Hot oil, spiked
with Sichaun pepper, bubbles
in a stainless steel pot.
Dishes of thin, fatty beef slices,
cow stomach, Tofu skin, raw fish
and the small, clear balloon
of fish bladder
are all laid out on the counter
ready for frying.
Fresh cilantro, bowls of sauces
and dry spicy herbs
comliment the feast.

A hand, holding chopsticks, dips
a blood red beef sliver
into the cauldron.  The hot oil
boils and crackles
around the meat, cooking it
in less than a minute.
A quick dredge in the herbs
and the curled and browned slice
is popped into my son’s mouth.
His comment:
Only in China
can you get Hot Pot delivered,
pot and all.

My taste buds remember
the bite of Cantonese spice
on my tongue, the adventure
of exotic flavors.  Watching
the video is close to sharing
this fondue-style meal
with my son,
but the tease of it
is hard to swallow.