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Food Culture-Sichuan Hotpot. Sichuan Hotpot is a participatory dining. Once the broth starts boiling, it is really a free-for-all.

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Sichuan Hotpot, Life's Hot Spot Having been away from China for nearly 5 months, am I homesick? Having been fed on beef burgers, French fries, chicken wings and pizzas for the whole semester, am I missing a certain kind of food in China? What makes my mouth water now and then? What delicate flavor haunts me day and night? The memory mixed with a spicy, pungent and aromatic smell is welling up several times from my innermost heart, which gives the sole answer-Sichuan Hotpot. I was born and have lived in Chengdu, Sichuan, which is the one of the most prosperous and thriving cities in the western part of China. Sichuan cuisine is known internationally. Sichuan (commonly spelled "Szechuan" in the U.S.), also known as the "heavenly country", is a province abundant in natural resources. From ancient writing, it is said people of Sichuan uphold good flavor and are fond of hot and spicy taste (Fu 9). Chengdu abounds in red chili pepper, so chili pepper oil gives a distinct flavor to many Sichuan dishes, and garlic, ginger and spices feature prominently in Sichuan cuisine (Marshall 126). However, when talking about Sichuan cuisine, many locals naturally associate it with one type of food, which represents Chengdu and Sichuan most-that is Sichuan Hotpot. As mentioned, Chengdu is known as "heavenly country", because of Chengdu's mellow climate and plentiful produce that makes life easier and happier here than other parts of China (Yee 19). ...read more.


It is a leisurely way to dine with family members, old friends or a great icebreaker for new acquaintances (Yee 85). I would rather call it a Sichuan fondue party than a tasteful single meal. This is a surefire dinner that will win the praise from even your most critical guests (Yee 84). Sichuan Hotpot, more or less, is a kind of Chinese-style fondue. The hotpot itself is a saucepan that sits on a portable burner, surrounded by several plates piled high up with fresh raw ingredients (Conrad, "The Chinese Hotpot"). First, you need to select the cooking broth. Usually, there are two kinds to choose from: a mild chicken broth with green onions and tomatoes, and spicy "mala" (numbingly spicy) style, which is made with a laundry list of spices. The second step is to order an assortment of meat and vegetables, which need to be dropped into the boiling broth to cook. Last, you need to dip your cooked ingredients into a small bowl of dipping sauce, which is a delicious mixture of seasoned sesame oil and chopped garlic. For protein, tender beef strip is strongly recommended. Since it is cut sliced thinly, it cooks quickly in the bubbling broth, rarely taking about 30 seconds for a few swishes as its color changes. Don't overcook if you want its delicate texture. ...read more.


My mom said, when in her teens, Sichuan people began making Sichuan Hotpot. Even if the ingredients were in short and protein was a luxury, having a homemade hotpot with family and friends made a dull night bustling with excitement, or even filled a poor life deficient in everything but sharing with new hope and expectation (Shi). In Chinese food culture, having food is a daily enjoyment and it should be the good cheer of eating together (Liu 32). The idea of having families and friends enjoy great food at the table is full of warmth and creates a harmonious atmosphere. Sichuan Hotpot captures the essence of the real dining culture in China. In addition, Sichuan Hotpot is a participatory dining. Once the broth starts boiling, it is really a free-for-all. When having a Sichuan hotpot there is no difference between the rich and the poor, the young and the old-every one is equal and every one is a participant. Sichuan hot belongs to the populace since every one can afford it and deserve the enjoyment of it. Sichuan hotpot provides a happy reunion for you, for me, for every body who appreciates the spirit of sharing-perhaps, this is the real marrow of Sichuan Hotpot. Hot and spicy flavors of Sichuan hot pot will provide you with the most delicious physical sensation that will begin in the belly and radiate outwards, soothing away tension and relaxing mind and soul. Most importantly, don't forget to share it with your loved ones-family and friends. ...read more.

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