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Fire in the belly

By Wu Ni | Shanghai Star | Updated: 2014-11-14 10:49

Fire in the belly

[Photo provided to shanghai star]


SHANGHAI: Zhou Qun, 25

"When I was young, Chongqing hotpot was rare in Shanghai because the locals were not used to the spiciness. At home, my father would cook fish broth and add mushroom and wolfberries. Typical ingredients included sliced beef, fish balls, shrimp, squid, deep-fried gluten balls, and egg dumplings. We never added beef tripe or duck intestines, which were popular in Chongqing hotpot.

"The broth is not salted because we dip the cooked ingredients into a very salty sauce, from a famous local brand called Chuan Qi.

"I fell in love with spicy hotpot after a visit to Chongqing. For me, the best part of eating hotpot is the joy and expectation of watching the delicious food cook in the pot."

BEIJING: Wu Na, 33

"My family used to live in a courtyard house inside an old hutong, and hotpot was our favorite in winter. We like the mutton hotpot, which is just mutton, cabbage, tofu and glass noodles. The soup is almost just plain water with some ginger and scallions thrown in.

"It is the dipping sauce that is the highlight and we all had our own favorites. The sauce is elaborately combined from sesame sauce, pickled flowering chives and fermented red bean curd.

"My mother’s secret recipe was to add water to the stiff sesame paste until it was of the right consistency, then drop in the flowering chives, chopped shallots and sesame oil.

"We also had roasted sesame cakes and pepper and salt crisp buns with our mutton hotpot.

"In the past we only had the hot pot in winter. Now we also enjoy pt during the ‘sauna’ days of summer because perspiring by the hot pot can dispel the damp in our bodies."

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