Focus on the Fish Balls!

30 Oct

After my family’s great adventure to DC’s Eastern Market, we returned to Ellie and Dave’s fabulous apartment for an amazing meal prepared for us by their good friend, Cheech, who introduced us to the unique culinary experience that is Chinese hot pot.

Hot pot, also known as Chinese fondue or steamboat, refers to several East Asian varieties of stew, consisting of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. Typical hot pot dishes include thinly sliced meat, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, and seafood.                –Wikipedia

To get us started, Cheech produced two blue crabs to lay the foundation for the flavor of the hot pot broth. Of course, we didn’t quite expect live crabs (!) but apparently that’s the way they sell them at the Chinese grocery store. Our slight guilt was quickly washed away when we tasted the wonderful broth.

One blue crab showing his spirit by holding tight to the bag of scallops.

The other crab making a last plea for mercy.

Since most of the actual cooking of the food occurs during the dinner, most of the prep work beforehand is just getting all the various ingredients ready. One of the best parts of hot pot is the variety of food that you can try, making each dinner a unique experience. Some of the items that Cheech brought for us included slender slices of beef and lamb, succulent scallops, shrimp, beef and fish balls, and various vegetables.

Prep work in the kitchen.

Laying out the table before the feast.

After everything was set out, we got down to business and started choosing what to put in the hot pot. As you can tell from the picture below, we had a good time.

The hot pot was definitely a hard act to follow, but we successfully ended our meal with some tasty baklava and pumpkin bread from one of the Eastern Market vendors.

A delicious meal and an entertaining experience; a win-win situation for my family.

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