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