As China’s economy has exploded in recent decades, hot pot too has boomed. - AFP
Chongqing is seeking national recognition for its very popular spicy Szechuan dish.
Thousands of vats of hot pot seasoning thicken the air around Nie Ganru’s home with a miasma of chilli as flame-red paste, thick with oil, bakes in the sun.
Nie lives and effectively breathes hot pot, the spicy cook-it-yourself communal Chinese meal that made his fortune, and has built a pot-shaped six-storey museum dedicated to the dish.
Now his home town, the megalopolis of Chongqing, is seeking national and ultimately global recognition for the food.
“It’s numbing, it’s hot, it’s very flavourful, it has an aroma that hits you in the face, and that’s why everybody likes it,” says the 70-year-old tycoon, who eats it about every other day.