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If you’re ready for it, get the House Special, which stars stinky tofu. Otherwise, try the other hot pots, such as the lamb—a revelation, even if it does seem as though it’s shabu shabu for the lazy. Everything you want and need—veggies, protein and a freshly cracked egg—is there, already cooked, to be picked off one-by-one; dipped into chile oil, garlic soy or a garlic chile paste that’s more salty than spicy; then eaten with rice. And then there’s the broth, a simmering liquid that’s to be sipped by a shallow ladle. The brew gets more complex the more the liquid reduces. The thinly sliced lamb melts into it, adding its own unique gamy stink; the egg poaches into amoeba-shaped ovals; and the Chinese pickled greens perk up the in-between bites. There’s also a beef hot pot, which has more complex spicing and corn on the cob. The seafood hot pot features peel-and-eat shrimp, while a kimchi hot pot has sliced pork. The curry-heads flock to a fish ball soup so potent of curry power it’d make an Indian wince.
If there is one last great culinary mountaintop most of us Westerners have yet dared to climb, it's the fermented delicacy known as stinky tofu. Think you've conquered ripe French cheeses? Thai fish sauce? Kimchi? They're child's play. Stinky... More »
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