CHONGQING hotpot, a century-old Chinese dish named after its birthplace - the Southwest China city of Chongqing - has become a potential rival to global fast-food giants like McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and US-based Dicos.
Invented by local boatmen and dockers in the late 19th century and early 20th century, the dish is made from cheap meat, hot peppers and ginger.
Such a meal, after being boiled in a big pot, is said to be able to effectively dispel coldness, dampness and tiredness.
Xu Zhongmin, vice-mayor of the hilly municipality, said the city alone boasted more than 1,000 hotpot restaurants, mainly in the form of chain restaurants.
Chongqing hotpot has spread to 23 provinces and municipalities in China and other parts of the world, including the United States.
The trend has caught the attention of global fast-food giants which claim they have never encountered a competent indigenous Chinese restaurant chain.
“Hotpot may be an exception,” said Huang Yuejin, a senior manager with the Dicos Food Development Company Ltd (Chongqing).
According to Huang, a common problem for Chinese restaurants seeking to adopt fast-food methods is that the flavours of their dishes rely too much on the cooking skills of individual chefs.
To eliminate this problem, Chongqing hotpot restaurants learned from the western chains to standardise their raw materials, condiments and menus.
Chou Yi, secretary-general of the Chongqing Hotpot Association, predicted that with more and more people trying this dish, the name “hotpot” will become synonymous not just with the city but also with the country. – China Daily
Did you find this article insightful?