There are more and more western style restaurants and bars cropping up around Chengdu all the time. It’s great! I know exactly where to go for a delicious pizza, a greasy burger and even a spit-roast! But it means I become more and more unattached from part of the Chinese culture that I originally fell in love with. Especially in Sichuan – the food here is incredible! So, we decided to have a “fully Chinese” night. I know that every night I spend in China is technically “Chinese”, but we were going to do what the Chinese people here love to do – eat, drink and sing!
After a couple of drinks in Bad Panda (a western style bar, but it has panda in the name so surely we can be excused!) we headed off to find a nearby hotpot restaurant. Hotpot is a famous Sichuan dish. On the surface, it just looks like a big tub of oil with lots of different meat and vegetables boiling inside. But when you look closer and actually taste the dish you realise just how many different spices have been added it to give it its unique flavour. It’s great for sharing with a lot of friends and the more friends you share it with, the more food you can add in! You can choose from two different types of oil: spicy, non-spicy or both. We had both – everyone likes a bit of variety, and not everyone is quite used to the Sichuan heat that is packed into it!
As is often the case, Chinese alcohol is usually served when a large family, group of friends, workmates… just anyone really, gather together and eat. Usually, the drink of “choice” would be báijiǔ. It’s strong. Very strong. I’m talking it’s like drinking petrol mixed with bleach strong. We, instead, opted for beer, and a “plum wine”. I usually like plum wine because it tastes like juice. This plum wine tasted like báijiǔ…
After filling our bellies with Sichuan spice and oil (and food, of course) we headed to a nearby KTV. KTVs are usually made up of several rooms, ranging in size depending on the size of the party coming, with their own private TV and microphones. It’s like a private karaoke dance party! Outside is a type of “mini-mart” where you can choose which drinks you want in your room. The waiters are always on hand, peaking in the room regularly to see if more drinks are needed/wanted.
Of course, after a couple of beverages everyone thinks they’re the next Beyonce so depending on who you go with, you may want to bring a spare pair of earplugs. If you go with me, you’ll definitely want to wear earplugs (and maybe some padded clothing because I think I can dance like her too!). I don’t have too many “blog worthy” pictures of our KTV night because they’re mostly blurry shots of people with microphones in their faces. Plus, let’s face it, everybody’s seen more than enough pictures of tipsy lǎowài (foreigners) dancing and singing on the internet. Instead, watch the short time-lapse from our night below. This was taken a couple of hours after arriving.
And my Instagram post showing sort of how a night at KTV progresses:
We had a great night, though. Nobody can say that a delicious hotpot followed by hours of KTV isn’t fun.
Until the next morning, perhaps, when the oil from the hotpot has finally reached your stomach…
Have you ever eaten hotpot? How was it? And do you enjoy a night at KTV as much as us? Let me know in the comments below.