Earlier, we gave an introduction to Chengdu's world famous hot pot cuisine. Perhaps, though, that introduction left you wondering what makes hot pot stand out so much among numerous other foods? The answer is in the sauce.
In every Chengdu hot pot dining experience, the sauce is the most important thing, which determines whether the meal will be delicious or not. Unlike the Chongqing's strong, hot and spicy flavor, the hot pot in Chengdu is much lighter and can be dividend into two main categories: red sauce and white sauce.
The red sauce, as you can easily tell from just one glance, is the spicy one. These broths are made of oil, spicy red chilis, Sichuan peppercorns, beans, sugar, salt, wine, and a variety of other spices. When enjoying red sauce hot pot, everything you cook in the sauce will absorb the peppery zest, so be careful on your first bite!
If you don't enjoy eating spicy food, try the white flavor hot pot instead. The white sauce more closely resembles a soup broth, often made of chicken, spices, and pork bones for flavoring, and is certainly no less delicious than the red sauce! Of course, many restaurants offer pots containing both two sauces, called a yuanyang (鸳鸯) pot, which is divided into two parts in the middle of the pot.
There are other kinds of hot pot in Chengdu, as well:
1. Butter Hot Pot: Butter was used as one of the earliest cooking broths in hot pot because of its strong smell and delicious taste. According to Chinese medicine, butter broth also helps people avoid from suffering too much inner heat. The most outstanding feature of Butter Hot Pot is that its red, buttery sauce has a strong flavor but is surprisingly not as fatty as some of the other sauces. If you want to try hot pot, this one is a good choice.
2. Fungus (or Mushroom) Hot Pot: From the name, one can see that this kind of hot pot uses wild mushrooms as its main flavoring. In addition, chicken, duck, seafood, and even turtle, may be employed to add a rich, earthy flavor to the pot. The Fungus Hot Pot is especially appreciated for its high nutritional value and low fat sauce.
3. Porridge Hot Pot: Unlike other hot pots, this sauce is made from rice and comes in a ceramic, rather than metal, pot. When enjoying this kind of hot pot, you should put the rice in first and let it boil. Once the sauce is boiling, you can add your vegetables and meats for a great combination of porridge and hot pot.
Thank you for reading, check back later for when we explore hot pot "do's and don'ts." If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.