Hot pot restaurant; Beijing, China

Last night I had my first hot pot experience in China. It came highly recommended, but the experience was a bit disappointing, mostly because of one French guy, for whom we had to scale back the spices. So the food was pretty bland. I'm under the impression that part of the appeal of hot pot is that it's so hot and spicy, you sweat while you eat, testing your own limits.

I think perhaps I'll go back with somebody else who isn't afraid to eat food that's spicier than cardboard. Because the food itself was fresh, just bland. We ate fresh beef, lamb, mushrooms and potatoes, plus another food nobody was ever able to really identify. Some of the guesses were intestines and octopus, but I don't think either of those were correct. It was paper thin, and off-white or cream color, and served on a bed of lettuce.

The meal started with grilled duck head. It was exactly like it sounds: a duck head, severed at the neck, grilled, served whole. I ate some of the tongue, and also what I think was duck brains, or whatever else a duck has in the middle of its head, but I can't say I was all that impressed. The duck head was oily, but more than that, it was a severed duck head.