Of all the communal traditions of eating — sharing tapas, fondue, pizza, or a big banana split all come to mind — none are as great, as humble, or as messy as the simple and terrific Chinese hot pot.
In Hong Kong, contemporary hot pot offers two types of broth, one spicy and one mild, swirled down the middle like a Yin-Yang symbol. Our hosts ordered all the trimmings, which included hand-pulled noodles, soft pillows of tofu, imitation crab, fish cakes, thinly sliced lamb and beef, Chinese kale, glass noodles, tender pork dumplings, and tiny pieces of fish. The restaurant even had a make-your-own sauce bar, so I dumped just about every topping into my sauce bowl, like fermented cabbage, chili sauce, hot red peppers, ginger, garlic, crushed peanuts, fermented black beans, preserved vegetables, and scallions. Yet another perfect meal in Hong Kong.
(Here’s how we celebrate hot pot at home).