While on my business trip to Shanghai, my business partners have been extremely well taken care of me. This includes assisting me obtaining some rather unusual souvenirs that I wanted to bring back, taking care of the sight seeing programme, but found it's most explicit expression in food.
While I'm extremely fond of Indian and Thai food, I never really enjoyed Chinese food too much, at least not what is sold in the western world as Chinese food. To me it's ok, but nothing spectacular. Before getting to China, food was my biggest worry. Remembering all these documentaries about seafood (which is basically the only kind of food I refuse to eat), and all the snakes, frogs and various insects that the Chinese cuisine tends to have.
Anyway, so my hosts knew about this and took me out to eat twice every day (yes, I'm probably now back to my weight of the Brazil trip in March). The food was always very interesting (as in, interesting ingredients, interesting taste, interesting structure, mode of preparation, ...) and also enjoyable. I kept asking them about spicy food, keeping in mind my preference for Indian and Thai. They promised me to have some spicy food at some point, they themselves not being into it at all.
Two days ago it finally became true. We've been to one of these "hot spot" places, where you have a boiling pot in the middle of the table. The boiling pot contains all kinds of spices, and you put raw ingredients such as tofu, meat, mushrooms into it. Pretty much like a Chinese version of the "Fondue".
However, that pot was split (2 thirds/one third), and one side would be exclusively for me. My side was ordered to be "medium spiced", and it had something like at least 12 red chili peppers in it :) I took a photograph of it in its initial state. The chilies basically disintegrated into tiny little pieces while they were boiling with the remaining food.
God, was that good. The best food I had since my last trip to India. It really was "medium spiced" in a way that there was no pain whatsoever, and it was just extremely strong-tasting, but not just spicy for the purpose of being spicy (if you know what I mean).
Since my business plans will include some more travel to Shanghai during the next couple of months, I _have_ to go back to that place, multiple times :)