While on the subject of food, let’s talk about hotpot. Hotpot is often eaten at home in winter because it’s fresh, extremely convenient, and hot. At home it’s a hotplate with a dish of soup on top. Go buy what you want to boil, make your dipping sauce (rely heavily on garlic) - start cooking. Fantastic communal meal. Meat, sea food, veg, it all goes in and you watch it boil and pick out what you want. Officially hotpot is a northern/central thing, but it’s popular here in the way Chinese, Indian or Thai is in England. Well, China is bigger than Europe.
So, a big meal out with a lot of friends or sometimes for a date, although this is a far better event with lots of people, can go to hotpot. Actually hotpot is most like Indian. After a big night out, people will go and eat hotpot, they’re about the only restaurants open all night. The equivalent of a kebab is bbq (烧烤), found on the street anywhere. Anyway, hotpot. Yes I already explained the basics except in the Sichuan restaurants - I think Hunan and Northern restaurants (yes, it’s all different food) also have them - you get spicy soup, oh my word yes it’s spicy. Luckily yingyang dishes can be provided which means you get half spicy half not, or you can have majority one. It’s all very clever. But the spicy stuff is fantastic. I really love hotpot.
There are lots of hotpot (火锅) and spicy (northern/Sichaun四川菜) restaurants in Shantou. The ones I know how to give directions to… There’s one round the corner from the Meritus (君华大酒店), that’s good. There’s another further down the same road. There’s one opposite Jinsha Dong bus station (金沙东站) on Jinsha Road (金沙路), but I don’t think it’s that great. Usually they are easy to spot because they have wooden fronts and are plastered in red decoration.