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Some Like It Hot
By Rachel Flaherty

Where and How to Get Your Hot Pot On

As the weather has turned cold, there is truly one suitable meal that warms the cockles of your heart and brings people together – Hot Pot or huo guo. Hot Pot is perhaps one of the most widely enjoyed meals in China. You can travel as far north as Mongolia to find this popular dish, go west to Sichuan, even way down south in the warm climates of Hong Kong you will be able to find Hot Pot in some various iteration. And it doesn’t stop there. It goes by the name Steamboat in some Southeast Asian countries and nabemono in Japan, with varieties including Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki. Go to Korea, Vietnam, and even Thailand, and you can find their own versions of this broth-based meal. Sure, China remains famous for dumplings, dim sum, and other tasty delicacies, but if you are a foreigner residing in China, you have certainly at one point or another come across the ubiquitous presence of Hot Pot.

Let’s pause for a little bit of history on this steaming delight. It’s widely believed to have been introduced by the Mongolian nomads over a thousand years ago. One version puts forth that Mongol warriors couldn’t be bothered to carry cooking utensils, so they rigged their shields over the fire to sear meat and turned their helmets upside down to boil the soup (which was essentially water). This early Hot Pot included a wide variety of whatever meats were on hand, but generally mutton was favored. Hot Pot slowly trickled south, and by the Tang Dynasty, it had become famous. During the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty, Hot Pot flourished, certainly due in part to who ruled the country, and when the Qing Dynasty hit, regional varieties could be found in all the four corners of China.

Most people know very little of this history, but what they do know is that when winter rolls around, it’s time to fire up those burners and gather around a steaming pot of broth with their near and dear ones. Sit huddled around a pot for a few hours and you will slowly perform a striptease of all your many winter layers. Things have really changed in a thousand years though. A round table houses a now modern mechanized burner that heats a giant metal pot containing a broth, and sometimes two, in which you can cook a colorful array of chosen meats, seafood, vegetables, noodles, and other accoutrements. (What would a Mongolian of the old school have to say about an induction tabletop burner???) Condiments are on hand to make a sauce for you to dip your cooked goodies in, after which each person can drink the flavorsome soup. Hot Pot is not a meal for a single person. There have been more and more mini Hot Pot restaurants popping up in recent years – something about them being more hygienic and giving everyone the chance to make their own choices – but Hot Pot is a communal meal meant to be shared with friends and family in a fun and lively atmosphere. These places just kill that experience.

The sheer size of China means that there are many regional varieties of Hot Pot to try; all are worthy of your taste buds. And while there are many types of Hot Pot, most dining experiences go pretty much the same way. First, you choose your broth. For the spicier varieties, there is generally the option of a split pot containing a spicy broth and a bone broth. Order it in the event there are some in your party that just can’t handle the heat; this way even the wusses can enjoy the primordial thrill of cooking their grub in a bubbling cauldron. Next, you choose your dunkables. Standard selections to include are paper-thin slices of fat-streaked mutton and beef, some form of tofu, vegetables, balls of seafood and pork variety, seafood and noodles. Finally, you need your condiments. This is the point where tastes diverge. Some places have condiments arranged at dedicated stations; others you order off the menu (or tick on the paper menu). Regardless of how you get your sauces, the number of choices can be a bit overwhelming if you are new to the game. It takes a lot of mixing and matching to get the right concoction to suit your taste, but it’s one of the little things that makes Hot Potting so damned interesting.

Eating Hot Pot is definitely not a passive activity. Once your raw smorgasbord arrives and is placed next your table on trays, the fun really begins. You dunk the morsels into the hot stock, watch them dance around together in the soup, fish them out with ladles, dip them into your bowl of condiments, gobble them down, and, in a brow-mopping, belt-loosening fervor, repeat ad infinitum. The point of Hot Pot, after all, is unbridled excess. To help you navigate this unfamiliar territory, here are a few tips: Some things take a little longer to cook, like potatoes, fish balls and some seafood, so if you want to throw them in the pot, let everyone know so they can scoop out some food. Also, watch out for those potatoes: they’ll burn the hell outa your mouth. One final warning, beware of the meat: It has a tendency to furl in the broth and when it’s fished out with the ladle, can conceal a few lethal chilies. It’s best to use the chopsticks to grab it, or even better to dip it briefly as it doesn’t take long to cook.

Speaking of chilies, arguably the most famous regional variety of Hot Pot would have to be the Chongqing Hot Pot style. Named after this spicy city in the western part of China, it is notable for ma-la – having to do with the numbing and spicy additions of Sichuan peppercorns and hot peppers. Often times this Hot Pot style is served in a pot that is split into two sections which resemble the Daoist yin and yang symbols. One side of the pot houses the molten spicy broth while the other side holds a benign bone broth. The Hunan style of Hot Pot is similarly spicy but lacks the numbing quality made famous by the Chongqing and Sichuan Styles. Sichuan Hot Pot tends to go heavy on the seafood or fish, while Hunanese has more beef or mutton along with its spicy chilies. Chowing down on any of these fiery three will send you in search of something to cool down your mouth. Plum juice does the trick, and it’s is commonly found at any Hot Pot restaurant these days, but a cold beer certainly achieves the same results. Baijiu also pairs rather well with Hot Pot.  

Not into the spicy? That’s quite alright. There are plenty of milder Hot Pots to choose from. The Northern Style, commonly found in Beijing, focuses more on the act of cooking and is referred to as shuan yangrou, meaning the act of scalding thin slices of mutton in boiling broth. Frozen meat, generally mutton, is sliced thinly causing it to roll up and is generally served this way. This is paired with sesame-based condiments and sauces. A traditional Mongolian Hot Pot includes all kinds of spices, one of which, bajiao huixiang, or star anise, is thought to warm yang, disperse cold, and rectify qi problems. Manchurian Hot Pot uses pickled Chinese vegetables, or suancai (literally meaning sour vegetable), for flavoring, resulting in a sour stew. Cantonese Hot Pot, popular in southern China and Hong Kong, is more heavily focused on the soup bases of Hot Pot. The broth has additions of Chinese herbs (similar to those of the Mongolian Hot Pot) as these herbs are seen as balancing the heat found in Hot Pot. Seafood is obviously also more popular in Cantonese Hot Pot.

Hot Pot cooking is often enjoyed at home during festivals since it requires little preparation and the participatory element is fun for a large group. It is easy to buy a portable electric burner, and you just need a wide, deep pot that will comfortably hold boiling soup without boiling over. Don’t use too deep of a pot, or you will spend too much time fishing for your food. Hot Pot can then be customized to your own style and liking. So grab your family and start a new tradition this year by enjoying this Chinese dish. But if DIY Hot Pot is not your thing, do not despair because MORE Hangzhou has compiled a list of the top ten Hot Pot restaurants in Hangzhou to help take the guesswork out of finding the perfect pot for your seasonal pleasure. These are surely the best and brightest Hot Pots available, running the gamut of styles. We have even included a Japanese and Thai Style on the list because they are both lip smackin’ good.  So plop til you pop!

1. Haidilao 海底捞 (Sichuan Style, 24hours)
Why is Haidilao number one on this list? For two very good reasons: Not only is their Hot Pot some of the best available in Hangzhou, but their service is without equal. Ladies you can have your nails done for free after you eat! Board games are available, snacks while you wait, bathroom attendants, constant hot towels, and a cheerful staff. Cute aprons are on hand to keep the splash from the Hot Pot off of your precious clothes. You cannot tell me there is another restaurant around with this level of service. They also offer Hot Pot delivery. Order from a number of set meals that will feed a varying number of people, and everything (down to the condiments) is then delivered to your home. The extensive picture menu, while not in English, is easily to use with the help of their friendly staff.

5/F, Yongjin Square, 135 Yan’an Road 延安路135号涌金广场5楼 , Tel: 87088050
502 Zhongdu Department Store, 87-1 Qingchun Road 庆春路87-1号中都百货502号, Tel: 81606592, 81606593
3/F, Yefeng Xiandai Zhixing Mansion, 337 Shaoxing Road 绍兴路337号野风现代之星大厦3楼333号, Tel: 85366389, 85366390

2. Lao Matou 老码头 (Sichuan Style, 24 hours)
You no longer have to fly off to Chengdu to enjoy this Sichuan Style Hot Pot. The best way to do it up here is get a half Sichuan and half savory broth, so you can give your mouth a rest. Six people can comfortably eat for around 400RMB, and the sour plum juice here is the best for washing all those chilies down. The numbing peppercorns bubble away in their copper cauldron waiting for you to dunk your veggies, seafood, meats, and noodles. The great thing about it is this place is open till 3am. So during the winter months if you find yourself a bit peckish after shaking your money maker at Coco Banana, wander down to this Hot Pot place with all your club kid friends.

24 Baochu Road 保俶路24号, Tel: 85118818 
262 Wantang Road 万塘路262号,Tel: 87671679
3/F, 66 Dongpo Road 东坡路66号3楼(近西湖时代广场), Tel: 87081218, 81061116

3. King Pot 幸福里 or Dong Lai Shun 东来顺 (Beijing Style, 11:30am - 9:30pm)
King Pot located in the northern part of Hangzhou on Jinhua Road next to Me Too Café and the 166 Loft Park, King Pot boasts an elegant sparse open layout, and instead of giant metal pots, here you’ll find real traditional gleaming copper Hot Pots commonly found in Beijing.  This is my personal favorite Hot Pot restaurant as it reminds me of freezing cold days in Beijing. Their fantastic baijiu selection brings back vivid memories as well and is available starting at 16RMB. If you cannot stand baijiu, there is also Beijing Plum Juice (老字号信远斋酸梅汤) 12RMB available to quench your thirst. We recommend the Shrimp Paste (鲜虾滑) 46RMB; it looks kind of horrifying sitting on its platter awaiting submersion into its boiling bath, but once you’ve tasted the cooked version, you’ll begin eagerly searching for those little pink balls. Condiments include traditional Beijing sesame sauce (老北京麻酱调料) 6RMB, and special Beijing spicy sauce (幸福里特色麻辣调料) 6RMB. Also, don’t forget the Deep Fried Sliced Mantou (烤馒头片), Old Beijing-style Baked Sesame Cake (salty/sweet) (老北京芝麻火烧) 3RMB/one, and the Beijing-style Noodles with Soy Bean Paste (炸酱面) 18RMB. Prices for meat range from 38RMB to 168RMB (for Angus steak), and vegetables and side dishes are between 10 and 20RMB each. If you have not tried Beijing Style Hot Pot, this is the best place to do it!

King Pot: 50m south of Dengyun Road and Jinhua Road (Silian 166) 登云路和金华路往南50米 (丝联166内), Tel: 85047210
Dong Lai Shun: 488 Qingtai Street  清泰街488号, 10am - 10pm, Tel: 87820666

4. Chuan Wei Guan 川味观 (Sichuan Style, 10:30am – 4am)
This chain has been cooking up tasty Sichuan Style Hot Pot in Hangzhou for years. They are everywhere, so it’s easy to get your spicy Hot Pot fix. Their pots have an authentic flavor, and it is a favorite spot for those who love a bit of numbing Sichuan peppercorn action. The vegetable offerings are par for the course, and you won’t find anything else out of the ordinary here, but this is a good option for when you and your friends want a convenient place to gather around a bubbling pot of chilies. Unfortunately, the menu is only in Chinese, but there are photos, so don’t fret my pets.

539-3 Fengqi Road 凤起路539-3号, Tel: 87795866
580 North Zhongshan Road 中山北路580号, Tel: 85393226
222 Tanhuan Road 昙花庵路222号, Tel: 86037988
160 Moganshan Road 莫干山路160号, Tel: 88807166
166 Huansha Road 浣纱路166号, Tel: 87917669
80 Fengqi Road 凤起路80号, Tel: 85284293
109 West Wensan Road 文三西路109号, Tel: 88983338, 88975557
10 Gushui Street 古水街10号, Tel: 85393226
82 Tiancheng Road 天城路82号, Tel: 88391277, 88399577
978 Dongxin Road 东新路978号, Tel: 85283777
1-2/F, Qianlong Masion, Binsheng Road and Jianghan Road 滨盛路与江汉路交叉口钱龙大厦1-2楼, Tel: 87022666
Kairui Hotel, 1199 Hanghai Road 杭海路1199号凯瑞大酒店, Tel: 86909777
20 West Huancheng Road 环城西路20号, Tel: 87014552

5. Lotus Thai Hot Pot 莲一泰式火锅·料理 (Thai Style, 10am - 9pm)
Located near Homestead Café on Wensan and Jiaogong Roads, this Thai Steamboat restaurant is fantastic if you are hankerin’ for some Hot Pot but can’t drum up the required friends. Here they serve Thai-style individual Hot Pots that will seriously light your mouth up. Try their delicious Tom Yum Hot Pot (东荫功汤锅) and their Pineapple Curry Hot Pot (咖喱菠萝锅). The menu is not in English, nor are there any pictures, but the prices are cheap, so fumbling your way through the ordering process is well worth the awkwardness. Their Hot Pot is so delicious, you will want to drink the soup after eating all your tasty morsels. Wash it all down with a great Singha beer for 15RMB, and you will have a fantastic Thai Steamboat experience.

3/F, Liyuan Mansion, 88 Jiaogong Road  教工路88号立元大厦3楼, Tel: 87006655

6. Yu Xianglong Chongqing Hot Pot 渝香隆重庆火锅城 (Chongqing Style, 24 hours)
Located on Baochu Road, this Chongqing Style Hot Pot is not for the faint of heart. Be prepared for your hair and clothes to smell like what you’ve just devoured. In fact, we suggest not even bothering to shower before coming here. “So, why do people come here?” you might ask. Because, they have the best Chongqing Style Hot Pot in town. Again, the menu is only in Chinese, so if you are feeling your Chinese isn’t up to snuff, we recommend bringing a friend along who speaks Chinese. The place is open 24hrs and really gets hoppin’ around 2am. The snakehead fish (黑鱼片) is delicious, and we also recommend getting the rice cake (年糕). The rest of the veggies are rather commonplace, but if you are feeling adventurous, don’t forget the more exciting meats on hand, like stomach. Yum! This place is great for late night Hot Pot cravings!

106 Baochu Road 保俶路106号, Tel: 85111020
25 Desheng Road 德胜路25号, Tel: 85832955
423 Shangtang Road 上塘路423号, Tel: 88321711

7. Doulao Fang豆捞坊 (Mixed Style, 11am – 9:30pm)
This Taiwanese Style Hot Pot restaurant is located near Wulin Shopping Center, so after you work up an appetite window shopping, head here for a mini Hot Pot experience. Each person has their own individual Hot Pot to which you can add excellent fresh seafood, vegetables, and other tasty treats. All the required condiments are here: sesame sauce, peanut butter, XO sauce, spicy peppers, and more. It is a great place for those times when you and a friend want something warm after wandering up and down Yan’an Road shopping all day. The restaurant is tranquil and feels worlds away from the busy shopping environs you’ve just come from. We suggest doing lunch here as it can get rather busy during dinnertime. They have delicious fresh meat balls (丸子), rice cake with cheese in the middle (年糕,里面有芝士), and their beef is extremely fresh. They won most popular Hot Pot restaurant in 2013, so you know this place knows what it’s doing! Try it, you won’t be sorry!

CQ703, 7/F, Block C, Hangzhou Mansion, 230 North Huancheng Road 环城北路230号杭州大夏购物城C座裙楼7楼CQ703号(近武林广场), Tel: 85177277, 88151807
401, Zone A, Hubin InTime Mall, 258 Yan’an Road 延安路258号湖滨银泰2期A区401室, Tel: 85870555
521, 5/F, Mixc Mall, 701 Fuchun Road 富春路701号万象城5楼521号, Tel: 89705688

8. Happy House Shabu Shabu 福捞坊海鲜肥牛火锅城 (Mixed Style, 10am - 12am)
A Hot Pot restaurant can be impressive depending on the broth, the food, or the sauce bar. Happy House, on the northwest corner of Tianmushan and Baochu Roads, manages to impress with their quality and presentation as well as with their collection of condiments; their broth isn’t half bad either! This is Japanese Style Hot Pot, so if you have never tasted Shabu Shabu before, you should for sure give it a try. There are pictures on the menu, but no English, and the Hot Pots come in individual portions. We started out by ordering four different broths: Sichuan Spicy (捞坊绿色锅) 15RMB, Traditional Spicy (捞坊香辣锅) 12RMB, Tomato (西式番茄锅) 15RMB, and Plain (顶级清汤) 10RMB.  Traditional Spicy was the resounding favorite. It was full of flavor and wasn’t intensely spicy. Want a feast for the eyes? Order some of the non-Hot Pot dishes. The Thin Sliced Mandarin Fish (鲑鱼姿造) 88/149RMB was beautifully presented on a bed of shaved ice with liquid nitrogen steam pouring out of fresh bamboo cuttings. Even a simple dish like Bean Sprouts (豆芽) 6RMB was arranged as a flower blooming out of the bowl, and The Four Color Dumplings (四色水饺) 28RMB were as delicious as they were colorful.

2 North Baochu Road 保俶北路2号, Tel: 28821118

9. Nasubi 纳思比日本料理 (Mixed Style, 11am - 1:30pm, 5:30pm - 10:30pm)
Nasubi is the most authentic Sukiyaki Style Hot Pot in Hangzhou. Originating in Shizouka, with over ten restaurants and counting, this place is top-of-the-line Japanese Hot Pot. The interior is pure elegance and was designed by Junichiro Sato. This place is perhaps the most expensive on our top ten, but trust us it is worth every yuan. A meal here will be at least 250RMB/person, and if you are feeling extravagant, you can try a Japanese Hairy Crab that is 1,000RMB! The saki is smooth and a beautiful companion to the exquisite Sukiyaki. An English menu is available, and you would be a fool not to try their Chowder Stew or any of their fresh fish flown in weekly from Japan. This tatami-lined restaurant is as close to a Japanese dining experience as you can get without buying a plane ticket!

4/F, Zhejiang Narada Grand Hotel, 122 Shuguang Road 曙光路122号浙江世贸君澜大饭店4楼, Tel: 87969826

10.  Hot Boss 韩国正宗炒年糕 or Zhu En Guan 主恩馆 (Korean Style, 11am – 9:30pm)
Located on Yile Road, just north of West Wen’er Road, Hot Boss has the Korean version of Hot Pot called tteokbokki, or fried sticky rice cakes with cabbage, fishcakes and ramen noodles. The menu is only in Chinese and Korean, but the pictures make it feasible to order without English. Koreans go crazy for this warm street food (which is probably pretty popular right about now in chilly South Korea). A single portion of the hot bubbling stew will only set you back 38RMB, with choices of cheese, BBQ pork, vegetable, curry, and of course kimchee. A gas burner is brought to your table so that you can watch your bubbling concoction cook. Slurp up the noodles along with a cold Korean beer and order a side of Korean fried chicken. The Korean version of Hot Pot is a little different as it is far more of a soup than its Chinese cousin, but this is still a tasty dish to get you through these winter months that are here to stay in Hangzhou.

Hot Boss: 71 Yile Road 益乐路71号, Tel: 86585120
Zhu En Guan: 353 Gudun Road (junction of Jindan Road)  古墩路353号丹枫新村, Tel: 88980021

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The Expat Show is Coming Back Very Soon!

For the 12th consecutive year, the Expat Show Shanghai is back for the delight of families. 
Expatriates or locals, the Expat Show Shanghai will meet all your daily needs.

Shanghai is a cosmopolitan city, the whole world is represented here. However, creating your network, meeting new people, or simply keeping up to date with new businesses (services and products) can sometimes be complicated by the vastness of this city.

That's why the three days Expat Show brings together in one place everything you need. Thus, foodies will find their happiness within the "Food & Beverage Area" created in partnership with Sherpa's ; various tastings organised will fulfil wine, beer, and cocktail lovers dreams; families will not be left behind with stands dedicated to tourism, education, health but also to investment and finance.

Activities for young and adult visitors will be organized inside a dedicated space, and a relaxation area awaits all visitors for moments of exchange over a drink or a coffee. 

The members of the associations (non-profit, charities, Chambers of Commerce...) will also be there to present their activities and why not, soon, count you among their members.

GET TOGETHER COCKTAIL

This year, a big new feature!

The Expat Show is pleased to invite you to its "Get Together Cocktail".

In the Shanghai Exhibition Center, you are expected on Saturday, September 21st, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the Relaxing Area.

Wine, spirits and cocktails tasting with appetizers provided by our sponsors, will be an opportunity to share a pleasant moment.

Participation is free of charge and our generous sponsors have prepared many gifts for you. Come and try your luck! Games, trips, gifts are to be won!

SEE YOU ON SEPTEMBER 20TH AT 10AM!

On this Harvest Moon: The Mid-Autumn Festival

This year the Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, falls on September 13th. This is the 2nd most important festival in China, after the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival blow out extravaganza. The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival that coincides with the autumnal equinox and marks the end of the summer harvest season, and its date varies from year to year because the Chinese can’t seem to let go of the Lunar Calendar. Of course, they’ve seen silverware too, but Jerry Seinfeld already did that bit.

Like everything else here, the history of the Mid-Autumn Festival dates all the way back, 3,000 years, to the Shang Dynasty, when the powerful sorcerer Lo Pan broke the curse of immortality by marrying a girl with green eyes…no, wait, that was the plot to Big Trouble in Little China. Here’s the real one, according to legend (or, Wikipedia, if you want to be a jerk about it):

“Chang'e and her husband Houyi were immortals living in heaven. One day, the ten sons of the Jade Emperor transformed into ten suns and scorched the Earth. Having failed to order his sons to stop ruining the Earth, the Jade Emperor summoned Houyi for help. Houyi, using his legendary archery skills, shot down nine of the sons, but spared one son (who conveniently became the Sun). The Jade Emperor was obviously not pleased with Houyi's solution to save the Earth as it involved Houyi murdering nine of his sons. As punishment, the Jade Emperor banished Houyi and Chang'e to live as mere mortals on Earth.

Seeing how miserable Chang'e felt over her loss of immortality, Houyi decided to go on a long, perilous quest to find the pill of immortality so that the couple could become immortal again. At the end of his quest he met the Queen Mother of the West who agreed to give him the pill, but warned him that each person needs only half the pill to become immortal.

Houyi brought the pill home and stored it in a case. He warned Chang'e not to open the case and then left home for a while. Like every other woman in the history of the world, she didn’t listen. She opened up the case and found the pill just as Houyi was returning home. Nervous Houyi would catch her fiddling with the pill, she swallows the whole thing like a stooge and starts to float into the sky because of the overdose. Although Houyi could have used his wicked archery skills to shoot her and tether her down, he couldn’t bear to do it and Chang'e kept on floating until she landed on the moon.

Although Chang’e missed her husband dearly, she wasn’t alone. She did have company of a jade rabbit that manufactured elixirs, and that of the lumberjack Wu Gang. The lumberjack offended the gods in his attempt to achieve immortality and was therefore banished to the moon. Wu Gang was allowed to leave the moon if he could cut down a tree that grew there. The problem was that each time he chopped it down; it would instantly grow back, effectively condemning him to live on the moon for eternity. Gods are tricky that way.”

So to commemorate this story, as well as the end of the harvest season, people throughout China gather their families together to catch up while eating moon cakes (discussed in more detail later) and pomelo. They also light lanterns to adorn their homes, temples, and even the sky. This last kind of lantern, called a, “sky lantern,” is really quite cool. They’re basically an ornate box kite that’s lit with a candle, but when they’re launched, after night fall, they make for a beautiful, candlelit sky. Add to this luminescence that of the full round moon and you’ve got yourself the makings of one festive evening. It’s also the perfect occasion to pull out your old Neil Young albums (namely Harvest and Harvest Moon) and rock out.

Alternate Uses for Moon Cakes:

Let’s face it; the moon cake is the fruitcake of China. No one actually wants them (other than for re-gifting purposes). They’re just the gift you give people to let them know how little you care for them. For the person on the receiving end, it’s really a slap in the face. The giver of said crap cakes gets to slide by on the kindness of the gesture, while you’ve got to work up a smile, and pretend to appreciate what is in essence, an empty, backhanded act of passive aggression. Giving someone moon cakes is the same as saying, “I’ve nothing but contempt for you, but I do plan on knocking you up for a favor in the next couple weeks, so try not to choke.” But all’s not lost because moon cakes can serve many other functions besides pissing all over the definition of cake. So as those decorative boxes of banality from all your condescending know-nothing colleagues at work pile up in your home, don’t think about how drunk you’re going to have to get to choke them all down. Get creative. Think like Martha Stewart, or just keep reading and use some of the ideas we’ve come up with. It’s a good thing.

Stabilize that wobbly chair or coffee table

One of the nice things about a cake that’s got the density of a brake pad is that it can endure a sizeable amount of force without breaking apart. That makes it one of the best materials to use to support that bothersome short leg on your table, chair, or bar stool. It also won’t scuff up your hardwood floors.

Serves as a fantastic replacement puck for ice or street hockey

Thanks to the moon cakes stout, cylindrical design, (It’s called, yeast, you a-holes! It’s what makes baked goods fluffy and delicious. Stop living in the past.), it has, not only the same shape as a standard ice hockey puck, but also, almost, the exact same dimensions. So here’s what you do. Take a box of these abominations and throw them in the freezer for a couple hours while you gather the gang for a good old fashion game of street hockey, or take them down to the skating rink at the MixC Mall and have at it.

Give to the needy

This is just to prove our point that these shit snacks are universally reviled. Go up to a homeless person asking for money and give them a box of these bastards instead, and see if you don’t get pegged in the back of the head with one as gratitude for your selfless gesture.

Protect yourself from stray dogs

It’s late and you’re stumbling out of the bar after a few too many with your buddies. Your senses are impaired, as is your sense of direction. You find yourself alone, walking down a dark street when you spot a mongrel dog that has shown an interest in you. You’re too drunk to outrun it, and it’s the only thing between you and your warm bed. What do you do? You pull out the moon cakes that some jackanapes forced on you and you force them right into the dog’s mouth. Like peanut butter on their nose, this should keep it occupied for at least 10 minutes, giving you plenty of time to make a staggering escape.

Whip at motorists who don't obey the traffic laws

How many times have you been on your bike, or in a taxi, and you’ve almost been killed by some motorist who thinks the rules don’t apply to them? If you’ve been here a week it’s happened at least once. Don’t lie to us. Of course, you want to throw something at them, but all you have handy is your cell phone and/or wallet and, obviously, you can’t throw those. Moon cakes combine the heft of a billiard ball with the softness of a dessert you’d still pass on in a hostage situation. You make your point, no damage to the target’s car, but the message was received. Everyone wins.

Earmuffs in the winter

Get creative this winter and be the first one on your block to chase away the chills with some homemade, moon cake earmuffs. All you need is a needle, some decorative, elastic yarn, 2 moon cakes (one for each ear) and a microwave. Cut 5 lengths of yarn at a measure of one and half times the circumference of your head. Work the yarn through the moon cakes laterally (through the sides). Adjust the position of the cakes so that each one rests comfortably over each ear, with your lengths of yarn going around your head like a sweat band. When you’ve got them positioned how you like them, tie the ends of your yarn together to ensure a snug fit around your cabeza. When you’re ready to hit the town, throw your stylish new earmuffs in the microwave for 30 seconds and prepare to laugh derisively at Old Man Winter.

Haze the new guy

Like snake wine and unicycles, moon cakes serve no purpose. They do, however, work well for gags, especially when the new guy in your office starts getting a little too big for his britches. Knock him down a peg, and remind him of his place by challenging his manhood with a moon cake eating contest. Basically, you just tell him that it’s a rite of passage we’ve all gone through and if he can’t eat 10 moon cakes in 10 minutes, no one will respect him. Whether or not he finishes them is beside the point. The point is, no one else is going to eat these things and they’re starting to take up space.

And there you have it. Seven great ways to get rid of your moon cakes, when re-gifting is simply not an option, but by no means, are these the only ways. Get creative and think up some yourself. You like building models? Build yourself a 1/10 scale trebuchet and see how far you can wing them. Or give them to kids. They’ll put anything in their mouths. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, everybody!

2019 Qiantang River Tidal Bore and Surfing Competition

Qiantang River tidal bore is one the largest tidal bores in the world which reaches the most spectacular on the eighteenth day of the eight month on Chinese lunar calendar. To watch the 9-meter tidal waves, you can choose the best locations in Haining city, about 50 kilometers from Hangzhou.

2019 Qiantang River International Surfing Competition will be held from Sept.11th to 16th, during which the Qiantang River tides are surging frighteningly high in the year.

Opening ceremony (about 40 minutes)

Time: 3:30pm - 4:10pm, September 12th
Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)

Qiantang River International Surfing Competition (4 days)

Time: September 13th - 16th (13th-15th: preliminaries, 16th: finals and closing ceremony).
Venue: Qianjiang No.9 Bridge to No.1 Bridge (Qiantang River Bridge) 钱江九桥至钱江一桥(钱塘江大桥)

Closing Ceremony Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)

Teams: 9 teams (China, Australia, Spain, South Africa, Brazil, California, France, Indonesia and Puerto Rico)
Prize: 200,000RMB

Surfing Carnival (5 days)

Time: 10:30am - 4:30pm, September 12th - 16th
Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)

What to expect: There will be four surf theme carnival activities: water rafting, surfing pool, surfing culture exhibition, surfing board teaching, as well as magical spider wall, frisbee, bowling and many other activities.

Qiantang Music Festival (1 day)

Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm, Saturday, September 14th
Location: Garden Lawn at Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园大草坪 (江干区5号港路)

The referee of Qiantang River International Surfing Competition, Peter Towndend is the first World Surfing Champion and the former coach of China National Surfing Team.

Nine teams from home and abroad will surf on the so-called “Silver Tides” from Sept. 13th to 16th. World top surfers, Dean Morrison, Eneko Acero, Kyle McGeary and Made Garut Widiarta will participate in the event.

Dean Morrison, who is the champion of Australia and European Division of World Men's Shortboard Surfing Championship Tour. He is one of the most celebrated Australian surfers of the modern era, finishing a career best ninth in 2007. In the water Dean is a pocket dynamo, known for his compact, fluid style and sublime cutback. On land his humility and good nature ensure he is the kind of pro surfer who is approachable for people from all walks of life.

Eneko Acero, one of the most important and influential surfers of Spain and Europe. At that time it was just him on a worldwide tour with surfers from all over the place but his hometown/country. Still today, Eneko is surfing in a daily basis, manages a team of an international brand and of course proudly holds the surname Acero, a surfing family you might heard of from him, his older brother Iker Acero or the charismatic Kepa Acero.

Kyle McGeary, Team (NSSA) champion surfer, he is an underground local surfer from Huntington Beach, California. "Never heard of Kyle? Then you probably don't surf the pier, because if you did, you'd see him hucking big rotators everyday."

Made Garut Widiarta, born and raised in Kuta he started surfing at the age of 9 at his home break Half Ways, Garut is one of the most recognizable Indonesian surfers in the world and he has received more high profile attention in the media than any Indonesian surfer since Rizal Tanjung. Is name is I Made Widiarta a.k.a Garut.

The top local surfers will also participate on behalf of Chinese National Surfing Team. Surfing in the Qiantang River has only been allowed since 2008. During the competition, surfers will follow the tidal bore in motorboats and jet skis, and then take turns riding the waves.

Surfing will be included in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. The inclusion has given a boost to the sport in China, where it remains relatively new.

Hangzhou government hopes the competition can further promote the sport among citizens, especially the youth.

The competition will be broadcast nationwide by China Central Television.

HIS Welcome Back BBQ Party, A Great Event For The HIS Community!

On Saturday, September 7th, 2019, Hangzhou International School held their Annual Welcome Back Barbecue and once again gathered the HIS community, parents, students and teachers, they had an opportunity to welcome the new families and to catch up with the old friends while enjoying themselves, the tasty food, and the activities provided.

MORE’s editor Loren was fortunately enough to be invited, while it was initially a little foreign to him—not having kids going to the school, not being a Binjiang-er—his years of being in Hangzhou felt like they finally paid off, and he bumped into a good cross-section of international folk he has known for a while now.

The food was predictably excellent, with burgers from returning favorite Slim’s one of the queues we had to try, but also present was the Indian faire from Pita’s and Tika’s and pizza from Angelo’s.

The kids had a great time too, with musical and dance performances, face painting and candy.

We had a great time talking to some new and returning teachers, eager to get the new school year fully underway, and had a great time talking about the crafts of teaching and parenting, as well as the sense of community that HIS brings to its families and faculty who come together from more than 50 nations to make events like this fun and engaging. We are looking forward to continue having a great school year!

Hello, Hangzhou! Epermarket is Now Delivering 7x a Week!

Looking for fresh and imported products from a source you can trust? Why not take advantage of Epermarket’s new and improved delivery service (now upgraded from 3 days to 7 days a week)? When ordering online, you can pick all the high-quality items you love and have them delivered to your door at on a day that suits you!

If you’re not available at a specific time of the day when your order arrives, you can always select, “Leave my Order at the Door” option, so you can feel safe in the knowledge that your fresh and frozen items will be carefully stored for you in cooler and carton boxes upon your arrival.

Ordering online at Epermarket couldn’t be easier—they have a wide range of hard-to-find products to choose from. Did we mention they have over 5000 imported products as well? And all their fresh groceries are packed on the day they are delivered, so you can be assured of the best quality hand-picked items.

What else is new at Epermarket?

Their Wine Fair promotion! This exclusive wine sale is coming up and will include classic beverages from some of the finest wine regions in the world. From Chablis to Prosecco and Rosé, you can find over 100 wines to dive into and enjoy in the comfort of your home. These wines will be on sale from up to 40% off, starting from September 10th, so keep your eyes peeled for more at www.epermarket.com.

New to Epermarket? Simply scan the QR code to register and get 50RMB off your first order! 

Offer is valid until Friday, the 13th September.

Find out more about other promotions when you visit their website Epermarket.com!

The idea behind Epermarket has always been simple: a place for internationals to buy the food they love, from a source they can trust. They place quality and safety first, with all products curated by professionals, all passionate about food and living a healthy life. Whether you are looking for fresh fruit and organic vegetables, pantry favorites or even home care products, Epermarket has everything you need.

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