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Ronglimeng, I cannot help thinking that you have missed out on the fun of hotpot. |
Pre-cooked food is fine, but with hotpot you have the choice of cooking it as much as or as little as you like it. And also, using whatever spices you like, as much as or as little as you like. I think it is also a lot healthier than the usual fried stuff. I love that sesame paste which you dip the bits into after cooking. Yummy!
Didn't you experiment with cooking different pieces of the same items to different extents and sensing the differences in feeling as you chewed on them? You have missed out on something unique.
Sitting at a table playing with food like that also provides the opportunity to chat and socialise.
I love hotpot myself. And it's fun going with friends. But, being vegetarian and all that, I don't go for the conventional stuff. Some restaurants in China were kind enough to provide me with separate hotpots with specially prepared broth using only vegetable stock, etc. And of course, my vegetarian food items, like tofu, mushrooms, potatoes, leafy vegetables, etc. A pity that most of them don't serve cauliflower. It's great in hotpot. Some restaurants give you separate small hotpots anyway, not one large one in the middle of the table, so they found it easier to cater to my needs.
In any case, I don't like the concept of "sharing" and dipping chopsticks into common pots, so having everything separate is preferable.
I even got my own little hotpot stove with the solid fuel, etc, and started making it at home whenever I felt like it.
And when I did that, I found that cooking is not the main work. Believe me, preparing the materials before serving them to the customer is the real work and takes up a lot of time. You may think that there's nothing to it because "all they give you is raw items". But the washing, cleaning, peeling where applicable, cutting to the right sizes, arranging, etc can take a lot of time. Dropping those pieces into boiling spicy water is nothing. So, perish the thought that you are "doing hard work" by "cooking" your food when you eat hotpot.
And finally, armed with all this "inside information", you can now start to truly enjoy hotpot.