A Game of Death

15 Mar
Going for a spin

Going for a spin

South Carolina’s pollen layers (a-choo!) means spring’s here. Though I love my soups, it’s time to move on from the warm dishes. That means going out with a bang, an explosive one. Last week, I visited my friend Ryan in Cayce, South Carolina. Ryan loves all things with Asian cuisine, especially hot and spicy soups. His favorite kind is called a hot pot, an incendiary bowl of starches, spices, and flash-cooked proteins. After spending spring break sick and resting, a eye-opening pot of spicy broth and potential salmonella sounded amazing. Hot pot has all kinds of detox agents, healthy agents, and secret agents.

While getting healthy things in a non-vitamin form sounded great, the real goal was simple: create our own spicy spin. The hot “Viên Gia Vi” flavor (branded by Lâ’u Thai) comes from bouillon-like cubes, sold at Asian markets. Cilantro, turnip slices, onion, and Chinese 5-spice powder also are in mix, which bubbles and boils down and gets poured over rice or noodles. Ryan said the goal is to get the broth spicy enough to need garlic butter for dipping. Apparently garlic is the best tool against a human torch.



Ryan told me the hot pot broth boils while you pick out ingredients to drop in and cook. You drop in chicken slices or sponge-like fried tofu. Before you can say “roundhouse kick,” they’re fully cooked. The set-up mirrors fondue, which Ryan says is far from traditional Thai. “Authenticity” was on the back burner since I was worried about being chili-burned. The chili peppers and sriracha helped with heat, but the end result still wasn’t as spicy as we were hoping. I think secretly I wanted Smokey the Bear to claim the soup was a fire hazard. I loved the final result: a filling, vegetable-loaded stew with chicken and tofu sponges on the top.


While cooking, we also watched Game of Death, Bruce Lee’s final movie. It also features a fast-action and tense fight between Lee and Chuck Norris. That’s right. Both of them. And Kareem Abdul-Jabar’s in it, too.

Bruce Lee whoops this guy, who may have cried after the take. Hot pot whooped me, who cried during, after, and in-between bowls.


One Response to “A Game of Death”

  1. lilyclare April 3, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    I’ve heard so much about hot pot but never tried it. I might tap into your experience when I move down to Charleston!

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