The difference in Chengdu's hot pot and dry pot


WindhorseTour Travel Team's picture

"Hot pot" and "dry pot" are two must-try cuisines while traveling in China, especially in Sichuan province and Chongqing municipality, where these two delicious dishes originated from and where both of these dishes have already been recognized as tempting travel attractions. Hot pot and dry pot are actually closely related in Chinese cuisine, but each offers enjoyable differences for diners.

Hot pot could be called the Chinese version of fondue - a simmering communal pot in the center of the table filled with spicy broth, served with all kinds of raw food items beside the pot to be added over the course of the meal, such as sliced meats, mushrooms, eggs, and other vegetables. Whether hailing from Chengdu or Chongqing, hot pot centers around the broth in the pot - a variety of spicy ingredients, some sort of beef tallow or vegetable oil, and herbs - to produce a special broth.

Part of the fun of hot pot is that it is do-it-yourself. Diners select their favorite fare and slide them into the communal pot and then conversate while they wait for their desired foods to cook. The cooked food is eaten with a dipping sauce which are usually sesame oil along with smashed garlic ginger and caraway. The relatively intimate manner of hot pot dining helps narrow down people's distance and is often favored by groups of friends hanging out together.  

If you want to taste the hot and spicy flavor without the sweaty heat of huddling over a boiling pot of hot broth when dinning, dry pot is your best choice. Dry pot, developed from hot pot, has the same intense spicy flavor but no boiling broth, just as its name implies. 

In dry pot, there are normally one or two kinds of meat served as the core of the entree (normally you can choose chicken meat, rabbit meat, beef, shrimp, or a mix of two kinds of meat), along with all kinds of vegetables, usually potatoes, cucumber, lotus root, onions, etc., each keeping its distinct flavor while blending marvelously together.

All of the spices and herbs that give hot pot broth its savory aroma are present in dry pot, alive and undiluted. All of the wonderful ingredients are mixed together in a giant bowl which arrives at your table with everything pre-cooked to perfection, saving you all the effort of putting all the dishes into broth and waiting when eating hot pot, without sacrficing the delicious flavor!

Hot pot or Dry pot? It's really hard to choose, so why not choose both - come book Sichuan travel and have your own first-hand hot pot and dry pot experiences! If you have any questions about Sichuan Cuisine, Chongqing hot pot, or any comments, please contact us at

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