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In the last week of Term 3, both Year 11 IB and Year 10 Chinese classes travelled to Adelaide’s Chinatown for the annual, and highly anticipated, Hotpot (火锅) excursion. Arriving at the ‘Go-In Hotpot’ restaurant, students were given the unique opportunity of experiencing first-hand this traditional Chinese cooking method. As the name suggests, Hotpot is a simmering pot of flavoured soup broth in which you place a variety of raw ingredients, including meat, vegetables, tofu or seafood.

A manner similar to the western fondue method, these ingredients need only be inserted in the soup for a few seconds to a minute before they are cooked and ready to be eaten (with chopsticks of course). We enjoyed all aspects of the Hotpot process, but a highlight was choosing the soup bases, with many students optimistic about their spice tolerance-level. This did result in a few burning tongues and tears.

The ingredients students were provided for the Hotpot were a similarly challenging experience for some. Cow stomach, duck intestines and duck blood are just a few of the exotic items boys were exposed to, though almost every student chose to fully immerse themselves in the experience and give these foods a try. After our Hotpot lunch, Year 10 students also tried 生煎包 (one kind of pan-fried soup dumplings), while Year 11 students were sent off to complete an activity highlighting the cultural diversity of Chinatown and the surrounding streets.

Travelling through the various stores and restaurants, we had to find and photograph real-life examples of writing in different Asian languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese. We began to understand from the activity the numerous similarities and differences between these neighbouring countries, particularly how elements of the Chinese language are transferred and recognisable in other cultures.

Later that week, students were also given the opportunity to try traditional mooncakes, tea and other snacks in a Chinese class party to conclude the term. Ultimately, the excursion and experience encouraged boys to find, interpret and exercise their Chinese language skills, taste delicious and traditional dishes, and broaden their understanding of the Chinese culture in a real-life context.

Eton Williams (Year 11)