A Northern Chinese dish, served in the winter to warm the people. It isn't Mongolian, having existed in Korea, China as well as Mongolia for ages. Restaurants that serve hotpot have tables with a large circular hole in the center, with a stove placed under it. A large iron pot (more like a wok) is placed over the hole, and ingredients are tossed in, cooked, then eaten on the spot. Hence, it is like a big soup with everything mixed in.

The "soup" stock is of the utmost importance. Conventionally, spices are used, along with hot peppers to give it the spicy edge. Meats, ranging from lamb to beef to venison are thrown into the pot. Tofu and vegetables can also be served. Each diner gets a large sieve to cook with, the boiling hot stock cooks the very thinly sliced meats in mere seconds. It is then dipped in hot sauces. A very tasty combination. Beer is usually drunken in large quantities to go with the spicy flavor. It really does wonders against cold weather.

Hotpot has a unique DIY feel to it, because all the stuff arrived uncooked and you can cook it to your needs. A nice dining experience, especially with a group of good friends. When cooked properly, hotpot is very tasty, but beware undercooked meat, it tastes nasty. Overcooked meat is stringly and flavorless, and should also be avoided. If you're too drunk to cook the stuff yourself, one should ask a waiter to help. Happened to me a few times.

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