though the commenter really thought I was being ill-spirited...

    Thank you Christina! I am honored that you enjoy reading these posts! I think though, it is because you know me, that you are willing to tolerate the "me" in the raw. Some people need the well-done version, if you know what I mean!

    I tried to look through your blog and find the offending comment Elmo Monster, but I couldn't find it! I guess that is better, because I think I would get too angry. Of all the people that would get bad comments, you are the one that least deserves anything even remotely close to even a "neutral" comment. You deserve only glowing praise! Plus, that you are the second website says something about the quality of your reviews and the popularity of your site. (My friend told me that Google ranks pages in relevance and link popularity.) I got your back too Elmo (and Kirk)! They mess with you two, they mess with me!

  6. Passionate Eater...let me know if you need someone's tires slashed. (^o')

  7. Haha! Thank you Jeni, for visiting and most of all, for cute message! I loved your pictures and post of meeting with the food bloggers at Musha's! Seems like Dylan did a fantastic job organizing!

  8. We call it steam boat and it's one of my fave dishes but you need to have a group to eat this otherwise it's right boring.

    And I think both hot pot or steam pot are appropriate names for this post - for the hot soup I've-got-the-balls-to-make-stupid-comments-but-none-to-use-my-own-name got into; and how steamed you got! LOL.

  9. Good call MM, you do need a group for this meal. It is a social eating event in and of itself! When I am alone, I just grab the instant ramen noodles if I want a quick and hot soup. Hot pot (steam boat) is too labor-intensive in terms of washing dishes and prepping the ingredients for a single person to enjoy alone.

    Thanks for the enjoyable title suggestions too! I like the "I've-Got-The-Balls..." title the best!

  10. I'm always too hungry and impatient and find steamboat/hot pot a bit too fiddly for my linking. Plus the times I have had it it's been at social gatherings at my folks' place, and so I have to be polite and considerate of the other hungry people and not do what I really want, which is to hog the pot until I am satisfied! :-P

  11. Hey PE!

    Long time no see!!! I've been telling myself to pop by & catch up on your posts for awhile--DG's been a busy girl so here I am fi-nuh-lee!

    Anyways, I got some goons who can take care of nasty commenter. Just tell me when & where. LOL! Yeah, I had a negative experience at a Pho place once and wrote about it. Just recently, someone left a long comment accusing me of being racist. I'm like WTF??? Anyways, if anything, I guess it's a sign that people are reading!

    Anyways, take care PE and you know I always got your back! ;)

  12. Because you didn't like one of the billions of pho restaurants in the Los Angeles area, that means you're a racist? Then I must be the biggest racist alive, and against my own Vietnamese race!

    And don't worry about not visiting. I've missed your comments Daily Gluttony, but I know that you've been busy, so I doubly appreciate the times when you can visit!


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