Traditional spicy chili oil hotpot is divided into nine sections. [PHOTO BY MAI TIAN/FOR CHINA DAILY]
Local authorities keep close eye on spicy cuisine's development
In the recent Chinese science fiction blockbuster The Wandering Earth, astronaut Liu Peiqiang tells Russian cosmonaut Makarov that he will invite him to have hotpot in Chongqing after they return to Earth. But Makarov dies before he can make the trip to China.
Although the death scene in the movie is upsetting, fans of this strongly flavored and oily local dish are delighted to see that their favorite food has become well-known－even in space.
Chongqing hotpot has become hugely popular in recent years, especially since the release of the food documentary series A Bite of China II five years ago.
It seems as though there are Chongqing hotpot restaurants in every Chinese city, even though most people in northern and coastal regions have not been big consumers of chili peppers in the past.
Many people believe the cuisine not only reflects the character of Chongqing's people but has also become a driving force of the local economy.
Hotpot cooking is believed to have spread through northern China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). By the time of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it was popular nationwide.