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Mongolian misadventures in lunch - The online computery journal thingy of a turtle

Feb. 25th, 2009

09:29 pm - Mongolian misadventures in lunch

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After enjoying my trip to Genghis Grill in Dallas during Furry Fiesta, I wondered if there was a Mongolian BBQ restaurant here in Houston. So last night I did a quick search on Google Maps, typing in just the word "Mongolian" in hopes of getting every occurrence of "Mongolian barbecue", "Mongolian BBQ", "Mongolian grill", etc.

The only place that turned up within reasonable driving distance was a place called "Mongolian Hot Pot" on Westheimer. So I went there for lunch today.

If you know anything about Mongolian food, you probably already know what I learned upon walking in: Mongolian hot pot is not the same thing as Mongolian barbecue. With Mongolian BBQ, you walk past a buffet table, pick out your frozen meats, veggies and sauces, put them in a bowl, and hand it to a cook who fries it all up on a grill. But with Mongolian hot pot, you sit at a table with a burner or hot plate in the middle, and the waiter puts a pot of broth on it and gives you ingredients to put in and make soup.

I ordered beef, which was brought to the table in frozen sliced form like with Mongolian BBQ. I put it in the broth and watched it cook almost instantly. There were also veggies such as bok choy, flour noodles, enoki mushrooms, pieces of tofu and fish balls. I started putting them in. They were tasty, if sometimes so hot I needed to blow on them. The waiter came by every now and then and twiddled the control for the hot plate.

The placemat explains how to cook and eat hot pot. It says hot pot is "simple and fun!" Well, either I was doing it wrong, or it's actually difficult and messy. I was given a little bowl on a plate, and I tried to scoop soup out of the pot into the bowl with the ladle provided. The soup dribbled all over the table, and the noodles got slippery and kept falling out of the ladle onto the table, where they were too hot to pick up with fingers and too slippery to pick up with chopsticks. Also, there were things in the broth I wasn't supposed to eat, like slices of ginger and whole cloves of garlic and things that looked like twigs and whole nutmegs and bright orange pellets of DOOM. Of course, it was hard to keep them out of my bowl and I had to keep dumping them back in (which I wouldn't have been able to do if I were sharing the pot with someone!)

When I was done eating about an hour later, the table was a mess. Broth puddles everywhere, the placemat soaked, and torn up where I'd stabbed at it with the sticks trying to pick up those damn noodles. I don't think I'll go back there.

Current Music: Tally Hall - Haiku

Comments:

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From:wbwolf
Date:February 26th, 2009 01:10 am (UTC)
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I would be remiss to point out that Mongolian barbeque (nor Mongolian hot pot) have much to do with Mongolian cuisine. Mongolian barbeque actually originated in Taiwan and is nothing more than a variation on teppenyaki. "Mongolian" was chosen because it is exotic.

I haven't run across "Mongolian hot pot" before, but it sound very similar to shabu shabu, which is just meat in Kanto area, but veggies are added in other parts of Japan. It probably closer to Szechwan style hot pot, which is supposedly Mongol, but unlikely.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:February 26th, 2009 01:44 am (UTC)
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You mean once again I've been lied to by the world of cookery, what with its so-called "French" fries, "Chinese" checkers and "Panama" hats? Tell me... are Swedish fish even Swedish??

Wait, checkers and hats aren't food. Okay, never mind that part.
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From:wbwolf
Date:February 26th, 2009 01:56 am (UTC)

little questions

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Tell me... are Swedish fish even Swedish??
yes
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From:orv
Date:February 26th, 2009 03:31 am (UTC)
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Not to mention "turkey"!
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From:kagur
Date:February 26th, 2009 02:04 am (UTC)
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Sounds like my experience with a similar Japanese cook-it-yourself place. There was a grill and they brought meat to be cooked. Well, I am a lousy cook, so I ended up with charcoal and burnt vegetables to eat. Nah, I'm not going back.
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From:nefaria
Date:February 26th, 2009 09:38 am (UTC)
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If it were really authentic Genghis Khan era Mongolian cuisine, they'd just give you a machete and put you in a room with a live steer.

Check out some of the nearby large Chinese buffets, a couple may have Mongolian Barbecue stations (there's a nice one just a couple miles down the road from me, I walk there occasionally).

Edited at 2009-02-26 12:39 pm (UTC)
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From:deckardcanine
Date:February 26th, 2009 02:12 pm (UTC)
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Man, the Mongolian grill in my area is the messiest eatery I know. Hard to believe the Hot Pot's even worse.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:February 26th, 2009 09:45 pm (UTC)
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In my experience, Mongolian grill places don't tend to be very messy. Maybe you live around people who don't know how to eat. :}
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From:deckardcanine
Date:February 26th, 2009 11:38 pm (UTC)
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More like cooks who don't know how to serve. Other people's food items keep getting mixed into mine and vice versa, which is especially bad when I don't eat meat or eggs.
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From:akktri
Date:March 18th, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)

When in Rome...

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"Of course, it was hard to keep them out of my bowl and I had to keep dumping them back in (which I wouldn't have been able to do if I were sharing the pot with someone!)"


Where's your Mongolian spirit? Mongolians invented the "five hour rule" (later known as the sixty second rule). They didn't care much about hygiene, so why should you? It's all in good fun when you're eating Mongolian! Go with it! Eat with your elbows on the table! Spit while you talk! Eat raw meat! If you're going Mongol, go with a gusto! :D
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