You might think of hotpot as a
simple dish; Raw meat and vegetables tossed into boiling soup until cooked, then dipped in sauce and you're all set. Well, the idea
of it is actually strongly associated with traditional Chinese health theories. Let's use the typical Sichuan spicy hotpot as an example: The spiciness and temperature of the hot soup means you sweat throughout the eating experience. This doesn't sound overly appetizing, but it actually helps to cleanse your inner body by removing damp. It's particularly useful for those living in Sichuan province, a basin area with high humidity, cloud cover and lots of rain! The Sichuan hotpot soup is also boiled with lots of special seasonings and herbs, which actually provide some
medical benefit to the body too. Sichuan's who have been running their
hotpot restaurants for generations all have their own secret recipes, worth hundreds of thousands of RMB!
Unlike other parts of China where people eat dumplings during festivals and family gatherings, Sichuan people eat spicy hotpot for everything!
You won't only find spicy hotpot in Sichuan or Chonquing either, but all over the country. Even in Guangdong (where people don't like spicy food) they love hotpot! Their specialty is beef and seafood congee, which has a completely different sensory experience, and they manage to keep the freshest flavors and textures making it even more delicious.
The most famous hotpot restaurant in Shanghai usually has a wait time of 3-5 hours to get a table. Writing this has got my taste buds tingling, so i better join the queue!