Monday, March 15, 2010

I’ve Died and Gone to Cilantro Heaven

Posted by She Said.


I had my dream meal last Saturday after our visit to The Summer Palace. Chang was very excited to take us to one of his favorite places to eat. But first, we took the kids to McDonald’s for a cheeseburger before we went to lunch so they would actually EAT SOMETHING. I’m not thrilled about feeding them McDonald’s, but I have to say, not having to bribe our children with 99 cent iTunes games to TASTE SOMETHING NEW is kind of nice. And, well, the cheeseburgers taste just like they do back home. Hooray for them. Ewww for me.

I couldn’t begin to tell you the name of the restaurant we went to, and sadly (for Greg and me) there was no English on the menu, making it hard for us to go back without someone who speaks Chinese. Based on my experience with this place however, I will be begging people to take us back.

The table has a built in “hotpot” in the middle of it. The waiters bring over a huge pot of water that is divided into two sides, one flavored with hot spices and one spiced regularly. A dial on the table allows you to control the amount of heat that goes to the pot. Chang then ordered a plethora of items for us to cook in the boiling broths.

hotpot(the hotpot)

veggies(the veggies, tofu, and an egg)

meats (the meats and fresh noodles)

_IGP6584 (the calamari and… squid balls?)

And then, as if it were created for me personally, you dip all of the cooked goodness into a bowl of peanut sauce, called satay in the States, and if you wish, you can add cilantro to this. IF YOU WISH. Hello? Anyone who has been around me long enough knows that I would bathe in juiced cilantro and lick myself clean if I could. I risked the whole fresh herbs thing because IT WAS CILANTRO IN PEANUT SAUCE!

_IGP6585(Greg’s peanut sauce, minus the cilantro and with spicy oils added)

 _IGP6587(Greg’s blood tofu ready to take the plunge)

This was seriously one of the best meals I have ever had. In addition to the mouth-watering food itself, the very nature of cooking your meal together has a very intimate feel to it. Even though language can be a hurdle at times, there’s nothing like cooking food together and then dipping it in CILANTRO LADEN PEANUT SAUCE to bring people together.


  1. Oh my God that looked soooo good!!!!

  2. wait wait wait wait....back up a second...did you say BLOOD tofu? W. T. F. Seriously. I'm not a vegetarian or anything, but that's just wrong. I hope that's just a euphemism for the color, like blood oranges. I'm gonna need to Google this one...

  3. OMG it's not tofu at all! It's a euphemism alright, but not for the color. It's just congealed BLOOD!!! What's next, flank carrot?

  4. A Philippine delicacy is known by its colloquial name, "betamax," which is--like the Chinese blood tofu--congealed chicken blood cut into cubes and then either fried or barbecued.

  5. You had me at congealed chicken blood.

    Okay, so technically Tracy had me at congealed chicken blood. You had me at "blood tofu". But whatevs because gross.

    The rest of it looked awesome though. Wait, except the testicles or whatever that was.

    *sigh* I would starve in a foreign country. I know this.

  6. That looks awesome. Could you please stop making me jealous? And the BEER? Oh, the BEER!

  7. The restaurant is called Shabu Shabu, its a fast food hotpot chain that is mediocre. You should check out the expat magazines and hit up a hotpot place like Haidilao or Dolar Shop, both have DIY sauce bars. Many hotpot spots have English menus or you can just make a cheat sheet of favorite meats and veggies and use it when you go.