This is a fun little story.
So it was one of the first nights we were in China, and we were in Beijing with no idea what restaurants were near us, so we did what all good tourists do: we turned to Trip Advisor, and lo and behold, #4 on the top restaurant list was literally just down the road, so off we trotted.
We come to the shopping centre that the restaurant is listed in, and take the escalators up and up until we eventually found it on the eighth floor..
It looked good, but when we arrived there was no English menu available for us to look at, so we decided to just take a chance and we lead to a table with a giant hole in the middle.. The staff were really friendly, but there only seemed to be one person who could speak a little bit of English, so ordering was interesting, especially considering we still didn’t really seem to know what was going on!
Here’s the deal: that hole in the middle of the table is filled with a big bowl of a soupy-stock, split into two halves for two different flavours. We were advised which options were spicy, so we opted for the mildest two: tomato and mushroom. This bowl is heated through the table, and bubbles away in front of you.
Next up, you pick what you want to go into your stock. We did this purely from the pictures in the menu, choosing beef, prawns, glass noodles, spinach and other veggies, and these are then brought to your table raw for you to add to the stock of your choice to cook yourself!
That’s right, you’re totally in control over what’s bubbling away in the hot pot! Because its so hot, most things take less than 5 minutes to cook, and then you have the fun task of attempting to scoop it out into your bowl without pouring soup all over the table – which I did every time.. They clearly knew we’d make a mess as they brought us aprons to wear and hairbands!
The whole experience seemed really daunting at first, especially with the stress of understanding what it was we were ordering, but it turned out to be so much fun and the food was delicious! And how much did the bill come to for all of us? £20.
Interested? Check out the listing on Trip Advisor here!