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All You should Know About Hot Pot in China

Hot pot is a popular cooking style in china, especially in winter, prepared with a simmering pot of soup stock at the dining table, containing a variety of East Asian foodstuffs and ingredients. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table.

History Of Hot Pot

Traditional hot pot originated from Chongqing and Sichuan. The original time is the end of Ming Dynasty and the beginning of Qing Dynasty. At that time, the elementary ingredients are stomachs, blood vessel and ox blood. One essential condiment is chili. the climate of Chongqing and Sichuan was wet and cold. people needed chili to warm themselves. Later, one emperor of Qing Dynasty found this warm dish and popularized it to his subjects. He replaced cheap offal with meat and vegetable. During that dynasty, hot pot developed quickly. There were more types of hot pot thrived. Finally, this dish was introduced to the whole world.


Kinds of Chinese hot pot

Different kinds of hot pots can be found in Chongqing and Sichuan – typically, more modern eateries offer the sectioned bowl with differently flavored broths in each section. More traditional or older establishments serve a fragrant, mild broth in the hot pot, which is a large brass vessel heated by burning coals in a central chimney. The broth is boiled in a deep, donut-shaped bowl surrounding the chimney.

One of the most famous variations is the Chongqing hot pot (Chongching) má là (“numb and spicy”) hot pot, to which Sichuan pepper (“flower pepper”; also known as “prickly ash”) is added. It is usual to use a variety of different meats as well as sliced mutton fillet. A Chongqing hotpot is markedly different from the types eaten in other parts of China. Quite often the differences lie in the meats used, the type of soup base, and the sauces and condiments used to flavor the meat. The typical dipping sauce contains sesame oil and is mixed with crushed fresh garlic and chopped spring onions.

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Má là huǒ guō could be used to distinguish from simply Hot pot in cases when people refer to the “Northern Style Hot Pot” in China. Instant-boiled mutton could be viewed as representative of this kind of food, which does not focus on the soup base.

Sichuan also has a number of dry hot pots such as “Malaxiangguo” which are similar to those described above, but lack the soup base. Otherwise, similar ingredients are used and the dish served in a similar manner.

In neighboring Yunnan, although spicy broths are equally popular, there is another predominant type of hot pot that is made with various wild or planted mushrooms. The big difference between the mushroom hot pot and the spicy hot pot is that the former rarely uses spice and chili in order to keep the original flavor of the mushrooms. The mushroom hot pot is also seasonal, depending on the availability of local mushrooms.

The Manchurian hot pot uses plenty of suan cai (Chinese sauerkraut) (pinyin: suān cài) to make the pot’s stew sour.

A Cantonese variation includes mixing a raw egg with the condiments to reduce the amount of “heat” absorbed by the food, thereby reducing the likelihood of a sore throat after the steamboat meal, according to Chinese herbalist theories.

In Hubei, hot pot is normally prepared with hot spice and Sichuan pepper. Items supplied to be cooked in this broth include mushrooms, thinly shaved beef or lamb, lettuce, and various other green vegetables.

In Hainan cuisine hot pot is generally served in small woks with a prepared broth containing pieces of meat. At the time of serving, the meat is not fully cooked. Approximately fifteen minutes is required before it is ready to eat. Items supplied to be cooked in this type of hot pot include mushrooms, thinly shaved beef or goat meat (referred to as mutton), lettuce, and other green vegetables. This dish varies somewhat in different parts of the province.

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How to have hot pot at home

To make a hot pot feast at home is not that hard. First, let’s go over the equipment you need, then look at the ingredients (meat, seafood, vegetables, etc.) and how to prep them for hot pot. Next, we’ll cover the different kinds of broth you can choose, as well as the sauces to serve alongside.


1.Hot Pot Equipment

you need a pot and a burner to keep things simmering at the table. pots and portable burners are various, Here we recommend electric and induction hot-pot sets because it’s easy to clean up and convenient, you can simply wipe the top surface clean with a towel after use. Also electric and induction hot-pot sets can offer a safe continuous heat for the pot.

No matter what hot pot setup you choose, look for a pot that has a separator in the middle for accommodating two broths in one pot. A single pot, about 12 inches in diameter, can serve anywhere from 2 to 6 people.

Except some basic accessories (chopsticks and bowls), also don’t forget these 2 — small strainers and small bowls for dipping sauces.


2.Hot Pot Ingredients

Basically you can cook anything in a hot pot. since you want to have a little bit of everything , Variety is a key. Beef and seafood are two of the most popular foods to cook in a hot pot, but you’ll need to balance those more filling items with light ones like greens and other vegetables. three to four non-meat items like tofu, mushrooms and daikon; two to four meat items such as liver, beef, chicken, and tripe; two to four different kinds of seafood such as fish balls, salmon, and shrimp; and some kind of noodle: rice noodles, udon noodles or yam noodles.

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Meat and seafood may be the centerpieces of a hot pot meal, but the feast isn’t complete without vegetables. They balance out the heavier offerings and add flavor to the broth. You can add almost any vegetable to a hot pot.

For non-meat, you can choose Mushroom, Tofu, Tomato, Corn, watercress and Chinese spinach, these are good with hot pot.

For meat, you can choose beef, lamb, chicken, pork and offal(Thinly sliced fatty meat is one of the must-haves for a hot pot feast)

For sea food, shellfish like shrimp, scallops, lobster, crabs, oysters, clams, mussels, abalone, and geo duck. Fish, including halibut, salmon, monkfish, bass, and most other types of fresh fish are great in a hot pot.



Broths decide the flavor of the food you cook in. To keep it simple and not spicy you can choose chicken broth (homemade or store-bought) flavored with chunks of daikon, carrots, or corn, and a few slices of ginger. In store you can buy packages of ready-to-use hot pot broth.

Two of my favorite brands are Lee Kum Kee and Little Sheep. If you want a broth that’s mouth numbingly spicy, Little Sheep’s Mongolian hot pot broth. For something mild, I like Lee Kum Kee’s Seafood Hot Pot base, which is good for non-seafood ingredients as well.


Cold days in China, what you want to eat? Let’s get together and have the Hot pot.

Updated: April 28, 2019 — 1:48 PM

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