As a chef, we’re confident that you can cook a tasty hotpot. But how familiar are you with the history of the hotpot? This Chinese favourite has a much more interesting past than most people know about! Get to know some of these fun facts and impress your diners with your knowledge.


The Hotpot That Goes Places

By the 19th century, the hotpot had become the common communal dish we know today, with a multitude of flavours and ingredients representing regional cultures. Here are the more popular ones that everyone should know.

The Beijing or Northern-style hotpot
Character: Simple, fresh and lightly flavoured
Broth: Boiled from bones with scallions, goji berries, and ginger
Popular ingredients: Lamb, leafy vegetables, tofu, mushrooms, glass noodles
Dipping sauce: Sesame or peanut-based

Chongqing-style or “mala” hotpot
Character: Mouth-numbingly spicy
Broth: Sichuan peppercorns, fresh chilli, meat stock, premium butter
Popular ingredients: Beef, lamb, cow stomach, tofu, green vegetables, sprouts, noodles
Dipping sauce: Sesame oil with mashed garlic and chopped scallion

Jiangsu-Zhejiang style flower hotpot
Character: Uniquely sweet and fragrant
Broth: Chicken stock and chrysanthemums
Popular ingredients: Vegetables, sliced meat or fish
Dipping sauce: Various

Yunnan-style hotpot
Character: Fragrant, spicy and mainly eaten with fresh vegetables
Broth: Vegetable stock and mushrooms
Popular ingredients: Fresh vegetables, mushrooms, fungus, chrysanthemum, sliced ham, pork, chicken, fish
Dipping sauce: Chilli powder and sesame oil

Guangdong-style hotpot
Character: Creative and varied
Broth: Various—including Chaoshan beef-style, seafood, chicken and congee
Popular ingredients: Various—seafood, meat, vegetables, tofu and even fried dough sticks
Dipping sauce: Various

Taiwanese hotpot
Character: Fusion of Chinese, Western and Japanese flavours
Broth: Chicken stock or bone broth
Popular ingredients: Vegetables, fish and beef balls, thinly-sliced meat in shabu shabu style, noodles
Dipping sauce: Peanut, sesame and shacha

Looking for inspired ways to innovate the hotpot from its traditional roots? Check out these recipes for local, fusion and Japanese hotpot inspirations, as well as ideas for dipping sauces.