I know it’s a terrible habit, but I like falling asleep with the TV still on in the background. I don’t know what it is about a human voice that comforts me so much, but I feel safe and protected when the voice melts into my unconsciousness as a sweet lullaby.
I would sometime fall asleep with a Chinese program (can’t tell the difference between Cantonese and Mandarin) in the background by accident, usually when I doze off while watching a Japanese drama on one of those international, multi-lingual channels that switch languages regularly during the day. Although in a bright daylight, Japanese and Chinese languages have a very contradicting cadence, they often end up transforming into a one, giant blob and I’m not able to tell the difference between the two when shadowed by drowsiness and a daydream. Since Japanese is a derivative of an ancient Chinese language (evidence in its usage of Chinese characters called kanji), I suppose it is not too surprising to find commonalities between the languages that once shared the same root.
It’s also like that in the culinary world for these two cuisines where some dishes go beyond the gastronomic borders and become the very similar entity. Take Japanese Shabu Shabu and Mongolian Hot Pot for instance; these dishes are virtually identical with a few, simple tweaks in the sauce and the broth.
If Shabu Shabu and Mongolian Hot Pot were to fight it out in a culinary battlefield, I wonder who would come out victorious as the royalty of hot pots. I would be a close one. I would personally crown Shabu Shabu as the king (I just love the dipping sauces too much), but the Mongolian type with flavorful broth of herbs, spices and roots are equally impressive.
Lita took me and Maya to Little Sheep in San Diego over the weekend, a perfect destination for the ultimate comfort food for Asian food lovers like us. It was also the perfect way to settle our tired stomachs after the weekend of excessive meat-eating and a fun overdose 🙂
Our Mongolian Hot Pot adventure began with the selection of the broth, the boiling soup that serves as the cooking vehicle for meats, seafood, vegetables and noodles of your choice, as well as the actual soup you can enjoy. What you see here is the order of half mild and half spicy broth. The soup was filled with countless aromatics, making the soup deeply rich in flavor, and ticked all our culinary senses. It was pretty amazing how much different flavors are in this simple soup! I liked the mild broth better than the spicy one (spicy was a bit too oily and way too spicy just to enjoy as a soup). The mild broth reminded a little of the rich, milky tonkotsu broth in Japanese ramen that I love so much.
We ordered lamb, beef, chicken and meatballs for the protein. They come frozen but cooks in seconds in the bubbling liquid. The lamb slices had a very distinct game-y-ness to them but I really liked the flavor and the texture. Lita swore by the chicken and they were good too!
We also ordered tofu, daikon raddish, mushrooms (oysters and shiitake), bak choy and two kinds of vermicelli noodles on the side. Needless to say, we absolutely loved everything here! The broth will become watery and will evaporate over time but you can always have the soup added to the hot pot.
The meal was so filling, I fell asleep right when we got home and my friends’ comforting voice guided me to a deep, satisfying sleep. It was heaven.
Little Sheet Mongolian Hot Pot and Grill
4718 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92117