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Jan Finster

Which Chinese dishes were an acquired taste for you?

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Jan Finster

 

Which Chinese dishes were an acquired taste for you? Were there any dishes you hated at first and later on became very fond of?

Anyone here, who could not "stomach" Sichuan-style or Chongqing-style hotpots without spending the next 2 days on the toilet, but later on learned to tolerate it?

 

There are quite a few dishes, I cannot get used to, e.g. 豆汁 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douzhi), 臭豆腐 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinky_tofu), etc.

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Dlezcano

Besides 臭豆腐, I only can recall that the first time I hated 火锅 and now I am loving it. It was not the fact that it was too spicy but that I didn't like waiting for the foods to get boiled.

As for beverages, I would say 白酒. The process for liking it took me as long as 15 years.

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amytheorangutan

Oh that’s interesting. I don’t think I’ve had 豆汁 before. Wonder what they taste 🤔 generally there isn’t many food I don’t eat. 臭豆腐,皮蛋,鳳爪 and durian are all my favourite food. I like eating my congee with 皮蛋 a bit of soy sauce, sesame oil and green onion 🤤

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imron
4 hours ago, Dlezcano said:

I only can recall that the first time I hated 火锅 and now I am loving it

Same for me. Hated it the first few times, love it now.

 

The other one for me was 粥.

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abcdefg

Chicken feet are a taste I still have not fully acquired. 

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carlo

苦瓜. Missing it a lot right now. (although technically it's Indian/ SEA as much as Chinese).

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Zeppa

Pig intestines.

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Jan Finster
11 hours ago, amytheorangutan said:

I don’t think I’ve had 豆汁 before. Wonder what they taste 🤔

 

You don't want to try! None of my Chinese friends like it. And some of them gladly order bull testicles without batting an eye... 

 

9 hours ago, imron said:

The other one for me was 粥.

Me too. But then I was once invited to a brunch at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou. Among all the many dishes,  the simple 粥 was the best. They poured a raw egg yolk into it right before serving. Amazing! 

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roddy

Bitter melon, 苦瓜. Although I've not had it for years, maybe I hate it again. 

 

Not a hotpot fan. I get the attraction of cooking round a table with your friends, but if a restaurant had a sign outside that said "We boil all our food in one big pot and then dump it on your plate" you'd not be overly impressed. 

 

粥 is fantastic when it's got nice stuff in it.

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amytheorangutan
1 hour ago, Jan Finster said:

You don't want to try! None of my Chinese friends like it. And some of them gladly order bull testicles without batting an eye...

That sounds horrific, though the curious and sick part of me would like to find out how bad it is 😂

 

pig intestines are 🤤 I’m so hungry now 

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大块头
2 hours ago, Zeppa said:

Pig intestines.

 

dsc_0383_15849415496_o.thumb.jpg.547535967442b077179065129bfc9f50.jpg

 

pig face

 

a rather leathery football-like texture... not something I'll be seeking out again 

 

1 hour ago, roddy said:

Not a hotpot fan. I get the attraction of cooking round a table with your friends, but if a restaurant had a sign outside that said "We boil all our food in one big pot and then dump it on your plate" you'd not be overly impressed. 

 

At least at this hypothetical restaurant they do the boiling for you! I've had hotpot several times, and I still don't understand why it's viewed as such a special treat in China.

 

 

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Zeppa

It's the taste of the intestines I find hard to get used to. As for what we call pig's head in the UK, though it's only half of one, I've cooked one myself and like it! Mind you, it wasn't leathery.

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xinoxanu
19 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

Anyone here, who could not "stomach" Sichuan-style or Chongqing-style hotpots without spending the next 2 days on the toilet, but later on learned to tolerate it?

 

Eh, I've eaten hotpot maybe a hundred times (as well as 冒菜 or spicy boiled vegetables) and I get the runs 80% of the time. Surprisingly enough this doesn't happen with other spicy foodstuff, so I am guessing it has to do with the oil itself (gutter oil is a reality even in Sichuan). I still love it though... and carrying disposable tissues with you at all times for when disaster strikes is as local as it gets! So yeah, I guess I tolerate it 😅

 

And then... maybe anything with Lotus root on it? I don't hate it nowadays as much as I used to, but definitely not my favourite. I think it has to do with the slimy bits and the weird crunchy texture.

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Balthazar
3 hours ago, 大块头 said:

At least at this hypothetical restaurant they do the boiling for you! I've had hotpot several times, and I still don't understand why it's viewed as such a special treat in China.

 

One of the reasons it's "special" is that you get to partake in the cooking yourself (it's about as social as eating outside of home can get). Hotpot is not something I would ever consider to eat alone / cook for myself, but I've come to enjoy having it with friends/family a great deal over the years.

 

Obligatory video share below:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88DcJkFmsUc

 

Edit: I can't think of any dishes that were an acquired taste for me at the moment, but I can think of some ingredients. 镇江香醋 is a big one. On my first visit to China I dipped my dumplings in soy sauce, as I did not like the taste of the vinegar. Now I can't get enough of the stuff (and constantly have a couple jars of home pickled garlic in 镇江香醋 in my fridge). 腐乳 is another one, hated it the first time I tried it, absolutely love it now (eat it on the side of my porridge almost daily). Prefer the red one, too bad the Suzhou variety is not available here (the more salty Guangdong variety is a solid substitute, though). 白酒 too, and durian fruit.

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xinoxanu

And to add to what Balthazar pointed out: hotpot is relatively inexpensive, averaging at about 100kuai per person (although I usually go for 70kuai deals or the like). For that amount of money you get about 2-3h of time with your friends, a couple beers and a relaxed atmosphere. Works great for lunch or dinner as well.

 

I don't think there's anything similar to hotpot that factors in all that stuff.

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Jan Finster
5 hours ago, Balthazar said:
8 hours ago, 大块头 said:

At least at this hypothetical restaurant they do the boiling for you! I've had hotpot several times, and I still don't understand why it's viewed as such a special treat in China.

 

One of the reasons it's "special" is that you get to partake in the cooking yourself (it's about as social as eating outside of home can get). Hotpot is not something I would ever consider to eat alone / cook for myself, but I've come to enjoy having it with friends/family a great deal over the years.

 

I guess it is the equivalent of "fondue" or "raclette", both of which are very popular in Germany and Switzerland and primarily "social" dishes:

https://www.german-way.com/history-and-culture/holidays-and-celebrations/silvester-new-years-eve-germany/raclette/

https://www.macmillandictionaryblog.com/fondue

 

I think they call Chinese Hotpot also "Chinese fondue".

 

First time I had hotpot, my friends ordered duck blood cubes. Those are still "no no food" for me today... 

 

 

 

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xinoxanu
23 minutes ago, Jan Finster said:

First time I had hotpot, my friends ordered duck blood cubes. Those are still "no no food" for me today... 

 

哈哈哈 they were totally trolling you!

 

Not even my ex's grandma would touch those, and she ate both gross and gruesome stuff: they once sold her cat meat (yes, 🐱) as if it was rabbit and she ate it anyway. She suspected it halfway but didn't want to throw it away since she paid good money for it. 😅 

 

Ah, now that I think about it: boiled chicken hearts is something I've gotten pretty addicted to with time. There's something in how "springy" they are that made me hate them at first but now I can eat a 30-piece bag like if it was popcorn.

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abcdefg

I particluarly like two features of hot pot, in addition to the communal/social aspect. 

 

First is is how it changes during the course of the meal. In Kunming I had supper a couple times a month with friends who were from Chongqing 重庆。They nearly always made hotpot, seldom made 炒菜 fried food. It was their custom to begin by putting in "solid" vegetables, like potatoes, lotus root, and radish 败萝卜 because they took longer to cook. Sometimes tomatoes and corn on the cob. Sometimes mushrooms. When those got ready to eat, we would have some.

 

Then the meat would go in. Usually it was just one kind, not a variety, because they didn't have much money. Maybe today it was pork, or a nice piece of beef shoulder. If it was a tough cut, as was often the case, they partly pre-cooked it beforehand in a pressure cooker.

 

Sometimes the pot featured a fish, cut into pieces. Once I recall having fish plus shrimp. After we all had a chance to have some meat, then it was time to add tofu and several kinds of greens. If anyone was still hungry, cook more greens. Then noodles 面条 and glass noodles fentiao 粉条 would follow. 

 

So during the meal, the hot pot was constantly changing. And the broth was becoming more and more complex and succulent. When a westerner tells me he doesn't like hot pot, I have to wonder whether it was because of a bad introduction; whether the hosts didn't order a tasty assortment of ingredients. It can be wildly varied.  

 

The other thing I like about hot pot is the way you can augment and tailor the experience by blending your own dipping sauce. Chili oil, black vinegar, sesame paste, fermented black beans, cilantro, scallions, fermented tofu, soy sauce, oyster sauce, on and on. Liquid ingredeints, pastes, powders, leaves. Blend to your taste. 

 

Better hot pot restaurants always tended to have six or eight or ten ingredeints available and set up kind of like a salad bar where you could "build" your own personal bowl of dipping sauce. In fact that was one of the reasons to eat out instead of making hotpot at home. You dip each bite into your own small dish of dipping sauce. If you got it wrong and it's too sweet, go back and add more vinegar. Too sour; sprinkle in some sugar. Not enough dark sesame oil; easily remedied. Not hot enough, ditto. 

 

Usually rice was available at the end. The youngsters who had huge apetites would sometimes mix rice with a bowl of broth from the pot. By now it was very flavorful. A wonderful soup. Hard to resist. 

 

Quote

哈哈哈 they were totally trolling you!

 

As far as exotic ingredients, my favorite was duck tongues. Yes, they contain a bone. A real bone, not cartilege, though to this day I'm uncertain of the underlying anatomy. 

 

Hotpot also can have different regional characteristics. I once had a lady friend from Sichuan with whom I frequently ate hotpot. When doing the ordering we always had to include a plate of duck intestines. She strongly maintained "没有鸭肠,不是火锅。“

 

One of Yunnan's regional prides is wild mushroom hotpot in the summer when they are in season. Special restaurants have a large stock of freshly picked wild mushrooms and they serve very little else. The waitress insists on cooking them for you to start. She stands sentry at your table and guards the pot while watching a timer. You are not allowed to even dip your chopsticks in the pot until she gives the OK. Some wild mushrooms are poisonous if not cooked long enough, and this insures they have been professional and diligent.  

 

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