It’s no secret – it rains a lot in Portland, and this time of year, it’s a little on the chilly side. Plus, with classes back in full swing, the stress is mounting. What better time for a little comfort food? Well, the MIM program does comfort food a little differently – sure we’ve all got our own personal favorites that hit just the right spot, but as a group, I think we’ve all decided on one dish: hot pot. For those unaware, hot pot is essentially a progressive, do-it-yourself stew, where there’s a simmering pot of broth, and you and friends gradually add ingredients and cook them in the soup base. Nothing takes the chill off quite like it. This kind of dish, and restaurants that serve it are found all throughout Asia, each modifying it slightly to make it uniquely their own. In Japan, for example, it’s called しゃぶしゃぶ (shabu shabu). Regardless of the name, it all boils down to a tasty soup that you get to build just the way you want it.
Portland just so happens to be home to a perfectly good hot pot establishment: Hot Pot City. It was introduced to the MIM program by our very own Ali Mondragon, a part-time student who, I’ve been told, frequents Hot Pot City at least three times a week! The deal can’t be beat there either – $8.45 gets you all you can eat hot pot, that means unlimited stops at their buffet line of ingredients, and a drink. The service can’t be beat either, “Hot Pot Jack” is more than willing to show newcomers the ropes, and suggest the perfect broth for your palate. As an added bonus, if you’re taking Chinese language classes, you can sneak in a little practice with the staff – they love to speak their native tongue. We also learned today that those taking Japanese can flex their linguistic skills, even if only a little – our waitress informed us: “日本語が分かりません” (“nihongo ga wakarimasen” or “I don’t understand Japanese”). Just a cautionary warning though: if you’ve got important things to do, we recommend getting those done before eating hot pot, as we usually suffer from a food coma by the time we pay our bill…
We’re just barely over a term into this 15 month program, and we’ve already assimilated a mainstay into what the program means to us. Just another benefit to the MIM program!