Chengdu Hot Pot
Invented by Boatmen by Yangtze River
It’s said that Hot Pot originated from Xiaomi Shoal by Yangtze River in Luzhou, Sichuan, where the boatmen usually rested. During their resting time, the boatmen boiled the beef offal and tripe in the marinade on a mud oven and then eat. This convenient cooking way not only fed their stomach but also warmed them up soon, so became more and more popular among the boatmen along the Yangtze River. Later, the interesting and convenient eating way was introduced into the restaurant and the mud oven was replaced by copper pot, which is still used by some traditional Chengdu hot pot restaurants.
Chengdu Hot Pot Flavor: Numb, Spicy, Refreshing and Aromatic
Generally, Chengdu hot pot restaurants provide multiple flavored soup bases for guests’ choices. The numb and spicy ones are the most popular, seasoned with chili, prickly ash seeds, thick broad-bean sauce, fermented soya beans, etc. Ginger slices and garlics are the necessaries to make the hot pot aromatic, as they can remove the fishy smells of ingredients and help the spicy seasonings be spicier. Sometimes a little crystal sugar would be added, to make the soup have a mild aftertaste and neutralize the extremely spicy taste. There are also a variety of hot pot soup bases of other flavors, such as the light ones, tomato-flavored, mushroom-flavored and pickled cabbage-flavored.
Various Ingredients Can be Boiled in Chengdu Hot Pot.
The ingredients for traditional Chengdu Hot Pot include tripe, beef offals, blood curds, garlic bolts, cabbages, tine peas, etc. Now more and more ingredients can be boiled, including almost all edible things, like fowls, aquatic products, seafood, animal offals, species of vegetables, dry or fresh mushrooms, tofu, and so on.
Self-Seasoned Dipping Sauces with Numerous Condiments
The dipping sauces for Chengdu hot pot are seasoned by the dinners themselves. The restaurants usually provide the most used condiments in a corner, and you need to take a small plate or bowl there and season your own dipping sauce. As for the condiments, there are everything that one may want, like chili oil, soy sauce, vinegar, salt, mashed garlics, sesame oil, seafood sauce, sesame paste, fermented bean curd, chopped chili, chopped shallots, etc. Diners can choose the condiments they prefer and blend them to make their own unique dipping sauce.
Eating Ways of Chengdu Hot Pot
Chengdu hot pot is a casually eating food that doesn’t demand some strict table manners. You may make yourselves at home to enjoy the feast of gustation. After ordering, the waiter or waitress would serve you the pot filled with the soup base and ingredients, and heat the soup. When the soup is boiling a few minutes later, you can boil your ingredients in the pot. Take the boiled food out of the soup, and dip the foods with your dipping sauce, then you can enjoy them. At last, drink a cup of tea, which is a good way to ease the grease in the stomach.
It would be best to eat hot pot with your friends or family, so as to taste more ingredients for a satisfying dinner, while it’s also more cost-effective.
How to Boil the Various Ingredients
Generally speaking, the meats should be boiled firstly, and the vegetables later. Different ingredients ask different boiling time. Something easy to be done may need 7 or 8 seconds merely, and some may need more time up to one or two minutes and even more. Here are the commonest boiling ways while eating Chengdu hot pot:
Instant Boiling: Instant boiling is clamping a pieces of ingredients with your chopsticks, making the food boiled for a few moments in the boiling stock. Duck intestines, sliced kidneys of beef, pork or mutton, animal liver slices, spinaches would be done in a second; tripes, beef slices and similar thick ingredients need more seconds to boil. Not all the ingredients could be instant boiled, as it is only suitable for food easy to be cooked.
Boiling: For the ingredients cannot cook to be done in a short time, such as hairtails, fish balls and shii-takes, you can add them into the stock to boil.
Where to Eat Chengdu Hot Pot
There are large and small hot pot restaurants in Chengdu, providing you the best eating experience with a wide variety of Chengdu Hot Pot.
Xiao Long Kan
Chinese Name: 小龙坎老火锅
Average Price per Person: CNY 82-105
Xiao Long Kan is one of the best Chengdu hot pot restaurants, having a dozen of branches in the city. It’s also a chain restaurants around China.
Chunxi Branch: 2F, Tulip Plaza, No.36, Lower East Street, Jinjiang District
Opening Hours: 11:00-03:00
Jiaotong University Branch: No.28, Xinghan Road, Jinniu District
Opening Hours: 10:00-22:00
Shuanglin Branch: No.109-8, Beiheng Road, Chenghua District
Opening Hours: 10:00-04:00
Da Long Yi
Chinese Name: 大龙燚火锅
Average Price per Person: CNY 90-100
Da Long Yi, a best known hot pot restaurant in Chengdu, with strong-flavored soup bases.
Yulin Headquarter: No.9-3, South Third Section, Second Ring Road, Wuhou District
Opening Hours: 11:00-05:00
Chunxi Branch: No.89, Dongsheng Road, Jinjiang District
Opening Hours: 11:00-02:00
Huapaifang Branch: 1F, Zhongtian Building, No.1, Jinxianqiao Road, Jinniu District
Opening Hours: 11:00-02:00
The Grand Mansion
Chinese Name: 巴蜀大宅门火锅
Average Price per Person: CNY 92-100
Opening Hours: 10:00-22:30/23:00
Beimen Bridge Branch: No.91, North Street, Qingyang District
East Qingjiang Road Branch: No.36, East Qingjiang Road, Qingyang District
Sichuan Conservatory of Music Branch: No.14-2, Laoma Road, Wuhou District
Gaoshengqiao Branch: Gaosheng Center, No.2, East Gaoshengqiao Road, Wuhou District
Xinhua Park Branch: No.75, South Xinhong Road, Chenghua District
Chuan Hsi Pa Tzu
Chinese Name: 川西坝子
Average Price per Person: CNY 97-110
Opening Hours: 11:00-22:30/03:00
Du Fu Caotang Branch: No.43, Qinghua Road, north gate of Thatched Cottage of Du Fu, Qingyang District
Jinsha Branch: No.6, Huangyuan Street, the back gate of Jinsha Site Museum, Jinniu District
Yangxi Branch: Building 2, Shengda International, No.46, Shuxi Road, Jinniu District
East Qingjiang Road Branch: 1F, Building 3, No.3, East Qingjiang Road, Qingyang District
Huayang Branch: No.21, Zhengbeixia Street, Shuangliu District
Shu Jiu Xiang
Chinese Name: 蜀九香火锅
Average Price per Person: CNY 108-140
Jiuyanqiao Branch: No.8, New South Taiping Street, Wuhou District
Opening Hours: 10:00-23:00/24:00
Dongxuan Art Branch: No.5, West Baihua Road, Qingyang District
Yulin Branch: No.11-2, Nijiaqiao Road, Wuhou District
In other China cities, Chengdu hot pot restaurants can be easily found as well. The most famous Haidilao, originated from Sichuan, houses chain shops around the country. Haidilao is sought-after for the authentic flavor, fresh ingredients and attentive service, with a considerable average price of CNY 100-150 per person.
Other Types of Hot Pot in China
Chongqing Hot Pot: It is numb and spicy, too. But it’s more traditional, and the soup bases are cooked with beef tallow instead of vegetarian oil. Chongqing would be a paradise for meat-eaters, as most of ingredients are meats with less vegetables.
Beijing Instant Boiled Mutton Hot Pot: This is the hot pot popular in Beijing, with thin mutton slices as the main ingredients. The soup is usually light, to keep the original, umami, light and tender flavors of the mutton.
Chaoshan Beef Hot Pot: As the name indicates, the main ingredients of this kind of hot pot are beef, but from different parts of the ox. Satay sauce and soybean paste are the must condiments in dipping sauce. It is an important part of Cantonese cuisine.
10 Must-Try Sichuan Dishes