Hotpot (火锅/huǒ guō)

Updated: Jun 17, 2019 Print
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Chongqing hotpot is different from other types of hot pot due to its chili broth and spicy flavor. [Photo provided to]

Hotpot is one of China's favorite dishes. A pot is filled with boiling chili broth. Diners are served plates that are full of raw ingredients chopped into slices and they can put whatever they want into the pot.

Hotpot is the most famous and favorite dish in Chongqing. Local Chongqing people consider the hotpot a local specialty, which is noted for its peppery and hot taste.

Chongqing hotpot was first eaten by poor boatmen of the Yangtze River in the Chongqing area. Its popularity spread westwards to the rest of Sichuan province, and nowadays it's a popular local flavor that's available at every corner of the city and all over the country.

People gather around a small pot filled with a flavorful and nutritious soup base. The pot may be boiled by various means, such as charcoal, electricity or gas. Diners have a choice of spicy broth, pure broth or a combo of the two for the soup.

There are a great variety of hotpots, such as Yuanyang (double tastes) hotpot, four tastes hotpot, fish head hotpot, and tonic hotpot. Chongqing hotpot is characterized by its spiciness, but to suit customers with different preferences, salty, sweet or sour flavors of hotpot are available. As long as one can stand the spiciness, they are advised to try the spiciest one to ensure an authentic Chongqing experience.

Thinly sliced raw meat, fish, various soy products, and fresh vegetables are the main ingredients for this cuisine. Ingredients are boiled in the soup and eaten with dipping sauces, most often being flavored sesame pastes.

Chongqing locals love hotpot, especially when the weather is steamy. Fire dances under the pot, heavily oiled and spiced soup boils with a hazy steam, and people enjoying the meal are bathed in sweat.

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