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The Best Of Hong Kong
Lifestyle News
By Andrea Lo | January 17th, 2018

All Tea No Shade with Andrea Lo.

There’s nothing better than hot pot in winter… except when people don’t behave.

This month, Hong Kong online media outlet TV Most put out a video featuring vox pop on the worst things people do during hot pot.

Among the offensive acts, according to the video? Over-ordering, aggressively stirring the pot, having chicken testicles and even “bringing their own food into the hot pot restaurant.” (Who does this?)

Still, some of what the interviewees said didn’t bother me that much. I’ve seen some nasty, nasty things during my own hot pot outings.

People who arrive late, first of all. In some places we can’t be seated until the entire party has arrived, and so the people who get there on time are left standing around waiting while they give the table away to walk-ins. (Actually, I’ve done this before. Sorry.) Kudos to F, who has been known to tell people the start time a half-hour early just to make sure no one is late.

And while we’re on that topic, what’s the deal with people who commit to an all-you-can-eat hot pot then drop out at the last minute (or just don’t show up — you’re a crap friend)? At hot pot restaurants where tables are charged by the number of people under the booking, this messes up everything.

The real problems begin when everyone’s seated and ready to eat.

Hot pot newbies should be carefully monitored, lest they suddenly decide to throw in an entire plate of raw chicken just as everything in the pot is ready to be eaten. Great — so now none of us can touch anything in the pot while the chicken cooks, because we don’t want to die of salmonella. And meanwhile, everything else in there stews and becomes inedible.

But even if you have your eyes on the newbie, next thing you know, someone else has dipped multiple pieces of fried fish skin into the broth and left them in there. Are you a heathen?! They’re supposed to be lightly brushed so they don’t lose their crispiness.

Apparently, some people have been known to tip the saliva-drenched mess in their own bowl back into the pot. WTF? If you’re going to do this, you need to arrange to only go to restaurants where everyone gets their personal hot pot. Or just have solo hot pot, aka the saddest thing in the world.

And what’s up with vegetarians and vegans who show up to hot pot and want to have a whole compartment to themselves so they can eat their tofu and boiled vegetables without “contamination”? Is it so hard for you to find two other boring people to eat a veggie hot pot with you?

“Don’t forget about people sweeping a load of beef into the pot and leaving it until it’s past well-done,” L says, “or who insist on adding new soup when your food is almost done.”

“It was boiling and now I have to wait until it boils again before I can pick up my thing.”

Okay, now my blood is boiling and I have to stop. What are the worst hot pot crimes you’ve seen?

Love it? Hate it? Tell Andrea all about it: andrea@theloophk.com.