Thursday, February 12, 2009

Shabu Zen--How did Genghis Khan eat?

You ever wonder how Genghis khan dined?  Some restaurants are a time portal experience, transporting you back to a different age--a distant era.  Something like a medieval times, but without the corny costumes, turkey legs and beer wenches. Back to Genghis, how did our boy roll for suppertime?  He didn’t have much in the way of fine seasoning or fancy cutlery, but he did have style.  He took a big ole’ wok, filled that puppy to the brim with boiling water and oil, and he just threw in whatever he wanted. 

That’s hot pot.

The majority of North American denizens are unfamiliar with this mouth watering feasting. But, hot pot is the fondue of Asia (see Wine Cellar). So delicious, so succulent and so simple.  Truly the dish of conquerors and kings. Like its French cousin, hot pot keeps it simple: Boiling pot of oily soup, a dish of fresh vegetables, and a platter of delicately sliced paper-thin raw meats. Chopsticks are your implements of destruction.

It doesn’t take long to master the art of 火锅 (huo guo, literally fire pot). With one smooth stroke, you place the tender morsel of lamb into the boiling pot.  You must now be patient.  If you are too quick, the meat is still raw, but wait too long, and it is dissolved. You must sense the meat; you must become the boiling piece of lamb, until you know its tenderness.   Remove when it speaks to you, and promptly eat.  This is the way of hot pot.

Shabu Zen delivers on the hot pot experience.  The restaurant gives you an option of individual and group sized pots, perfect for the lone diner or a raucous group.  Always order beer, and make sure it is an Asian brew.  The seafood platter’s scallops and shrimps, were especially delicious, the squid and fish balls were mediocre.  All the meat was fresh, so no worries for the hesitant diner.  A perfect meal for those who are warriors at heart.  

Shabu Zen
16 Tyler St
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 292-8828

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