If you’ve always thought of Hot Pot as just a spicy soup, then you’ll want to keep on reading. China is one of the most culinary diverse places on the planet, and there’s no better way to explore this than through Hot Pot. 

Across China, you’ll find different regions have perfected their style of hot pot, with unique flavours, carefully crafted broths and diverse ingredients. 

From fiery Sichuan to tropical Hainan, we’ve picked out 6 of the most popular regional Hot Pot styles to dive into. Grab your chopsticks and get ready for a mouthwatering adventure. 





The most common type of Hot Pot in the Sichuan cities of Chongquing and Chengdu.

Flavour profile: Sichuan hot pot is hot, spicy and numbing. Definitely not for the fainthearted. 

Chongqing Broth: Rich butter or pure beef lard broth, with lots of Sichuan peppers and dried chillies.

Chengdu Broth: Water and Rapeseed oil broth, with fresh red chillies and plenty of Sichuan pepper. 

Popular ingredients: Cow tripe, cow throat, blood and offal are often key ingredients in Sichuan hot pots. Traditionally this meal was eaten by poor boatmen working on the Yangzte River as a cheap, warm and filling meal, but is still a firm favourite dinner today. 

Dipping sauce: Sesame paste or sesame oil is used as a dipping sauce, often to balance out the spiciness of the broth. Sometimes chives, coriander, and garlic are added to the dipping sauce as well. 



Flavour profile: Rich, umami and slightly sour.

Broth: Yunnan is known for its wild, rare and exotic mushrooms, so it’s no surprise that mushrooms are used as a staple for the broth. Sometimes chilli peppers are added for an extra bit of heat. 

Popular ingredients: Fresh vegetables, lots of different types of mushrooms and edible flowers are all common ingredients. 

Dipping sauce: Sesame oil, chilli oil and mint are used to flavour different types of dipping sauces. Often, cooked ingredients are dipped in chilli powder before they are eaten for an extra kick. 



This type of Hot pot is also referred to as Cantonese style.

Flavour profile: Fragrant, light and fishy

Broth: Some broths are water-based and contain gentle aromatics like ginger, spring onion and soy sauce. Spice is very rarely used.

The broth can be made from fish bones and shrimp heads to create a more fishy and flavourful soup base. 

Popular ingredients: Fish and Seafood are firm favourite ingredients for Guangdong -style hot pots, as they can be caught fresh from the sea and eaten that day.

Dipping sauce: Peanut oil and soy sauce



Flavour profile: Simple and light 

Broth: Often plain and water-based broth with spring onions, gingers and sometimes mushrooms.

Popular ingredients: Lamb is the star of the show in a Beijing hot pot, so it’s important that the meat is high quality. Thin slices are cooked rapidly and eaten immediately. 

Dipping sauce: A rich sesame-based sauce, similar to tahini but sweeter. Vinegar and Chinese chive paste is added to this dipping too. 



Flavour profile: Slightly nutty and tropical

Broth: Fresh coconut water is either boiled by itself or with chicken broth to make the hot pot soup base. Large slices or chunks of coconut infuse the water too.

Popular ingredients: Lean and fresh chicken is cooked in coconutty broth. For the most authentic hot pot, opt for Wen Chang chicken which is known for its thick skin and tender meat. 

Dipping sauce: A combination of chillies, lime, ginger and soy sauce. 



Popular in Jiangsu, Hangzhou and Suzhou.

Flavour profile: Slightly sweet, floral and fragrant.

Broth: Made from boiling washed Chrysanthemum flowers and chicken or beef 

Popular ingredients: There’s not a set ‘traditional’ ingredient to eat with this style of Hot Pot; so people often experiment with different flavours and ingredients. 

Dipping sauce: Again, there are no hard and fast rules on which dipping sauce works the best. This all just comes down to personal preference. 



Hot pot is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the rich and unique flavours of regional Chinese Cuisine. Whether you prefer spicy, fragrant, or tropical flavours, there is a Hot Pot style to satisfy every palate. 

We’ve only included 6 Hot Pot styles in this blog, and that doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the different flavour combinations this dish can provide. The best way to find out which broth, ingredients and sauce you like best, is to let your taste buds be the judge. 

Get together with your friends and immerse yourself in the bubbling delights of Hot Pot at our Restaurant in Bristol. Book your table at ‘’It’s Not’’ Hot Pot today!