Copper hot pot at the Kawakarpo Tibetan restaurant
It was in a kitchen. Two Tibetan women were busy cooking. One in blue was cutting the pickled pork ribs, which were put into the boiling soup by the other in pink.
When we visited the Kawakarpo Tibetan restaurant in Deqin County, Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, the chefs of Wang Qiao and her sister-in-law were making a copper hot pot, a local special.
In Deqin County, the copper hot pot is significant for Tibetan families. It means tradition, happiness and family reunion. The hot pot is a must for family reunions during festivals.
The Kawakarpo Tibetan restaurant is jointly run by Wang Hao and her brother. In doing so, they hope to pass on their father's cooking and make the traditional Tibetan dish enjoyed by more.
To ensure the originality in taste, Wang Qiao and her sister-in-law began in late October to pickle their own pork and ribs for the whole year to come.
It is easy to cook the dish: just put into the copper pot all the processed ingredients and cook them together. "Over 10 ingredients are put in the pot, but taste of the ribs dominates the whole hot pot," said Wang.
Wang Qiao has forgotten her first tasting the copper hot pot, but she remembers the vivid scenes in her childhood, when the whole family got together for the dish.
"My dad used to cook the hot pot for us, but now we make it for the guests. In the future, I’ll teach the cooking to my child."
During the talk, the whole copper hot pot has gained steam, with ingredients rolling in the boiled soup. The pork, ribs, potatoes and yam gave off pleasant smells, but before eating, another weak charcoal fire is needed.
While waiting, the sister-in-law cleaned the stove in Tibetan tunes, while Wang Qiao made a dipping sauce. Wang does not remember how many hot pots have been done in the past 6 years. The two work happily every day.
The kitchen brings them happiness, which is passed to diners in the form of a delicious meal.
Wang Qiao said they will open a branch in Shangri-La in July. "By letting more people access the Tibetan food, I can better pass on my father's craft."
"The hot pot is ready! Let’s begin." The family sat around the copper pot, and Wang's daughter enjoyed the dish a lot: "So yummy, mom! It's your taste, I see!"
By Li Wenjun, Yao Chengcheng and Wang Shixue