This is Stick about to eat hot pot (did I mention how awesome hotpot is? ‘Cause it is. Unless it gave me food poisoning…) We went to Da Bu Tong, apparently it’s pretty famous for varieties of hotpot broth and ingredients to put in it. (Da Bu Tong or Not The Same is on the corner of Nan Ma Lu and Wenhua Gong Jie. There are three floors of light-up signs, you can’t miss it!) The blur behind him is a waiter who went totally out of his way to understand my bad Chinese and make sure we had everything we could need.
We got a crazy hot mutton broth, and sliced beef, mushrooms, hand-stretched noodles, and dishes of cold peanut sauce. Actually I had no idea what was going on with the peanut sauce, but our waiter was really insistent that we got something-something that the other people were eating, so I agreed. Delicious.
We went back the next night for typical half hot/half sweet broth. This time I managed to get the spongy tofu (Anyone know the Chinese to specify sponge tofu over smooth tofu?), a different kind of mushroom, and of course, more hand-stretched noodles. Is there anything those noodles can’t do?
I think the spicy broth and peanut sauce combo was a little better than the half-and-half one, but I actually had a better time the second night because we were tucked into a corner instead of being seated in the middle of the room. A corner means only 90 degrees of staring, while a central location means 360 degrees of watching the foreigners eat. We saw very few westerners on our entire trip so the staring is only natural curiosity, but I do feel more comfortable without the attention of the entire restaurant on me.