【Learn Chinese】Traditional Food in China: Hot Pot 火锅

Ah, glorious hotpot, a perfect winter warmer (especially if you are based in the North of China, but honestly popular throughout the whole year!)
China offers a diverse group of Hotpot’s with one of the more popular being Chongqing Hotpot, which is all about the spice (麻辣火锅). 
Differences in hotpot generally lie in the sauces and the meats. Each region or province will have their own favourites.
Hotpot is known to be fairly spicy (although this can of course be avoided), hence why Chongqing and Sichuan tend to lead the way when it comes to hotpot.
First you order the soup for your pot. If your group has different taste buds, you can split the pot into two, perhaps one on the spicy side, and one on the more milder side.
After ordering a load of meats and vegetables, you can then go and visit the ‘sauce bar’. Here you can make a small bowl of absolutely anything. Flavours include vinegar, BBQ sauce, spicy oils, finely cut herbs and meats, sesames and pastes.
There is also some fruits available (watermelon and orange namely) just in case you went too spicy and need to give your mouth some recovery.
If you are coming to China for the first time then you simply must visit Hai Di Lao Huo Guo 海底捞火锅. It’s really so much more than just a food experience, but the food is divine. Traditional food in China at it’s finest.