On a scorching summer day when your little office fan only serves to circulate the wrath of Hades, what is the one thing that will provide a sweet, sweet escape from hell?
Hot pot, duh.
Now you might be wondering, “Tina, has the heat evaporated all your brain cells? Why would you choose to place your face inches away from a boiling cauldron when Helios himself has come to the mortal realm?”
Allow me to enlighten you, dear reader.
Hot pot is essentially a pot of boiling soup that is used to cook melt-in-your-mouth slices of meat, fresh seafood, and leafy vegetables which you might not know the name of. The famous Chongqing hot pot is jam-packed with Sichuan peppers and flaming red chilies. Instead of feeling beef slices melt in your mouth, you just might feel like the soup base will melt off your mouth.
The aggressively aromatic flavours combined with the warm embrace of pain makes hot pot both an invigorating and comforting meal to have in the dead winter months. But the dish is also a summer meal.
In Chongqing, when temperatures rise upwards of 40 degrees Celsius and the humidity clings to each individual arm hair, people can be seen enjoying hot pot in every corner of the city. Friends gather to enjoy culinary masochism and let off steam after a long day. As you perspire out every drop of rage you have against climate change and rising temperatures, your stomach feels full but your body cools down.
Hot pot is not for those who don’t venture out past PB&J. But for those who identify as the Indiana Joneses of cuisine, consider the unique flavours that hot pot has to offer. From pork blood to beef tripe to vegetables with holes in them, there is always something new to try. With many condiments and sauces to concoct dipping potions out of, you can leave the meal feeling satisfied and accomplished.
Take my advice, and have some hotpot to find inner peace in the entropic flurry of summer. If you can’t beat the heat, join it.