Would You Like a Free Manicure With Your Hot Pot?

Illustration for article titled Would You Like a Free Manicure With Your Hot Pot?

I might be the only person I know who sort of doesn't like going out to eat. I like eating and I like it when other people prepare food for me and I don't have to do anything — but waiting for food makes me antsy. Ditto uncomfortable chairs or tables that are the wrong height. And then at the end of the night you have to wait for the check and then wait for your change or the receipt and it just is like, god I want to be home right now where the only thing to do is put the dishes in the sink and then lie on the couch which is like 20 feet away, if even.


So the news that the popular Chinese hot pot chain Hai Di Lao — which is known for offering a smorgasbord of activity before, during and after your meal — is expanding to America is basically my worst nightmare.

Here are some of the horrifying things you can expect to experience should you choose to eat at Hai Di Lao:

1. Performances by dancing "noodle masters" of doom.

"They stretch foot-long wads of dough into at least 10 feet of slender, ribbonlike noodle by whipping the center out like a jump rope and rippling and swirling it through the air like the ribbons twirled by Olympic rhythmic gymnasts. Often, the dancer flings the dough over customers' heads as they squeal and clap, before folding it with a flourish and dropping it in the broth."

This ups the fear factor that I'll get spattered and become irreversibly deformed by hot soup during my meal by about 100 percent.

2. Private cyber sex while you eat.

"...a private 'cyber' dining room [is] outfitted with two giant flat screens, a sort of large-scale Skype-while-you-slurp concept initially rolled out last year to allow businessmen to replace long plane rides between Beijing and Shanghai with virtual dinner meetings."

Sure, virtual "dinner" meetings. I get what you're saying there. I have a hard enough time eating, let alone trying to look good slurping soup while I'm doing so.

3. A variety of things you will probably take home with you and clutter your already full house.

"The staff doles out a steady stream of hot towels and other niceties: hair elastics to longhaired customers (to prevent hair from falling in food), eyeglass wipes to the bespectacled (all that steam can fog one's vision) and plastic bags to phone-toting eaters to protect mobiles from getting messy...In the restrooms, they have access to an array of free perfumes and lotions."


What happened to the glory days when getting two fortune cookies or a stale after-dinner mint felt like you'd scored the jackpot?

4. So many activities you literally never have to leave.

- chess and other board games

- computers and web-surfing, just like at the public library

- shoeshining

- manicure and/or hand massage

5. UNLIMITED snacks.

Like cherry tomatoes and animal crackers, a classic food combo that never goes out of style.


Seriously, this place sounds like hell on earth.

Chinese Hot Pot Chain Hai Di Lao Makes Move to U.S. [WSJ]

Images via NekaPearl/SantoChino/Flickr


C.A. Pinkham

"I might be the only person I know who sort of doesn't like going out to eat."

I understand all the words in this sentence, but the way you put them together does not make any sense. I would eat out every single night were I able to afford it. It's only been very recently that "home-cooked meal" didn't mean "OH GOD KILL ME EWW" to me, and that's because my girlfriend is a very good cook. Even then, with a few notable exceptions (like taco night), I'd rather go out to eat.