Welcome to step by! Welcome to Hot Pot lover Elaine’s little corner!

Hot pot or also known as Chinese fondue is always my favorite no matter in hot summer or cold winter.  In China, hot pot has a history over 1000 years and until now, it is still the most popular dish for social or family gathering. Elaine will introduce Hot pot from the following sides.

 Hot Pot |chinasichuanfood.com

A brief introduction about hot pot

Different types of hot pot in China

What are the essential parts to make hot pot at home

Lists and inspirations of Chinese hot pot

Tips for eating healthy hot pot

 A brief introduction about hot pot

As I mentioned before that hot pot has more than 1000 years of history. It firstly appeared in Mongolia area and then became popular in South part of China in  Tang Dynasty. And now it becomes quite popular in China and people from different areas spread their own types of hot pot out.

Then do you know where the hot pot city of China is now?

The hot pot city is Chongqing, a municipality under Sichuan area. And I believe that many people like spicy hot pot very much. Spicy hot pot is a quite unique type of Sichuan cuisine.

Firstly, the taste and flavor is succeeded from Sichuan cuisine including many seasonings used. However it is not the same with commonly Sichuan dishes. Anyway, hot pot is originated from Sichuan and quite popular in Sichuan area.

Different types of hot pot in China

Base on area

Chinese hot pot has it own flavor and design according to different area, which is also determined by different weather conditions. The most famous type is known as Chongqing hot pot, also known as Sichuan hot pot(to understand the relationship, refer to Chongqing and Sichuan).  It is featured by the herbs and spices used in the soup base.

 Hot Pot |chinasichuanfood.com

The next is the worldwide popular Mongolian hot pot in Northeast China Region. In north China, there is famous Beijing lamb hot pot (涮羊肉)also known as mutton hot pot.Following is a picture shows about eating lamb hot pot. For more about Beijing Hot Pot.

In south china such as Guangdong, people are more likely to have seafood hot pot and Hong Kong beef hot pot.

 Hot Pot |chinasichuanfood.com
Fish slice hot pot

In central part of china, people like to have venison stew pot. Besides, new versions of hot pot become popular across the whole china including “Three fresh pot”(三鲜火锅) in Hangzhou and “Mixed hot pot” in Shanghai province.

Following are some other hot pot pictures not included above to enjoy, please note that the pictures are not photoed by Elaine. I search them on search engine so that I can share you more information about hot pot. I will list my pictures in specific recipe post.

This is a Fish hot pot which is quite popular in Sichuan province. The fermented vegetable used in call Sichuan Pickled Vegetable (四川泡菜).

Now, dry pot is considered as a new type of hot pot in China. For dry pot, no soup base is added at the very beginning but it can be added after the meat ingredients are eat out. Generally, shrimp, ribs, chicken, fish ribs are excellent ingredients for dry pot. Additionally, dry pot can also be made only with vegetables. I will expand this in my post–dry pot.

 Hot Pot |chinasichuanfood.com
Mala Sichuan style dry pot

Additionally, Chinese hot pot is also divided into four types based on soup base and whether  ingredients are cooked or not previously.

This first type is with light soup base and mainly using method of instant-boil(涮). For this type, dipping sauce play a really important role, since dipping sauce is mostly the sauce of flavors. Instant-boiled mutton hot pot and Guangdong (Hong Kong) hot pot belong to this group.

The second type is with cooked main meat ingredients such as fish or mutton. The pot is mainly used to keep the temperature and instant boil vegetables. Meat flavor certainly matters a lot and meanwhile you can enjoy the faint scent of vegetables. Famously fish hot pot, Chicken hot pot belong to this group.

The third type is with all cooked ingredients not only the meat such as chafing dish. Pot is totally used for keeping it warm. Three mixed hot pot belongs to this group.

The last type is the emphasis on the soup base and dipping sauce at the same time. Soup base of hot pot is stock boiled for a long time. Various flavors come from directly from dipping sauce and indirectly from soup base. For example, Sichuan spicy hot pot or seafood hot pot.

 What are the essential parts to make hot pot at home 

Since hot pot is an ideal and easy meal for social gathering. Then what are the essential parts to make hot pot at home?

Firstly, the equipment!

If you want to make hot pot at home. The basic equipment is a gas powdered or electric hot pot. Then soup and slotted ladles are also required as cutlery.  For detailed list about making hot pot at home, check Equipment by Hot Pot

Then there are three essential parts for hot pot: soup bases, main ingredients and the dips.

Soup Bases –the basic soul of hot pot 

soup base for hot pot | chinasichuanfood.com

Making  hot pot soup base is quite important for a successful hot pot. You can surely purchase one package directly from supermarket or any online store or be brave to make one at home. Generally, there are three types of soup base in Chinese hot pot but any two are commonly used in Sichuan hot pot. (The third type not used in Sichuan hot pot is bland soup base, which is mainly used in Mongolian hot pot or Beijing hot pot).

If you decide to purchase the soup base for your hot pot, then that’s a time-consuming decision. How about we try to make one at home. The first step we should do is to make a clear broth, which will further added with other spices like chili pepper, doubangjiang and sichuan peppercorn etc. For details about how to make a soup base at home. Usually when I serve my family with hot pot, I prepare both spiced version and mild version at the same time.

 Hot Pot |chinasichuanfood.com

Main Ingredients –choose according to your own preference 

Basically, the main ingredients for hot pot are really wide and you can use any you want to have a try. And the most commonly used ingredients include the followings (those are my favorites):

Meat: Chicken, fish, duck, pork, beef, meat balls, seafood and crab
Vegetables: Chinese cabbages, Bean sprouts, green leafy vegetables, shallots
Bean curd product: Tofu, tofu skin, frozen tofu
Fungus: Black fungus, mushrooms, needle mushrooms

Hot Pot |chinasichuanfood.com

Dipping sauces– adjust to different tastes

There are hundreds of dipping sauces attached to Sichuan hot pot, mainly with the following seasonings and condiments.

Soy sauce, sesame oil, chili, sesame butter, pickled tofu, Sa cha sauce, vinegar, hoisin sauce, peanut butter etc.  Following is the sauces I usually prepare for a large family hot pot party, trying to be appealing to everyone.

 Hot Pot |chinasichuanfood.com

Some of the process of making dipping sauces are blending seasoning together. And there is still a way of stir-fry the dips. I will introduce later.hot pot | chinasichuanfood.com

Lists and inspirations of Chinese hot pot

  • Maodu hot pot(毛肚火锅)
  • Double flavor Pot (Yuanyang 鸳鸯hot pot)
  • Green hot pot(绿色火锅)
  • Malatang(麻辣烫)
  • Clear soup hot pot (清汤火锅)
  • Duck hot pot with beer(啤酒鸭火锅)
  • Chicken hot pot with sour soup (酸汤鸡火锅)
  • Spicy chicken hot pot(辣子鸡火锅)
  • Fish hot pot with pickled vegetable(酸菜火锅)
  • Fish hot pot in sour soup (酸汤鱼火锅)
  • Chrysanthemum Hot Pot(茶花火锅)
  • Tofu pudding hot pot(豆花火锅)
  • Beef hot pot(牛肉火锅)
  • Lamb hot pot(羊肉火锅)
  • Chinese dry pot (干锅)

     Hot Pot |chinasichuanfood.com
    Curry Rib hot pot


I have collected some of most practical hot pot recipes in my cookbook. Want to make yummy and unique hot pot at home? Get it and start today.

xuanchuan long

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  1. Dear Elaine , Last time I’ve visited Chongqing , my family took me twice to a different kind of hot pot , it wasn’t spicy , and it was made with chicken and chestnut . Ever since , I am thinking of that recipe , It might have been the best thing I ever ate . Even tried a few times to cook but did not manage to fill the gaps . Have you any idea what is the recipe ?

    1. Hi Linda,
      It might be slightly different to replicate the recipe exactly because there are indeed so many yummy Chicken hot pot at Chongqing. Do you mean Sichuan style braised Chicken? Are all the ingredients cooked already? With or without broth and dipping sauce?

  2. Hi Elaine, Great Recipes. Best ever. Do you know of any web site that sells the cooking pot with the chimney that you use in the hot pot recipes. Also what is that pot called.
    Many thanks

    1. Hi Rebecca,
      I am not sure what’s exact name. We call it old style hot pot pot, which is now still popular in many Beijing style hot pot and Yunnan style hot pot. We have them in special market selling restaurants tools and I do not know if it is available outside China.

    2. Hi Rebecca,
      It might be named as copper pot. Try to see whether you can find some. If you really need it but unable to find satisfying product, I can help to source some in China.

      1. Hi Elaine,
        Thanks for your reply. As a matter of general interest I have found that the pot is called a
        “Mongolian Chinese Hot Pot” and can be bought on :- http://www.aliexpress.com/store/209705 .
        PS> I have just tried your “Beef Chow Fun” absolutely brilliant.

        1. Thanks for the information Rebecca. I hope this will be helpful to those who need to have this equipment.

  3. Dear Elaine,
    i was just googling about hotpot and landed on your website… and now i am in love with it. the way you have expalined hotpot is really nice even for a new bird like me…we had visited HaideLao Hotpot recently and relished their tomato based soup. we are purely vegetarian and i would really appreciate if you can provide me with their recipe of tomato broth. i found it much oily so want to recreate it home. the pot came with a deep red broth, some chopped tomatoes, garlic stems… we loved corns, potatoes, lotus roots, firm tofu cubes, leafy greens n some kind of bread fingers in it. also please suggest how to prepare the dipping sauce with the ingredients available at the sauce counter..
    lots of love

    1. Hi Anjli,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving me such a caring comment. Haidelao is a good hot pot brand with excellent taste. I tasted it early in this year. You will need to stir fry peeled tomatoes with oil (you can use vegetable oil) and then add tomato paste to fry for minutes and then add water to simmer with garlic stem or scallion. The process is quite similar to make Chinese tomato egg drop soup. This soup is perfect for vegetables. I will test the details at home.

  4. Hi Elaine,

    I’ve love your blog, I’ve made a few of the recipes already. I lived in 西安 for a few months last year and feel in love with 冒菜。Is 冒菜 a kind of hot pot? Also, what is the soup base for 冒菜? I’m back in America now and I miss it a lot and would like to make it at home 😀

    Thanks for the blog and keep up the good work 🙂

    1. Hi Joe,
      I love Maocai so much when I was in Xi’an. It is called one person hot pot in China. The soup base is regular Szechuan style red oil soup base.

  5. There was a hole in the wall place in Kaohsiung, Taiwan 25+ years ago run by three old gentlemen. Old metal pans and open flame and the fish dumplings and especially the sacha were to die for. We went there all the time and every time we went back to Taiwan for a visit (usually every year), but then one year it was gone. My wife (a Taiwan native) and I have looked and looked and bought every brown paste I could find in an Asian grocery and can’t find anything close. It was a finer texture and had a little sweetness to it. It was so good. If only I could find the recipe. Can anyone help?

    1. Hi Glen,
      Do you mean the shacha sauce? I believe the best shacha sauce comes from Bull Head. Have you tested that one? I usually use Bull head shacha sauce for fish and beef hot pot.

  6. I usually don’t comment on any websites ot blogs, except yours. I love everything about China! I’ve tried to find many traditional Chinese recipes, but they’re so hard to understand. Your recipes and photos make things easier for me to follow. Thank you for such a great job!!

    I have not had any chance to go to China yet. But I’m planning to go in the future! I’ve heard a lot about the food in Hangzhou. Hope you can post some Hangzhou dishes.

    1. Hi Anh,
      Thanks for the warm comment. It really make me a day. And welcome to China. We have lots of yummy dishes here. As for Hangzhou dishes, do you mean you want to know more about Chinese “苏” cuisine? I will try to expand the content to those regional cuisines when I have enough experiences. Happy cooking!

  7. lovely. I found perfect website for getting different types of cooking recipes. Amazing hot pot. I want to try it. Thank you for sharing an innovative dish.