Hotpot hotspot: the chilli-infused dish that fires up Chongqing, China

There are more than 50,000 hotpot restaurants in the megacity doling out the fiery, tongue-numbing broth, though luckily they all sell cold beer too

“Hotpot is an institution. It’s about the atmosphere, not just the food,” says Jordan Porter of Chengdu Food Tours.

The spiritual home of Sichuan mala (numblingly spicy) hotpot is Chongqing in south-west China – with 37 million people in its urban area it one of the world’s largest cities. The dish migrated south from Mongolia hundreds of years ago, and is now synonymous with this megacity. As Chongqing develops upwards and outwards, love of hotpot is about the only thing that has stood still.

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