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An introduction to Chinese hot pot

Updated: Dec 21, 2017 Global Times Print

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Chinese hot pot [Photo/IC]

What's the best way to get rid of a chill on a cold winter's day? Probably the best answer if you are in China is sitting down for a nice hot pot dinner. 

By posting 11 videos on Instagram showing himself enjoying Sichuan hot pot in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, soccer star David Beckham has helped push Chinese hot pot into the international spotlight.  

"Finally got to try the authentic Sichuan Hot Pot!" Beckham posted along with his videos showing a steaming hot pot surrounded by plates of fresh food.

Sichuan hot pot in particular has enjoyed quite a reputation around the world. 

When David Cameron, the former UK prime minister, visited China in December of 2016, he showed his enthusiasm for Sichuan hot pot by gulping down several cilantro-mixed meatballs, as well as some "two-flavored" hot pot soup.

Besides Sichuan hot pot, there are many other types of hot pot that can be found all around China. While they may be less famous, they are not any less delicious. 

According to the preferences of people in different parts of China, hot pot can be generally divided into three types: Sichuan hot pot, Northern-style hot pot and Southern-style hot pot.

Sichuan-style hot pot

As one of the most representative kind of Chinese hot pot, the classic "Numb and Spicy," or mala, hot pot actually originated in Chongqing, Southwest China. Chongqing hot pot is known for its unique flavors as it makes use of local ingredients to flavor the soup. 

As for what food to cook in this type of hot pot, fresh maodu (cow stomach) is a great match for the flavor of "Numb and Spicy" hot pot. 

To fit the flavor of maodu and other fresh meats, oil is usually added to the broth, which gives the soup a strong flavor. Although this red oil can normally be seen floating on the surface of the soup, it doesn't taste or feel greasy at all. 

One of the most traditional condiments eaten along with this type of hot pot is the well-known broad-bean sauce, which adds a fragrant scent to the soup. 

Cut into small pieces and mixed with beef tallow, the broad-bean are boiled until they turn red. Sichuan pepper, salt and some sugar is also added to the soup depending on personal taste. 

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