HOT­POT HOT SPOT

Though the best place in the coun­try to sa­vor the spe­cial­ity is Chongqing in South­west China, there is no short­age of places in Bei­jing where you can ex­pe­ri­ence the real thing. re­ports.

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE -

Hot­pot is one of China’s fa­vorite dishes. A pot is filled with boil­ing chili broth, plates are full of raw in­gre­di­ents chopped into slices, and din­ers put­ting what­ever they want into the pot.

But eat­ing a hot­pot on a hot sum­mer day? Some might call that crazy, but not in Chongqing.

“Hot­pot and ice beer, that’s my fa­vorite when the tem­per­a­ture hits 40 C,” my cousin Zhao Shishi, a Chongqing lo­cal, says.

“Eat­ing hot­pot is not about the tem­per­a­ture, but the mood.”

Hot­pot is not a one-per­son meal. And the at­mos­phere in hot­pot restau­rants is lively and bois­ter­ous.

Peo­ple chat while put­ting meat or veg­eta­bles into the pot and wait­ing for it to boil.

Though the ori­gin of hot­pot is hard to de­ter­mine, the cur­rent “hot­pot cap­i­tal” is Chongqing in South­west China.

The ti­tle was be­stowed on the mu­nic­i­pal­ity in June by the China Ho­tel As­so­ci­a­tion.

Eat­ing hot­pot is part of the city’s cul­ture, and there is even a com­edy film, Chongqing Hot­pot, which was re­leased last year.

The city has more than 20,000 hot­pot restau­rants which own 50,000 fran­chises around the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to the Chongqing Hot­pot As­so­ci­a­tion. So it is not hard to find a Chongqing-style hot­pot restau­rant in Bei­jing.

But if you want to try an au­then­tic one, Wang Gang Bo is a good place to start.

“The restau­rant’s name gangbo comes from the Chongqing di­alect which means to chat,” says Feng Li, the co-founder of the restau­rant.

“We hope our guests en­joy chat­ting with friends while they eat hot­pot.”

The restau­rant is lo­cated to the north of the Liang­maqiao em­bassy area.

For a meal for five to six peo­ple, the av­er­age cost per per­son is around 120 yuan ($18).

“We don’t ad­just our fla­vor to cater to lo­cal din­ers, if we did, we would lose our unique­ness,” says Chen Jun, the main chef at the restau­rant.

Chen has been work­ing in hot­pot restau­rants for nearly 15 years, and he came to

Con­tact the writer at xingyi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

PHO­TOS BY WANG ZHUANGFEI / CHINA DAILY

Hot­pot restau­rant Wang Gang Bo boasts an au­then­tic Chongqing-style hot­pot restau­rant fla­vor.

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