Chongqing hot pot

Top 22 Local Chongqing Hot Pot Restaurants for 2023

Chongqing hot pot stands as a hallmark cultural symbol, contributing significantly to the city’s recognition both nationally and globally. The staggering statistic of over 30,000 hot pot restaurants in Chongqing underscores its unparalleled prevalence in the region, making it the city with the highest number of hot pot establishments in the country.

The love for hot pot among Chongqing residents is palpable, with hot pot restaurants seamlessly integrated into the fabric of the city. You won’t have to search far for a hot pot experience; it’s practically around every corner. For Chongqing locals, hot pot isn’t just a meal option – it’s an indispensable part of daily life. It’s safe to say that not enjoying hot pot in Chongqing is a rarity among its residents.

Hot pot transcends mere dining occasions in Chongqing; it’s a tradition embedded in various aspects of life. Whether it’s a festival, a celebratory event, or a regular dinner, hot pot takes center stage. When welcoming outsiders to Chongqing, the initiation often involves a hot pot feast as the first meal.

Interestingly, amidst the plethora of hot pot options, Chongqing residents have a soft spot for the unassuming, old establishments tucked away on the city’s streets. These inconspicuous shops, reminiscent of the original hot pot experiences from their youth, hold a special place in the hearts of Chongqing locals who cherish the authentic and nostalgic atmosphere they offer.

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✍️A History of Chongqing Hot Pot

Hot pot, a traditional Chinese dining method with deep roots in Chinese culture, has its origins in the folk traditions of the country. The inception of Chongqing hot pot traces back to the 1920s in the Jiangbei District of Chongqing. During the early 19th century, as Guizhou’s beef was transported to the Chongqing wharf, less favored parts like tripe and beef liver were often neglected. Resourceful boatmen, seeking to make use of these leftovers, began setting up pots on their boats, cooking the discarded cuts. This practice laid the foundation for the earliest rendition of Chongqing hot pot.

The evolution continued when a boatman named Ma established the first prominent Chongqing hot pot brand, Ma Ji Laozhengxing, with a restaurant on the shore. Simultaneously, the prevalence of rivers and the region’s humid climate in Chongqing played a significant role in the popularity of hot pot. The dehumidifying properties of hot pot became crucial, further contributing to its widespread development in Chongqing.

☀️How to Eat Chongqing Hot Pot

Red Soup

Chongqing hot pot is all about the art of combining flavors, and the key to a great hot pot at any restaurant is its soup base. In the case of the classic Chongqing old hot pot, the heart and soul of its soup base is beef tallow.

When it comes to Chongqing folks’ cooking, they usually go for lard – it’s smooth and delicate. Beef tallow, on the other hand, is a less common choice for home cooking due to its larger fat particles, somewhat rough texture, and its unique smell.

However, beef tallow has a unique characteristic – it has a high melting point, ranging from 40°C to 46°C, making it prone to solidifying. This unique quality gives it strong sticking power to ingredients, resulting in a rich, full-bodied flavor that naturally evolves into the perfect hot pot soup.

The traditional Chongqing hot pot red soup is created by heating a generous amount of beef tallow in a large pot over high heat. Thick-broad beans are minced and added to the sizzling tallow. As the mixture simmers down, it transforms into a vibrant red oil. Then, a blend of Sichuan peppercorns, fermented soybeans, rock sugar, ginger, salt, chilies, and a medley of spices are stir-fried together. The end result is a large pot filled with a strikingly red, fresh, and fiery soup that is beloved by hot pot enthusiasts for its intense flavor.

Dipping Oil Plate

Another essential element of the traditional hot pot setup, is the dipping oil plate. This typically includes sesame oil. Some establishments serve it directly to your table, while others place a waist-high bucket of sesame oil near the entrance, allowing customers to help themselves with a small bowl. A few places also offer canola oil, but the key addition is usually a small amount of minced garlic – no other extras are thrown into the mix.

Now, some might add a splash of vinegar to their oil plate to dial down the spiciness, which is perfectly fine. However, oyster sauce is an absolute no-go as it can mess up the hot pot soup’s exquisite flavors. Generally, you don’t need an abundance of dipping sauce because the hot pot’s broth is already bursting with a complex and delightful taste.

Ingredients

Tripe takes the spotlight as the heart and soul of Chongqing hot pot. Why do Chongqing locals adore it so much? Because it offers a delightful combination of crispness, freshness, flavor, and chewiness. Once the soup starts to boil, just dip the tripe into the pot for an instant cook, and you’re ready to enjoy!

Of course, aside from tripe, cow throat and duck intestines are also essential orders for a satisfying hot pot experience.

In addition, it’s crucial to remember that hot pot isn’t just a haphazard mix of ingredients; the order in which you add them is important.

Typically, tripe and duck intestines are the first to be dunked in, but for no longer than 30 seconds! Overcooking them can render them unpleasantly tough. Conversely, ingredients like potatoes and taro are best left for the end since they tend to cloud the broth and can easily turn mushy with extended boiling.

Nine-section Pot

Nine-section Pot

To savor the true essence of Chongqing’s traditional hot pot, you can’t do without a distinctive nine-section pot. This unique pot design divides the hot pot into three tiers, each with its own temperature and beef tallow concentration.

In the central section, where the heat is the highest, you should avoid prolonged cooking. It’s perfect for quickly preparing delicacies like tripe, duck intestines, and beef liver, ensuring they stay tender and crispy.

Moving to the side section, despite having a slightly lower temperature, offers even heat, making it ideal for longer cooking times. This ensures that ingredients like mushrooms, meatballs, and lotus roots retain their original flavors.

Finally, the four-corner section maintains a gentle temperature, making it perfect for stewing food until they become soft and tender. Foods like duck blood, quail eggs, and pig intestines benefit from this slower cooking process.

⭐Best Hot Pot Restaurants in Chongqing

The sheer abundance of hot pot restaurants in Chongqing can be mind-boggling for those not familiar with the city. Picking out the truly tasty ones from this vast selection can be a real challenge. Moreover, considering that everyone has their own unique taste preferences and priorities, it’s impossible to please everyone.

Drawing from my firsthand experiences, I’ve picked out 22 hot pot restaurants that are popular among locals. Hopefully, this can offer some helpful recommendations for everyone’s decision-making.

1. Yuwei Xiaoyu Hot Pot

Chongqing is teeming with hot pot joints, but let me tell you, Yuwei Xiaoyu Hot Pot takes the crown. I stumbled upon this gem on my very first Chongqing trip, and it didn’t disappoint.

Their hot pot broth isn’t your typical fiery, tongue-numbing concoction; it’s a bit milder and suits most palates. With a whopping 20 years in the business, they keep it real with their soup base, free from additives. They rely on ingredients like chili pepper, bean paste, beef tallow, and ginger for that authentic flavor. You’ve got to try it to experience the true essence of old Chongqing.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Spicy beef: it might look like regular beef, but the tenderness and the flavorful kick from the peppers make it stand out.
  • Tripe: this one’s a sizeable piece, dunk it in the broth for an instant cook, and it’s wonderfully crisp and refreshing.
  • Beef liver: It’s fresh, tender, and surprisingly not overpowering in taste.

🔴Chinese: 渝味晓宇火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 10:00 – 24:00
📍Address: No.86 Pipashan Main Street, Yuzhong District

2. Zhao Er Hot Pot

Zhao Er Hot Pot in Chongqing is a well-established spot that’s been serving up mouthwatering hot pot for nearly two decades, and locals in Chongqing can’t get enough of it. You’ll find it tucked away near Jeifangbei CBD Wanglongmen Station, in a somewhat inconspicuous building.

Inside, it’s a spacious joint with neat and tidy surroundings. They’ve got square tables and long benches, all neatly organized.

Zhao Er’s hot pot broth packs a serious spicy punch, delivering the authentic, rich, and enticing flavor that Chongqing residents adore. And the best part? You get the fiery red oil soup on the house!

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Tripe: their tripe is impressively large and wonderfully fresh. Once it’s been simmered and dunked in spicy chili oil, every bite tingles with a perfect mix of numbing, spiciness, crispiness, and aroma.
  • Sliced Pork: Zhao Er’s sliced pork is a specialty, and it’s cut into generously large, slightly thick pieces with a mix of fat and lean. Let it simmer in the pot, then dip it in their spicy pepper, and finally, wrap it with some minced garlic. The more you chew, the more you’ll appreciate the layers of flavor.

🔴Chinese: 赵二火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 09:00 – 24:00
📍Address: No.128 Jiefang E Rd, Yuzhong District

3. Er Hot Pot

Er Hot Pot is located just a short stroll, a few hundred meters away from a subway station in a residential neighborhood. The place has a modest, but tidy environment; however, that hasn’t deterred waves of people who come here to savor the food.

When they serve the hot pot, the base is cold, showcasing authentic beef tallow soup infused with a generous sprinkling of dried peppercorns and dried chili peppers. A sizable chunk of lard sits nearby, alongside ginger slices and green onions to kick up the flavor – it’s enough to make your mouth water.

As you fire it up and wait for the pot to boil, you’ll witness the broth coming to life, bubbling away with a rich red hue and a robust aroma.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Spicy beef: the tender beef is generously coated in fiery chili peppers, wrapping it in a spicy and fragrant embrace. However, be cautious if you’re not a fan of spicy food.
  • Pork luncheon meat: this homemade creation by the restaurant owner takes the form of thick, square slices. Once they’ve been boiled in the pot, you’ll experience the meat’s firm texture and a potent meaty aroma. Dip it in the seasoning, and you’re in for a spicy and fragrant treat.

🔴Chinese: 二火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 11:00 – 02:00
📍Address: No.63 Hucai Road, Yubei District

4. Huangjie Hot Pot

Finding this spot is a bit of a challenge, but the love for their food makes it worth the hunt. It’s a well-known joint, but the setting is quite rundown, tucked away in an old neighborhood down a narrow alley. You even need to climb a slope to reach it. When you arrive, you’ll see a few tables and plastic benches, but it’s always bustling with folks eager for a meal.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Beef: the star here is the tender beef, which gets that spicy, mellow kick after a dip in the fiery red broth.
  • Gong Cai: it’s my personal veggie fave! Just a quick boil, and you get that delightful crispness, a hint of sweetness, and a touch of freshness.

🔴Chinese: 黄姐火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 11:30 – 22:00
📍Address: No.163-1 Huangni Cun, Wulidian Street, Jiangbei District

5. Deng Mangzi Hot Pot

The place has a very basic setting, with a stairwell leading down to the basement level right at the entrance. The layout is quite straightforward with plain tables arranged in rows, and the service leaves much to be desired. However, despite these shortcomings, the mouthwatering aroma of the hot pot has people lining up outside the door.

The moment the hot pot arrives at your table, you’re greeted by a sumptuous beef tallow aroma!

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Duck intestines: you’ll find yourself repeatedly dipping and pulling out the duck intestines in the pot until they form delicious rolls.
  • Fried crisp pork: the meat portions are generous, featuring a crispy exterior and tender interior.

🔴Chinese: 邓莽子老火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 11:00 – 23:00
📍Address: No.7 Luzumiao, Jiefangbei Street, Yuzhong District

6. Duya Hot Pot

This restaurant is situated close to Jiefangbei Square. It’s a modest little eatery, you could even call it humble. The setting is plain, with simple furnishings—basic tables and chairs. However, what truly shines here is the authentic taste! After a day of shopping, you can gather your friends and top it off with a delightful hot pot experience to make a perfect ending to your day.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Pork luncheon meat: this dish is a specialty crafted by the owner. You’ll savor the ample meat chunks paired with spicy chili peppers, offering a delightful and spicy treat.
  • Dumplings: don’t miss the gold dumplings – they may look like little golden ingots, filled with meat and wrapped in egg skin. With one bite, you’ll experience the fragrant and tender egg skin, combined with juicy, spicy, and full-flavored meat filling.

🔴Chinese: 独雅老火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 11:30 – 22:00
📍Address: No.203 Heping Road, Yuzhong District

7. Gangshang Zhazha Hot Pot

This is another popular Chongqing hot pot joint, and their slogan proudly boasts, “Chongqing people’s taste nostalgia.” The restaurant itself isn’t large, but it’s always bustling with people at the entrance. If you’d rather skip the wait, remember to call ahead and make a reservation.

Their hot pot broth packs a punch in the spiciness department. A friendly reminder, if you can’t handle too much heat, be sure to ask for a milder spice level.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Fried crisp pork: it is prepared by taking it straight from the hot oil and draining off the excess. Hidden within the crispy meat are delightful peppercorns, making for a tantalizing and crunchy texture—crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
  • Coriander meatballs: they are crafted from freshly ground pork meat mixed with coriander. When you’re ready to indulge, they’re scooped into the pot with a spoon. The coriander’s aroma and the meat’s tenderness blend together perfectly, offering a delightful experience.

🔴Chinese: 岗上渣渣老火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 10:30 – 24:00
📍Address: No.60-1 Shangdatian Bay, Tiyu Road, Yuzhong District

8. Xiaobin Hot Pot

This hot pot eatery is quite easy to locate, right next to an old-style tavern. The restaurant’s setting is rather unassuming, and if you prefer, you can sit outside under a canopy. Indoors, you’ll find some nostalgic charm with various pictures depicting old Chongqing adorning the walls.

When it comes to the hot pot, it’s the real deal, capturing the authentic essence of old Chongqing hot pot, brimming with delightful fragrance. Plus, the dishes are both affordable and fresh.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Wulong Sweet Potato Noodles: these long noodles can be cooked in the pot, then scooped out and dipped into a mixture of pepper and garlic paste. The result is a spicy, slippery, and chewy delight.
  • Beef: the beef comes in substantial pieces, having been marinated before cooking. As they simmer in the pot and absorb the essence of the hot pot, dipping them into the sauce unveils a multi-layered flavor experience.

🔴Chinese: 小斌老火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 10:30 – 14:00 16:30 – 23:00
📍Address: No.15 Zhigang Blvd, Jiulongpo District

9. Sizhuo Hot Pot

It isn’t spacious, with four tables taking up each side, which is why it’s called ‘Four Tables Hot Pot.’ But, ‘Four Tables Hot Pot’ isn’t just about four tables; it also symbolizes Heaven and Earth. Plus, there are a few extra tables outside.

In the hot pot, you’ll find two vibrant orange-red beef tallow bricks in a pool of spicy red pepper oil, with white fermented glutinous rice and green chives as garnish. Once the broth starts boiling, you can start cooking your ingredients and dig in.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Sliced pork loin: they are generously sized and cut quite thick, with some pieces even bigger than your palm. Just dunk it in the pot for about ten seconds, and it’ll turn out tender and smooth.
  • Beef: it’s sliced and sprinkled with chili pepper and green peppers. After a brief cook in the pot, the tender beef soaks up the spicy flavors, resulting in a wonderfully smooth and spicy taste.

🔴Chinese: 四桌火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 10:00 – 22:30
📍Address: No.20-1 Huanhu Road, Nan’an District

10. Tanzishi Wuming Santuoyi Hot Pot

You won’t even spot a sign or a store name, and it’s tucked away in an old, run-down street and alley in Tanzishi.

Inside the hot pot restaurant, there are only two people – a husband at the front desk and his wife in the kitchen, whipping up grub. Most of their customers are locals from the neighborhood.

The dishes here are probably the most budget-friendly you’ll find in any hot pot joint, and the servings are generous and super fresh. Vegetarian options are as low as CNY 1, and even the priciest meat dishes won’t set you back more than CNY 10.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Lotus root slices: they come in thick chunks. You decide how long to boil them based on your taste. A shorter time makes them crispy and sweet with a spicy kick from the chili peppers, while a longer boil makes them soft and delectable.
  • Sweet potato noodles: they turn soft and slightly waxy after they’re cooked.

🔴Chinese: 弹子石无名三拖一火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 17:30 – 23:30
📍Address: No.53-3 Nanping West Road, Nan’an District

11. Zuihuo Hot Pot

This place isn’t huge, with seating both inside and outside to accommodate plenty of folks. Most of the meat options will cost you CNY 3 each, while the vegetarian choices are just CNY 1 a pop, but they’re generally on the smaller side. Don’t worry, though. That’s a good thing – it lets you order a variety of dishes and savor different flavors.

Their standout specialty is the dried oil plate, which features a blend of dried chili powder and a sprinkle of chopped green onions. The dried chili peppers bring some serious heat, so if you’re up for a spicy challenge, give it a go.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Sticky rice cakes with brown sugar: this dish comes in a generous portion, meticulously arranged on a plate, drizzled with luscious brown sugar, and finished with a sprinkle of yellow bean powder. After enjoying the fiery hot pot, biting into these rice cakes, which are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, with a rich brown sugar flavor and a delightful aroma, is refreshingly delightful.
  • Sliced pork loins: the loins are delicate, thin, and tender. Be sure to dip them in the dried oil plate for a spicy and hot kick!
  • Jerk filefish: even with extended cooking, the fish remains tender, springy, and firm, offering a delightful texture.

🔴Chinese: 最火老火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 10:00 – 24:00
📍Address: No. 230 Nanxing Rd, Nan’an District

12. Dalong Hot Pot

Dalong Hot Pot, a Chongqing legend since its inception in 1991, has achieved widespread fame. It’s a rags-to-riches story, evolving from a humble roadside stall to a renowned restaurant, ushering in its own “hot pot era.”

Dalong is celebrated for its iconic soup, a timeless recipe that’s been dishing out the same rich, beef tallow-infused broth for a remarkable 30 years. They steadfastly reject machine processing and opt for the daily hand-cooking method. Rumor has it that the soup’s secret lies in a blend of over 20 ingredients, requiring 3 hours of meticulous stir-frying.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Tripe: fresh buffalo tripe, a signature delight, is a must-try and graces nearly every table. Delivered daily via the cold chain from the slaughterhouse, it maintains its vibrant color when served.
  • Hand-cut fresh beef: the beef is skillfully sliced to the perfect thickness, ensuring a fresh and tender taste.
  • Goose Intestines: these sizable, ultra-crispy delicacies are a crowd-pleaser.

🔴Chinese: 大龙火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 10:00 – 03:00
📍Address: No.309 Donghu South Road, Tiangongdian Neighborhood, Yubei District

13. Guaxixi Hot Pot

The place is a bit of a challenge to locate, but it’s a gem when you do. The ambiance is top-notch, featuring a simple and bright decor with charming details like vintage posters on the walls, original wooden tables, and old-school clay bowls.

What’s more, the owner is a young, good-looking guy, and the waitstaff, all young and super polite, completely shattered my preconceived notion of gruff Chongqing servers.

The hot soup here has the right amount of kick without being overly bitter or salty, and it won’t leave your mouth parched. The dishes here are fresh and reasonably priced.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Pig’s large intestines: they’re tender and soft after a good braising session before hitting the pot!
  • Cow throat: it is a standout here. It’s hard to find such crispy and fresh cow throat at other joints.
  • Duck blood: their fresh duck blood is on a whole different level compared to the frozen stuff you usually get. It’s as tender as tofu!

🔴Chinese: 瓜西西火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 10:00 – 24:00
📍Address: No.6 Tieban Ln, Yuzhong District

14. Sijian Hot Pot

The hot pot joint is located near the lively Yanghe West Road, a supper paradise that is still bustling after midnight, especially on weekends. Here, diners like to eat hot pot with tables and chairs on the roadside, which is more lively.

As soon as I saw the menu, I was even more sure that the owner was a man who like to do some new tricks. The dishes have been creatively upgraded based on traditional categories, no wonder there are quite a few young people who come to patronize.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Ice dumplings: coconut milk ice is added with shredded coconut, red beans, grain chips, and Oreo crumbles, which is just the right amount of sweetness and rich in taste.
  • Braised chicken feet: after the braised chicken feet are boiled in the spicy pot, the taste is soft and rotten, and the taste becomes richer.

🔴Chinese: 四间火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 11:00 – 04:00
📍Address: No. 38-1 Jianbei Sanzhi Road, Jiangbei District

15. Chuqimen Eel Hot Pot

Chuqimen is situated near a residential area and really comes alive at night. This spot’s been around for a good 20 years, and the locals in the neighborhood are its biggest fans.

The prices at Chuqimen are super wallet-friendly. The most expensive dish, the tripe, is just CNY 28. Most of the meat dishes hover around CNY 10, and a serving of veggies is a mere CNY 5. The portions are huge, like seriously, I think they’re at least double what you’d get elsewhere.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Eel: the eel is the star of the show here, and each plate of eel is freshly prepared every day. The blend of chili and the eel’s freshness is seriously addictive.
  • Tofu pudding: finish your meal with Chuqimen’s homemade tofu pudding. It’s the perfect way to cool down after all that spice. It’s just as good as what you’d get at a dessert shop.

🔴Chinese: 储奇门鳝鱼火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 09:00 – 04:00
📍Address: No.39 Shuncheng Street, Yuzhong District

16. Yangmaer Hot Pot

It is located in the old residential building of Jiefangbei CBD, you can feel the daily life scene of Chongqing here!

Their hot pot truly embodies the essence of Chongqing, especially when it comes to spiciness. It’s on a whole other level compared to your regular hot pot, so brace yourself if you’re not a fan of super spicy.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Spicy beef: you can’t miss the spicy beef. The broth alone packs quite the punch, and the beef is coated with a hefty layer of chili, making it a double dose of heat and flavor.
  • Marinated pig’s large intestines: it’s one of their secret specialties. They’re marinated and then simmered in the fiery red soup pot, and it’s simply mind-blowing.

🔴Chinese: 洋马儿火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 10:30 – 23:00
📍Address: No.9 Hongsheng Lane, Yuzhong District

17. Peijie Hot Pot

Peijie Hot Pot ranks among Chongqing’s top 10 hot pot restaurants. The place’s buzzing with diners, even at 2 p.m., you’ll hardly spot an empty table.

They have numerous branches in Chongqing, and I visited their main spot in Hongya Cave, which is easy to spot. The decor here boasts a typical Chinese style.

What truly wowed me was their hot pot soup, which is like a culinary masterpiece. It’s crafted with precision, combining beef tallow, peppercorns, chili peppers, garlic, and onions, among others. These vibrant ingredients unite to create a flavorful, aromatic, and mildly spicy red soup base.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Gong Cai meatballs: this dish takes the cake here. Sink your teeth into these tender meatballs paired with crispy Gong Cai.
  • Shrimp paste: here’s a unique twist – they add fish roe, giving it a velvety texture and a delightful burst of flavor.

🔴Chinese: 佩姐火锅
⏰Opening Hours: all-day
📍Address: No.5 Minsheng Road, Yuzhong District

18. Fengzhixing Hot Pot

It boasts a cozy and uniquely designed atmosphere. It’s kept spick and span, and it’s bustling every evening.

The restaurant offers a spice scale for their hotpot, ranging from mild to fiery. The spiciest option they have is called “juhuakai(菊花开),” and it can be so hot that it might lead to an upset stomach.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Coriander meatballs: these little wonders are mixed with diced lotus root, which cuts through the richness of the meat, making them absolutely delicious.
  • Fried crisp pork: as you look around, you’ll notice that nearly every table orders a serving of these fried crisp pork pieces. They taste even better when you dip them into the pot for some cooking action.

🔴Chinese: 丰之兴老火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 10:00 – 24:00
📍Address: No.11 Xiejiawan Main St, Jiulongpo District

19. Hongjiuge Hot Pot

Hong Jiuge Hot Pot is a rising star in Chongqing’s hot pot scene. It didn’t take long for the media to dub it a must-visit spot for hot pot enthusiasts!

They proudly don’t offer yuanyang hot pot (the two-flavor hot pot) – it’s not about arrogance, but a focus on perfecting the red soup pot and making it the best it can be.

Their soup is all about pure beef tallow, not a drop of vegetable or salad oil in sight. The base ingredients are all lovingly hand-prepared.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Sliced pork loin: they need to be popped into your mouth in one big bite. They’re incredibly tender and soft.
  • Spicy beef: the beef is sliced ultra-thin, and after just half a minute of cooking and a taste, your mouth will be on fire!

🔴Chinese: 红九格火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 10:00 – 24:00
📍Address: No.98-4 Kaixuan Road, Yuzhong District

20. Lin Jiangmen Shancheng Hot Pot

It is near the back door of a Yangjiaping neighborhood. It’s quite spacious, covering over 600 square meters. You’d think with a big place like that, it’d be comfy and easy to get a table, but turns out it’s so popular that you’ll often have to wait for a reservation.

The locals around here all know about this hot pot spot. The owner himself mentioned, “About 80% of the folks who dine here every day are regulars. They show up at least twice a week.”

Now, when it comes to the food, whether you’re talking about the must-try tripe, duck intestines, or the crowd-pleasers like sliced pork loin and snowflake sole fish, each dish not only tastes incredibly fresh but also comes in generous portions.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Snowflake sole fish: these fillets have no pesky bones, and each piece is sliced as thin as paper. The delicate fish meat practically melts in your mouth.
  • Sliced pork lion: their slices are larger and thicker than what you find in other restaurants, and they pair wonderfully with the dry oil dishes.

🔴Chinese: 临江门山城老火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 10:00 – 23:00
📍Address: No.139 Zhigang Blvd, Jiulongpo District

21. Zhoushixioang Hot Pot

Zhoushixioang Hot Pot is incredibly popular with out-of-town tourists, and you can find its branches all over the country. It’s a fantastic option for newcomers to Chongqing, providing an authentic experience of the city’s famous spicy, aromatic, and tongue-tingling hot pot.

Among the many Chongqing hot pot restaurants, it stands out for its excellent ambiance. It’s not just visually appealing and comfortable; they even offer private open compartments for added privacy.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Sliced pork loin: this is their standout feature. You must dip it into their special five-color dry dipping sauce. It’s a blend of spicy millet, bell pepper, and five kinds of peppers, along with soybean noodles, sesame, and more.
  • Yellow beef: this beef is sliced right at your table, and it clings firmly to the plate. You can imagine just how incredibly fresh it is.

🔴Chinese: 周师兄火锅
⏰Opening Hours: all-day
📍Address: No.9 Minsheng Road, Yuzhong District

22. Zhushi Pangzi Lan Hot Pot

They keep their doors wide open 24/7 and haven’t closed shop for 20 years! Every day, hordes of tourists flock in for a taste of their hot pot, and even the three-story establishment can’t accommodate everyone. The hot pot is renowned for its great taste, and they’ve fine-tuned the spiciness to make it more palatable for visitors from out of town.

🍲 Menu recommendation:

  • Tripe, duck intestines, duck blood

🔴Chinese: 朱氏胖子烂火锅
⏰Opening Hours: 11:00 – 04:00
📍Address: No.6 Linjiang Road, Yuzhong District

🌸Tips for Choosing the Perfect Chongqing Hot Pot Experience

To begin, when picking a restaurant, prioritize selecting a hot pot establishment that is popular and frequented by many diners.

Given the abundance of local hot pot options in Chongqing, the taste differences are minimal. To savor a delectable hot pot, focus on ingredient freshness, which may be challenging to guarantee in less popular hot pot venues.

However, highly popular hot pot restaurants with a substantial customer base consistently use a significant amount of ingredients daily. This practice prevents overstocking, ensuring the freshness of premium ingredients.

Next, after choosing a restaurant, proceed to order your dishes.

The quintessential ingredients that capture the essence of Chongqing hot pot include tripe, duck intestines, and duck blood.

While freshness is crucial for all ingredients, the distinctions in tripe varieties merit attention. If unfamiliar with tripe nuances, a general rule is that a higher price often indicates crisper and fresher tripe—a principle that also applies to duck intestines.

China Travel Planning Guide&FAQ

🎫Do I need a visa for China?

Yes. Most visitors to China will need a visa to enter the country. The type of visa you need will depend on the purpose and duration of your trip, as well as your nationality. If you are a resident of the US, you must apply for a Chinese visa at the Consular Office in the country. On the other hand, inhabitants of countries like Japan, Canada, and the UK can request a visa through the Chinese Visa Application Service Center.

🤔Why is it necessary to install a VPN in China?

In China, the government has strict regulations on internet access, leading to the blocking of popular websites and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and YouTube. To access these sites, a VPN is suggested as a means of bypassing the restrictions. It is important to choose a reputable VPN provider and use caution while doing so. ExpressVPN has been historically deemed the most reliable VPN for this purpose, despite being heavily targeted by China’s censors. Nevertheless, it is still a widely preferred option owing to its ease of installation and user-friendliness.

📲Is it necessary to have a Chinese SIM card while in China?

Yes. It is crucial to acknowledge that accessing the internet in China may pose limitations due to certain websites being prohibited or filtered. To ensure uninterrupted connectivity while staying in China, purchasing a local SIM card is advisable. For optimum results, acquiring SIM cards from either China Unicom or China Mobile is recommended. While China Mobile has the most comprehensive coverage in China and is a market leader, China Unicom is more compatible with foreign phones, enabling 3G and 4G services. Or you can purchase a SIM card online.

🔮Should I buy China travel insurance?

Yes. Although China is generally a safe country for travel, it is still possible to encounter accidents or other unexpected occurrences. Therefore, obtaining travel insurance can provide a sense of security and financial protection. In my research, I have found that World Nomads is a reputable travel insurance provider that covers a wide range of activities and is recommended for the average traveler. Nevertheless, I advise you to compare insurance quotes from various providers before making a decision.

🚙Can you rent a car in China?

Unfeasible. Obtaining a Chinese driver’s license to rent a car and self-drive may seem like an option, but it is not a practical choice for most foreigners. Therefore, many prefer to opt for a driver or public transportation when navigating China, as it proves to be more convenient.

✈️What’s the best site to purchase flight tickets for China?

I suggest using Trip for affordable flights to China. As a China-based company, they often offer lower prices compared to foreign companies. Additionally, they offer English-speaking phone support in case of any issues.

🏡What is the best way to book hotels in China?

Not only does Trip offer a wider range of flight options, but it also provides a greater selection of hotels to choose from. Moreover, Agoda is a reliable resource for hotels throughout Asia.

🎒What do I pack for China?

Travel adapter and converter: China uses a different electrical system than many other countries, so it’s important to bring a travel adapter and converter if you plan to use electronic devices such as phones, cameras, and laptops.  
Sunscreen: The UV index in China can be high, particularly during the summer months, and prolonged exposure to the sun without protection can cause skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer.
Deodorant: It should be noted that finding deodorant in China may not be a simple task.

📚Can a guidebook for traveling to China be useful?

Yes. If you’re planning to travel to China for the first time, a travel guidebook can be a valuable resource, and Lonely Planet is one of the most reputable guides available globally. Its comprehensive itineraries and recommendations take into account your personal preferences and can save you both time and money. The insider tips are also extremely helpful in navigating China’s unique cultural landscape like a local.

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