Craving for Hot Pot

I am badly craving for something Asian today.  European cuisine is superb but being an Asian, there are just days when I can’t eat another pizza, steak, Schnitzel, pasta or other European food anymore and today is one of those days.

It’s maybe the cold and rainy April weather that makes me crave for a simmering hot pot but where do I get that? There are some Asian restaurants in Graz and I’ve been in all of them (or at least the ones I know of) but none of them serve hot pot.  I love living here in Graz but today, I wish we were still in Shanghai.

Living in one of the exclusive neighborhoods around the famous Century Park in Pudong, we enjoyed a lot of things. Right across our street are fancy restaurants and cafes like Hofbräuhaus, Costa, and Starbucks. Museums and shopping centers are also a just a few minutes walk away but the thing I am missing the most is none of these.  The thing I am missing the most is the small Chinese restaurant a few blocks away from our place. I accidently learned about this restaurant in one of my purposeless walks. When I saw the restaurant’s steamy windows, I knew immediately that they’re serving my favorite Chinese food—hot pot! The colorful array of fresh meat, vegetables, mushrooms, and seafood around a yummy smelling steaming broth is always inviting. Hot pot is popular during the cold months but I am sure I won’t mind eating it during summer too.

This particular restaurant’s customers are mainly locals so their menu is in Chinese but it was never a problem that I can’t read Chinese characters because the waitresses are really nice and really helpful to the extent of inviting me to the kitchen so I can pinpoint the things I want to order. Yes, I’ve been in a Chinese kitchen. When I tell people that, they say something like, “And you still want to eat there after seeing the kitchen?” You see, contrary to common assumption, not all Chinese restaurant kitchens are dingy.

Too bad, I really didn’t learn how to read Chinese character and except for a few words, I don’t really understand and speak Chinese. It’s a shame I don’t even know the name of the restaurant but I bet that even if Shanghai is so big, my feet will be able to find it.

Myla Ariaga

Five years ago, Myla left her comfort zone to work as an ESL teacher in China. Sure, she enjoyed staying at “Hotel Mama” while doing a secure and hassle-less job in the garment industry but she always felt the need to “go out” and explore the world so at 23, that’s exactly what she did. During her three years stint in China, most of her weekends and holidays were spent visiting places from the northeastern part of China down to Southeast Asia. As her horizon stretches further, her thirst for traveling intensifies. Right now, she’s living in Austria with her husband who, by the way, also shares her passion for traveling. Life may get in the way sometimes but she and her husband see to it that they get to visit new places and try out new things. When she’s not busy with her day job and she's not on a trip somewhere, Myla likes to cultivate her creative side with photography and writing. Her other interests include reading, scrapbooking, and cooking.

  1. Are you able to buy an electric hot plate that you can make hot-pot in? They sell these in the Chinese Supermarkets in Los Angeles. Then, simply buy the ingredients and make your own hot pot!


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