It also requires a big appetite and a talent for rolling it up into one humongous piece that you have to push and shove to fit into your gaping maw. As the Chinese say, the bigger, the better (more luck and money for the New Year)!
So off we went to market to buy a fat pig (and more than a dozen ingredients). Then we set to work peeling, cutting, slicing, chopping, simmering, sauteeing, tasting and seasoning.
I did most of the tasting, by the way. My mom is a drill sergeant and watched over the choppers and slicers like a hawk. Everything had to be uniform size and a certain length. She would make a French chef teaching knife skills cower in fear. Which, I think, is fantastic! I, however, escaped knife duty because dutiful me "had" to bring Papa and my sister to our favorite hotpot restaurant. We were so tired from the market and watching all the action back home we needed to rest and fill our bellies with hot soup.
I won't bore you with details on how we made this treasured family recipe. I am actually bound by an unwritten family rule to pass this on to my daughters-in-law (who, I hope, will appreciate it and cook it for my sons and grandchildren).
|Street market in Hong Kong|
|Vegetable stand-how I love the deep colors|
|All manner of soybean products|
|These were the old ones, being sold at a discount. I think they still looked good enough for this shot.|
|Lettuce here, there and everywhere!|
|Tomatoes in various hues|
|Look at those yellow zucchinis!|
|Papa used to say only goats ate these, but I loved them as a kid. Does that make me a semi-goat?|
|An expensive array of sea creatures|
|Plump razor clams|
|Chicken stall-with my favorite black chicken|
|Do I spy a few stray pieces here that escaped my mom's ever watchful eye?|
|The fingers that sliced these needs some TLC|
|More itsy bitsy teenie weenie slices|
|I came home to this. My childhood in a pot.|
|Wrapn'roll- too bad we couldn't find crunchy hoti -the seaweed used for this recipe|
|Papa used to make much much bigger ones than this. I guess as he grows older his appetite has waned a bit.|