Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Home Cooked Hot Pot

On Friday we had guests, Dan Ling and Rebecca, two students at our university.  They went with Sue on their day off to go shopping, buying several shirts, sweaters, pants, and underwear, plus the night's meal, a hot-pot pan and cab fare for under $80 US.  Here are the girls starting to cook...
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Difficult to see in this picture,but our kitchen light switch broke, so we have been using the kitchen in the dark.  It has been very difficult to cook or see in there!
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Here are the girls in our dark kitchen...
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Here's Peter in his classroom at school.  Notice how everyone is bundled up - no heat in the classrooms.  Peter is standing with his teacher.  yes, he really is that tall, and yes, she really is that short!

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One of the apartments in our building was just vacated, so Sue snuck in for a picture.  Just one room with a concrete floor.  Not nearly as nice as ours, but very typical.
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... To buy groceries for tonight's hotpot meal, had to go to the local grocery.  We stopped on the way there where this man was selling popcorn.  Jack bought a big bag for 3 quai (about 40 cents).  The lady selling oranges next to him said told him, "They're foreigners, charge them 5 quai!" however we bargained him to keep the 3 quai price.
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Picking over the vegetables at the local wet market.  They're cheap but it gets exhausting haggling for everything - in Chinese no less!  An attractive meat display is over my left shoulder.
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And finally the piece-de-resistance!  The hot pot is filled with 2 different types of soup, usually one spicy and one not spicy, and heat is applied underneath (think fondue pot!).  Then you add your vegetables and meat to the soup, and after they cook for a bit, you fish them out and eat!  Completely delicious!  We made a small mistake on our hot pot soup so the soups were BOTH spicy.  One was REALLY spicy, and the other one was INCREDIBLY spicy - so we had our choice!
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Today was a Saturday, and a make-up day for next Monday 12/31 which we will have off from school.  I wondered how many students would show up on a Saturday, but of course there was nearly 100% attendance as usual. There's nothing like good old fashioned Chinese hard work!

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