Well my birthday isn't for another week or so, but another Brian had his birthday the other day. Strangely enough his fiancé's name is Kim and they are from the states as well. So they are the other Brian and Kim. Nice people, and like everyone we meet here seem interesting and are good to have conversations with.
Above is a picture of Kim and I with the other Brian. For his birthday we
accompanied about eight other people to Hotel New Gajur - Hot Pot Restaurant. This was the most authentic Chinese restaurant I have been to, and though I have seen the hot pot thing on TV I had never eaten at one. Brian, who spent a couple of years in Hong Kong said this place was the real deal, so I was excited to give something new a try. The basic concept is food is brought out to you raw, and then it is dropped into this pot with a slow rolling boil. One side of the pot has a spicy mixture, the other side is more tame, with stock and some veggies in it.
Here is a close up picture of the pots getting to a boil with a bunch of stuff being thrown in. Once the stuff was cooked you just took it out with a ladle and put it over rice. Now beign authentic Chinese of course we had to order some rather strange things that you don't get at your corner Chinese food place back in the States. So on the menu tonight? Thinly sliced pork, spinach, pork dumplings, tofu, seaweed, chicken feet and brains from some animal.
The general reception of the idea of eating brains is summed up by Jenara's expression in the photo above. Aside from the brains and the chicken feet the rest was tame, and mixed in with some Chinese liquor that tasted like ouzo, some green tea, and a good number of large beers, everyone had a good meal.
Here are the chicken feet before being tossed into the pot. Back when I worked at the Back Bay Grill in Portland they would boil down the chicken feet for their collagen, and I can not think of a smell more foul then long boiled chicken feet. So with that in the back of my mind it made eating the chicken feet a little tougher than it should have been for me. I gave it an honest try and gnawed around some bones, but really it was the texture didn't do anything for me and their just didn't seem to be enough meat to make the effort worth the trouble of chewing around the bones. I'd give them another try maybe, but wouldn't order them myself.
Brains. Well not all that bad. These picked up the flavor of the broth fairly well, but the meat itself wasn't something that had a great taste to it. In fact if it hadn't been cooked in that spicy broth it may have been not worth eating. I had a couple pieces and in the broth it was actually good.
Best part of the whole thing was that all ten of us ate, had drinks and everything only came to like 3,500 NRS. This seems really cheap for what a cool experience it was, how much food we ate and how many drinks we got. Will definitely stop by this place again. Thanks to everyone for a great time.