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History of Canton Style Hotpot

The history of Guangdong hot pot first appeared in the Song Dynasty(960 – 1279), and it was the ancestor of the modern Cantonese style hotpot. Cantonese people describe hot pot as “打边炉” which means people stand by the side of the furnace to eat. “打边炉” is different from the general so-called “hot pot”. The hot pot is sitting down to eat, but “打边炉” is standing and eating around the furnace; the pot is made of metal utensils, and the “furnace‘’ is made of corrugated. The ingredients that make of a hot pot in Guangdong are also different from other places. Cantonese people usually say that: ” People chase Sichuan Hotpot for the favor of spicy, the heat; Cantonese hotpot, on the other hand, is all about the freshness of the ingredients, people chase Canton Hotpot for the flavor of the ingredients itself and the mixed flavor of the ingredients(和味).

The Soul of Cantonese Hot Pot

The ingredients that make of a hot pot in Guangdong are different from other regions of China. Cantonese people consider the ingredients of the hot pot as the soul. There are several types of soup of Guangdong hot pot: congee based hot pot, coconut chicken,  clear water pot, Sacha pot and etc. Most Cantonese people use a light flavor soup or water as the base of the hot pot in order to highlight the flavor of the ingredients on your tongue.

The secret of these types of hotpot is the freshness of the ingredients. The chicken you eat in the evening is probably killed in the afternoon which is just a few hours before being served to the customers.

The video above is filmed by a local food media in Canton “PinchengJi” (Start at 2:26)

The restaurant that the host visited is a Cantonese hotpot restaurant that specializes in serving the freshest beef. In the video, the cow was killed around 11 p.m. and served immediately to the customers. The host also mentioned that there is an extreme period of time or a limit of time to serve the beef. Just like a human, when the cow is killed, the beef will only be tendered in a few hours, after that period of time, the beef will become tough to chew and lost most of its moisture.

Congee Based Hot Pot

Congee based hot pot is just became popular in the past decade in Canton. This style of the base also insists on the word “fresh”. The congee base: boiled with fragrant rice, water and pork bones, filter the rice and leaving the sweet rice juice as the soup base.

This type of Cantonese hotpot stands out an unique way to have a hotpot meal. While people cook the food in congee soup, the soup will absorb the flavors from all the food that you have. And eventually the congee soup will become the last dish and the most flavorful dish in the meal because it contains all the freshness, the flavors of all the ingredients, and that’s the essence of Cantonese Hotpot — to mix all the flavors in the soup and explode the flavors on your tongue.

Most Common Ingredients

Beef slices and beef balls

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Crab and Clams

Dipping Sauce Suggestion

In order to keep the flavor of the ingredients itself, and as an authentic Cantonese, we usually use the mixture of soy sauce, spring onion, ginger, garlic and oil.

Soy sauce

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Chopped spring onion

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Chopped ginger

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Chopped garlic