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Restaurants

Watch Noodles Dance At This Whimsical Chinese Restaurant

It’s one thing to see a bartender flip around a couple bottles, or a Benihana chef flip a shrimp into his pocket, it’s another thing for a man to dance around the restaurant with a giant noodle.

As the Foodbeast crew soaked up the culture in Suzhou, China, they made their way to the Haidilao Hot Pot restaurant, where they have table side noodle show.

As is common in Hot Pot restaurants, you choose your own sauces, meat, and boiling broth that is brought to your table. Then you just wait for the show to start.

The noodle dancer comes through with a hand-pulled noodle the size of a jump rope, breaks into some Omarion-like moves, and carefully places the noodles inside the boiling hot pot at your table.

Hot pot is quite an experience on its own, with the aromas of the boiling broth, surrounding meats, and flavorful sauces, but the added element of a dancing noodle-maker makes the spot even that more intriguing.

While the Haidilao Hot Pot restaurants are primarily in China, there are four in the U.S., located in Santa Anita, California, Brea, Cupertino and Irvine, California. There are also plans to open in Houston, Texas and Flushing New York in 2019.

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Animals Now Trending Video

Watch This Live Crayfish Rip Off Its Own Arm To Escape A Boiling Hot Pot

Start cooking live shellfish, and chances are they’ll do everything possible to get out of that situation. It’s not that often, though, when a crustacean gets away with its life.

One determined crayfish, went the extra mile to ensure it wouldn’t become dinner. As captured by the above Facebook video, it had managed to avoid joining the rest of its brethren in a fiery hotpot. Part of one of its claws was stuck inside, however, and rather than try to yank it out, the shellfish chose to rip out its entire arm instead. The claw may have been cooked, but at least the crayfish got away from the pot with its life.

Those watching this live crayfish escape may think it was all for naught, since he was still on a dinner table afterward. Upon seeing the gallant act, however, the diner who would’ve feasted upon this crayfish had compassion upon it. According to Nextshark, he took the little guy home, where he currently resides in an aquarium.

For those wondering, the one-armed crustacean won’t stay that way forever. Turns out that crayfish can lose their claws and grow them back several times over. So the price this brave fellow paid to escape being devoured isn’t one he’ll have to bear for the rest of his life.

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Hit-Or-Miss

A Beginner’s Guide To Eating HOT POT

Hot pot is a communal eating experience, thought to have been invented in Eastern Asia, in which patrons order different ingredients to boil inside of a large simmering pot of broth, which is placed on the center of their table.

Historians believe that the idea of hot pot was created when Mongolian leaders would travel their territory and try the foods of various regions.

Hot Pot 2

 

But while hot pot has deep-seeded roots in Asian culture, it hasn’t quite taken off outside of Asia. Which is probably why most of you don’t know how hot pot works.

If you’ve been wanting to try hot pot, but you’re nervous you’ll embarrass yourself, don’t worry. We spoke to hot pot expert and owner of the popular Massachusetts restaurant, Baba, Zimu Chen, on how to do hot pot right. Chen shared with us a few of his hot pot secrets and the best selections for first-timers so we could present to you: a Beginner’s Guide to Hot Pot.

 

BROTHS

Different hot pot restaurants will offer a variety of broths, ranging from light and watery, to harsher, spicier flavors. Chen broke down some broth selections ideal for hot pot beginners.

Tom Yum 2

Chicken Broth

This is your most basic broth (it’s the one I tried my first time). It has a light, warm flavor and is easily influenced by the meats and veggies you choose to put in your hot pot. It also compliments any meats and vegetables you choose to add, which takes some of the risk out of combining flavors.

“This is a great broth to try for beginners,” Chen said. “It’s very much like chicken soup, so it’s a simple, familiar flavor to ease into hot pot with.”

Tom Yum

This is a Thai sauce, made using lemongrass, chili peppers, fish sauce, lime juice, and lime leaves. It has some heat from the chili (but not too much) which is balanced out with the sweet and sour flavor from the lemongrass and lime flavorings.

“Tom Yum is one of my favorites – it’s perfect for flavoring meats,” Chen said. “If you’re going to do a meat-heavy hot pot, I highly suggest Tom Yum. It’s got a nice heat to it, but it doesn’t leave your throat burning. Instead, it leaves you with a citrus flavor that feels refreshing.”

Ma-la (Szechuan)

Love spicy foods? Then this curry-like broth is for you. Made with spicy, aromatic flavorings like Szechuan peppercorns, chilies, ginger, scallions, cinnamon, anise and fennel, these earthy flavors are great for both meats and vegetables.

According to Chen, “This is one of our most popular hot pot broths, but it’s not a great choice for people who don’t like curry. Maybe not best for your first time at hot pot, unless you know that you want some strong spice.”

 

MEATS

You might be concerned about accidentally eating uncooked meat at hot pot, but Chen assures you not to worry.

“Hot pot meats are cut very thin, so they only take a few seconds to cook through. You will have to dip them in multiple times, but it only takes about a minute total to get fully cooked meat.”

Hot Pot Meats

 

Most meats work with hot pot, but the ones Chen suggests are: beef, pork, chicken, and lamb. Any of these choices are great for a hot pot novice. However, Chen appreciates some more unique meat selections (like organ meats, called “offal”) in his hot pot, too.

“The great part about hot pot meat choices is that you have the opportunity to try something funky, like beef tripe,” Chen said. “You can try something you never would usually try with little risk, because it’s not the only thing you’re tasting. You’ve got the broth, your sauces, and your vegetables — your beef tripe is easily disguised.”

 

VEGETABLES

Vegetable selection for hot pot is difficult due to the variety.. The Baba selection offers veggies such as: watercress, lettuce, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, baby bok choy, tofu, and mushrooms, to name a few.

Hot Pot Veggies

Chen said that vegetables can be broken down into two categories: veggies that absorb flavor and veggies that give flavor.

Vegetables like corn or tomato will give flavor to a watery broth (like chicken broth) and vegetables like baby bok choy are great for absorbing the flavor of an overpowering broth (like ma-la).

Chen even adds that his favorite part of the hot pot experience is in the vegetable section: mushrooms.

“For me, mushrooms are everything; I get at least two different kinds in each hot pot I try,” Chen said. “Usually I’ll pair a stronger tasting mushroom like an enoki with a lighter mushroom variety, like a king trumpet mushroom. Mushroom combinations like this are a must-try for beginners.”

 

SEAFOOD

Shrimp

Like meats, seafood works better with some broths than others. At most hot pot places, you can enjoy seafood selections such as: lobster, crab, haddock, oysters, shrimp, seabass, and squid.

Chen’s personal preference?

“I love to mix shrimp with Tom Yum broth. Tom Yum is a Thai broth, and traditional Thai food would use shrimp to highlight the flavors of Tom Yum,” Chen said. “Shrimp doesn’t take long to cook either, maybe 1-2 minutes. The only thing that’s annoying is peeling the shrimp throughout the meal, but if your whole group pitches in, shrimp is a great first-time choice.”

 

NOODLES

hot-pot-noodles

The main job of noodles in hot pot is to pick up as much of the flavor in the broth as possible. They’re also responsible for adding some texture to the pot, depending on the type of noodle you chose.

A few staples to consider: udon, vermicelli, chow mein, and shangdong.

“I would suggest that hot pot beginners go for shangdong noodles,” Chen suggests. “They’re basically halfway between udon and vermicelli; they have the thickness that retains the flavor of the hot pot, but they have some texture to them, so it doesn’t feel like you’re biting into nothing.”

 

SAUCE

Hot Pot Sauces

The tradition with hot pot is that each patron gets to make their own sauce, combining a variety of different condiments that are given to the whole table at the start of the meal.

Your typical sauce condiments for hot pot are: scallions, soy sauce, chopped garlic, and peppers. However, you’re making your personal dipping sauce out of these fixings, so don’t be afraid to experiment with condiments that are other than what you’re given.

“The sauce is very much a thing of personal preference,” Chen said. “You can make any combination of flavors you want. And if you want to try a new condiment in your sauce, but it’s not given to you, don’t be afraid to just ask your server!”

 

CHEN’S ADVICE

SPLIT POTS ARE GREAT

“If you’re new to hot pot and you want to try as much as possible, don’t forget that you can do a split pot. Split the pot in half and try two totally different combinations of broth, meats, noodles, and vegetables to get a sense of what you like and don’t like.”

TALK TO YOUR SERVER

“When in doubt, ask your server if they have any pre-made party platters. Oftentimes, hot pot restaurants will offer tried-and-true combo platters with broths and extras that they know will work well together. This is great if you’re feeling overwhelmed with choices.”

HAVE FUN

“The most important thing is to have fun at hot pot! This isn’t supposed to just be dinner; it’s supposed to be a dining experience. You come with a group to enjoy each other’s company and to try new things. Hot pot is all about experimenting and discovering your personal flavor preferences, so have a good time with it.”

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Products

IKEA Is Selling A Hotplate That Needs Your Phone For A Beautiful Reason

IKEA-Hotplate-Phones

Keeping your phone away from the dinner table is quite a formidable feat in this world of social media and gratuitous food photography. An IKEA in Taiwan has created a unique hotplate that gets rid of the distraction caused by smart phones, reports Rocket News.

Diners arrive at the table and sit around the hotplate. While it holds a pot filled with broth, meats and vegetables, the hotplate won’t turn on until a cellphone is placed underneath.

One cell phone will not provide enough heat to cook the food, so more cellphones must be added to keep the hotplate going. Get it?

A cool innovation that allows families and loved ones to actually spend dinner talking to each other rather than play on their phones.

As you can see in the video above, some people struggled with the separation more than others.

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Restaurants

This Restaurant Serves Hot Pot With A Side Of Dragon Balls

Dragonball-Nabe

Typically, it takes years (even decades) to collect the seven Dragon Balls. If you’re dining at Japan’s Danke Dinning, however, expect to find them all in your hot pot.

Based on the beloved anime series, the restaurant serves seven orange balls made of collagen jelly with little pieces of carrot cut into stars inside. They’re call the dish Dragon Ball Nabe, Kotaku reports.

Nabe, also known as hot pot, features uncooked meat and vegetables in a seasoned broth that’s boiled to the customers’ preference. It’s typically served a dipping sauce.

The magical dish has garnered the restaurant some media attention. Though sources say there has yet to be an appearance from Shenron.

Unfortunately, the only wish these gelatinous balls will grant you is a full stomach. Unless you’re sharing.

Photo: dadakone0310

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Humor

A Chinese Restaurant Is Offering Huge Discounts For Women In Short Skirts

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A Jinan hot pot restaurant is offering steeply discounted meals to women that wear skimpy skirts, reports Sina News.

Female customers whose hems are measured to be 33 centimeters (12 inches) above the knee by the restaurant are being offered a 90% discount on their food. In contrast, women wearing skirts or dresses revealing a modest 8 centimeters (3 inches) are only given 20% off their meals.

skirt-feat-e1431980022348 (1)

In attention-getting promotions designed to bring in more attractive female customers, a few restaurants in China have gone far beyond the pale.

One hot pot restaurant in Zhengzhou used a panel of judges from a local plastic surgery clinic to give away free meals to attractive people.

Another eatery in Chongqing offered heavily-discounted and free meals to overweight men. The heavier the men weighed, the higher the discount offered. The promotion flipped the script for women, however — females that weighed less than 34.5 kilos (76 lbs.) had their meals comped.

Are these promotions offensive to women? Do looks really matter when it comes to just eating a meal? While it might be too soon to tell if these promotions will pay off, right now, we’re just not feeling them.

Article written by Augustine Reyes Chan of NextShark || h/t: Shanghaiist

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Hit-Or-Miss

Restaurants in China Might Be Spiking Your Food with Opiates

poppy-seeds

According to a report by the FDA in Guangzhou Province, which checked 70 restaurants last year, two restaurants in China were caught using marinade sachets containing poppy powder — a derivative of highly addictive opium.

The inspectors carefully examined soup bases, chili sauce, brine, curry sauce, and hot pot base. Testing revealed several substances that could potentially damage the digestive and nervous systems, including trace amounts of codeine, morphine, and noscapine. More specifically, in 2012, inspectors sampled over 400 hot pot soup bases in Jiangsu Province and 10 percent were found to contain traces of poppy seed. Apparently, by adding addictive substances to menu items, restaurateurs hoped to ensure customers came back for seconds.

However, a report from Yangtse Evening News stated that if a restaurant carries less than 100 pounds of poppy seeds, no criminal charges will be filed. That being said, most stores carry about 90 pounds of seeds. For those of you in China dining on hot pots, be wary.

H/T The Epoch Times

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Hit-Or-Miss

This Man Ate Chinese Soup So Spicy it Burned a Hole in His Stomach

So a dude walks into a hospital…and got diagnosed with a hole in the wall of his stomach only explainable by the spicy Chinese hot pot he ate a few hours earlier.

Doctors at a hospital in Wuhan, China, were perplexed when a 26-year-old-man with no history of gastrointestinal disorders ended up in their emergency room after eating soup so spicy it apparently opened up a hole in the wall of his stomach. Like many hot pot restaurants in China, customers have the option of choosing the degree of spiciness their broth will encompass. In this particular case, it was a mala hot pot — málà literally translating to “numbing hot,” made using “a combination of chili pepper and a special spice, “Sichuan pepper”, known to cause a numbing sensation in the mouth.”

The victim in this particular story had ordered the spiciest batch of mala hot pot on the menu. Shortly after putting down the meal, he began to feel a pain in his stomach, followed by vomiting up a significant amount of blood. The man was rushed to a local hospital where doctors found the hole in his stomach. Japanese site RocketNews24 reports that prior to this incident, the gentleman involved had no medical history of ulcers or other gastrointestinal disorders.

Interestingly enough, the hospital the victim arrived at reported roughly 15% gastrointestinal cases are said to result from hot pot-related incidents. Scary stuff.

H/T + PictureThx: RocketNews24