Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fragrant Hills Fellowship 

This evening Mellissa (she spells it with two l's) invited the Fragrant Hills Fellowship to her place for a Chongqing hotpot. Mellissa's village is three bus stops from Fragrant Hills. It is not that often that I have Chongqing hotpot in Beijing. What is much more common in North China is the Beijing hotpot, which is actually the old Mongolian hotpot.

The Mongolian hotpot generally focuses on mutton, but also often includes beef and pork, and uses a water based soup. The Chongqing hotpot uses an oil base, and in it's purest form, employs the stuff that used to be considered garbage. This is because the Chongqing hotpot was invented by longshoreman working on the docks in Chongqing in the first half of the 20th century. They were very poor, so they gathered the scraps discarded by the meat processing plants, and spiced it up to obscure the original flavor. So now, when you have an original Chongqing hotpot in Chongqing or Chengdu, the stuff on the menu will be the same old garbage, now regarded as delicacy.

If you have a Chongqing hotpot in Beijing, it may have the same base as the hotpot in Chongqing, but you will more likely be eating the razor thin sheets of mutton, beef, or pork that are more commonly associated with traditional Beijing (Mongolian) hotpot.

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