Fire Breathers And Breathing Fire
Chengdu Travel Blog› entry 104 of 117 › view all entries
August 1st, 2007 – by: dan2105
On the menu this evening was the local speciality, Sichuan Hotpot, or 'Firepot' as it's called by the locals. It's probably the spiciest food I have ever eaten in my life. It's basically just a cauldron in the middle of the table filled with chillies and peppercorns, which you top up with vegetables and meat to your satisfaction. In the bowl's interior is a less-spicy version which you can resort to if the spicy one gets too much for you. The spicy dish was originally eaten by poor fishermen to disguise the poor quality of meat they added to the concoction, but has since become a trendy dish in the region, with many hotpot restaurants all over Sichuan and Chongqing.
I have decided that it is the worst possible idea for anyone going on a first date. Not only did I leave feeling embarrassed because I had spilled a shot glass worth of beer over my crotch (the usual), but my stationery sweat - even though I was sat directly in front of an industrial-strength air-conditioner - caught the attention of most people in the restaurant.
Dragon warned us beforehand that the dish contained such fiery ingredients that there was a good chance that we would get 'chilli bum'. Ironically, it was he that ended up admitting that he had had to pay a visit to the chemist the next morning. I must have a stomach of steel, cos I felt fine, but there were a few people in our group holding their bellies the next day, that's for sure.
Afterwards, we went to Jingjiang Theatre to watch a face-changing show. The main event is the performers who change masks within the blink of an eye while dancing about on stage wearing lavish costumes, while mask-wearing fire breathers also lit up the stage. But that wasn't it; we were also treated to some acrobatics, a hand-shadow show and a comedic piece of Japanese opera. It was pretty unbelievable, to be honest.
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