Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hot pot?


      My brother got a new job and that called for a celebration. We meant to go to a restaurant in Chinatown, but after some driving we ended up at a Chinese restaurant near MIT in Cambridge. At least it was easier to park, considering all the snow banks in downtown Boston. My brother was very sure this restaurant had “hot pot”.
      “Do you have hot pot?” my brother asked the manager when we walked into the restaurant. In English.
      “Yes, we do. We have sea food hot pot, beef . . .” said the manager while he was leading the way to our table. Also in English.
      After we sat down, a waiter came and gave us the menu. We looked them up carefully and didn't see anything close to “hot pot”. A short while later, our waiter came back. My brother asked him if they had “whuaw-guaw”(in Mandarin) because we couldn't find it on the menu.
      (The following conversation was in Mandarin)
      “Oh, no, we don't have 'whuaw-guaw',” the waiter said.
      “But, your manager just said you have it “
      “He couldn't speak Mandarin, perhaps that's why.”
      “Well, I asked him if you had 'hot pot',” my brother said “hot pot” in English.
      “Oh, we do have 'hot pot',” he said. We were confused, because earlier he just said they didn't have 'whuoh-guoh'.
      “It's 'bao',” the waiter said, “you know, served in a pot........”
      Finally, we understood what he meant. It was 煲, a soup stew. Apparently, they had the same designation for their stew. After all, it is HOT and it is served in a POT. Anyway, we decided we'd try their “hot pot” next time, so we ordered other dishes.
      In general, it's the best Chinese restaurant I've been to. Their dishes are excellent and not greasy. The most surprising part is their service. Compared to other "American" restaurants, their service is just fair, not very impressive, but it's rare when it comes to a Chinese restaurant. Well, maybe we are lucky that our waiter IS good. Who knows? Maybe next waiter won't be as good as this one if we do return in the future. We shall find out....

      It is "the future". Well, we went back, and as it tuned out, yeah, we were lucky.