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Sichuan Hotpot

Sichuan Hotpot is one of the hotpot syles in China. It is the most famous and favorite dish in Sichuan. Sichuan local people consider the hotpot a local specialty, which is noted for its peppery and hot taste, scalding yet fresh and tender.

Origin

Sichuan Hotpot was recorded even in the Three Capitals Rhapsodies written by Zuo Si, a writer of the Jin Dynasty, which can be a proof of its history of at least 1700 years.

Textual researches have demonstrated that the real cradle of Sichuan Hotpot was the Xiaomi Dock (a moderate dock by the Yangtze River in Sichuan then) in the "Wine City" Luzhou near the Yangtze River.

In the past, the boatmen by the Yangtze frequently lodged at the dock for night. Once they pulled in, they began to make a fire for dinner and getting warm. Their cooker was just a pot that held some water and vegetables added with flavorings such as hot pepper and pepper for dispelling damp (a saying goes like this: vegetables can serve as food while hot pepper kills cold). When the boatmen finished the "feast", they would gain spirit again. Later, the dish was spread to all piers along the Yangtze River. Some people even began to name the hotpot as "hot potted landscape", "flavor in pot" and "hot happiness".

Sichuan Hotpot

The Essence of Sichuan Hotpot

The essence of Sichuan hotpot lies in the broth, which contains oil, wine, sugar, spice and Chinese prickly ash. There are all types of hot pots - spicy, non spicy, and with all different types of theme flavors. 

Sichuan Hotpot

Styles 

There are mainly two styles of Sichuan Hotpot: a "regular" hotpot and a "theme" hotpot.

Regular

With the "regular" hotpots, you get the basic hotpot soup - either spicy, non-spicy, or a half and half pot. By "half spicy" is meant a pot divided in two, with a spicy half and a non-spicy half (yin-yang) which is ideal if two or more people are to share the pot.

Theme

With the "theme" hotpots, you get one kind of food in the pot such as frog hotpot, duck hot pot, mushroom hotpot, fish head hot pot, rabbit hot pot, eel hotpot, and so much more.

After deciding on the type of pot you want, you then order all types of foods to cook in the hotpot. You can order vegetables and meats such as beef, pork, lamb, chicken, duck, eel, rabbit, frog, fish, mushrooms, winter melon, lettuce, lotus root, tofu, rice noodles, and so much more. If you are adventurous enough, you can basically cook anything with hot pot, e.g., pig's brain and duck's kidney. With the "theme" hotpots, you must go to specialty hotpot restaurants that serve that theme. With the "theme" hotpots, you must go to specialty hotpot restaurants that serve that theme.

Sichuan Hotpot

How to Eat

People gather around a small pot boiled with charcoal, electric or gas filled with flavorful and nutritious soup base. Thin sliced raw variety meat, fish, various bean curd products and all kinds of vegetables are boiled in the soup base. You then dip them in a little bowl of special sauce. Be careful since the spicy soup base is burning hot.

Seasoning of Sichuan Hotpot

About the Sauce

Sichuan hotpot involves a sesame paste "dip" made from ground sesame seeds (paste) and sesame oil. Other dip types are sometimes available. The sesame dip is often topped with coriander. Other condiments are also usually available, including garlic, spring onion and chilli oil, to add either to the soup or dip.

A Sichuan Hotpot Restaurant