Hot Pot! — Why am I cooking your meal?

Have you ever been to a hot pot restaurant? Well, let me tell you how they work. At your table, you normally have a pot of simmering broth. There are a variety of different broths you can get; chicken, beef bone, milky, wine-based, all depending on where in the world you are, and what the restaurant serves. You can then order trays of thinly cut meats as well as vegetables. You then put that into the soup for a few minutes, cooking it, before pulling it out and eating.

This is quite the interactive process — much like Korean BBQ — and that’s the point! It’s almost like a large event, cooking with everyone at your table, or cooking your own food, to your heart’s content. That’s what you do in Hot Pot, by Wenley Shen.

Suddenly, though, I am the only person cooking everyone’s food! Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking food. Cooking for the few people at our table isn’t bad — just grab some food from the trays, toss it into this huge hot pot, and let it cook. Once it is done, it will change in color and start steaming. I am a tiny chef who can go into the pot and pick out the item, placing it onto the tray of my friend.

But then, more people come to the table! There are too many demands, too many hands, and no one else seems to want to cook using the hot pot. I am the only one rushing to ingredients — many of which are nearly as big as me — and tossing them into the pot. Everything seems to take the same amount of time, however, nothing burns. This gives me a bit more time to get things sorted, however, some of the people eating with me are rather impatient.

Luckily, I am making money from this job — maybe I work at a strange niche restaurant that doesn’t let people cook in their own hot pots. I move to fill an order where I need to grab shrimp — and the shrimp won’t get into my hands! Sometimes, the trays are just unreachable — and the people around me suffer.

Soon the game is over, the hot pot turns cold, and it’s time to go home. Damn, I didn’t even get to try any of the food because I was cooking for others.

You can experience the chaos that is Hot Pot for free, on

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