Shanghai Steam Boat in the Winter Cold

I cant deny it wasn't so cold that my hands hurt but a welcoming hot pot in the cold of Shanghai seemed like a good idea to at least be inside for an hour or two.
Walk down a back street in the Muslim area of shanghai in particular and you smell charcoal burning, steam rising from twenty or more steam boats set up the road side ready to go for hungry and cold diners about to start arriving.
A simple but such effective idea, stock or even just water is heated and then ingredients added to be cooked in the simmering liquid. Each addition adds flavour and more depth to the stock that is getting richer with each swish of finely sliced beef (not a piggy insight obviously) tofu and vegetables. I don't mean to sound mean to beef at all but I prefer a sliver of pork myself-gives that stock a better flavour.
On a cold day there is such magic in watching this all unfold about as a ritual to be enjoyed of this town.
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