If you are interested in discovering and experiencing cuisines from around the world, then you must try Sichuan cuisine, known as one of the souls of China. Sichuan hotpot is a dish that people have to eat once in their lifetime.
Sichuan cuisine is known as one of the eight famous schools of Chinese cuisine. And many restaurants around the world have learned to cook Sichuan dishes and reprocess them to suit the culture of each place. Therefore, it is difficult to determine whether the Sichuan Hot Pot you have experienced or will experience is the traditional Sichuan flavor.
So how do you know that you've experienced or will experience the traditional Sichuan flavor?
Sichuan hotpot prepared in different ways to match different cultures
1. The experience of tasting the true Sichuan hotpot
Perhaps you’ve never had the cuisine like how it’s supposed to be made. You may have wasted those meals and missed out on wonderful experiences. Find out below how we’ll make sure you’ll have the true Sichuan hotpot experience!
- Selecting a suitable location that matches your requirements:
Location: You should find restaurants that are spacious, clean, airy and especially not too loud and bustling. You can’t properly enjoy a hotpot in a cramped, hot and messy place right?
Spacious, clean, airy and not too noisy
Opening time: It’d be a shame if you chose a place that closes early like around 9 – 10 p.m., since you would typically hang out with close friends and family after 7 p.m.. Thus, I advise you to choose a restaurant that doesn’t close too early so you can have more time to enjoy your delicious hotpot with the people you love.
Choose a place that doesn’t close too early
To give you a small tip, Original Sichuan Hotpot at district 1 gets a lot of good reviews on their spacious, quiet, well-designed interior layout that brings you the feeling of having a meal at home, especially as they close quite late, around 2 a.m.
The manners of service personnel
Why is this important? We rarely pay attention to this when we’re going to places, but to me, the attitude and service will directly affect the dining experience of customers. If you walk into a restaurant and the employees have a friendly and welcoming attitude, you will feel a lot happier, right? That’s why I have conducted research on customers who have eaten at Sichuan hotpot and I can say - with confidence - that the majority of Sichuan hotpot restaurants in Ho Chi Minh city have great services. That doesn’t mean all of them are good though. That’s why I highly recommend reading the reviews of any place to ensure you recieve the best value for your time!
Pay attention to the restaurants with good service reviews (source: internet)
The quality of the meal: fresh, hygenic ingredients.
To experience a good Sichuan hotpot, the first thing needed are clean and hygenic ingredients. The second thing are the proper preparations. When you have never experienced the food yourself, you wouldn’t know if the hotpots are actually delicious and safe.
My personal advice is to take into the consideration; the reviews, pictures from customers on the hotpot, meat, vegetables on the restaurant you want to visit. That’s the most realistic and accurate way to gauage the quality of the meal.
See the reviews, pictures of customers who have eaten there before
Here’s some small nuggets of advice. If you’re staying in Ho Chi Minh city or you’re on a trip to find delicious Sichuan hotpot then District 1 is the best place with multiple popular restaurants. That’s why there are a number of places that specializes in Chinese cuisine and Sichuan hotpot with good customer reviews.
A picture of Sichuan hotpot in district 1
Finding a good quality Sichuan hotpot
When we have decided to experience new cuisine, especially with friends and family, we have to take into consideration more than just good food, good service, good location but we also have to think about the price of the meal. Thus, I will give you a suggestion, if you want to try authentic Sichuan hotpot without being scared for your wallet, then visit: Sichuan goat hotpot, Sichuan hotpot District 1, District 5.
Also worth noting is that when you’re looking for delicious Sichuan hotpots, it’s best to pick restaurants with an interesting menu. Due to varying wildly in tastes, if you choose a place with an interesting and diverse menu, you can order different foods that are well-suited for different people. That will certaintly create an enjoyable meal!
Choose a restaurant with an interesting menu
2. How to experience the best Sichuan hotpot
Choosing a suitable time: A sincere piece of advice from someone who loves to eat hotpot like me is that if you want to properly enjoy a Sichuan hotpot, you should pick the weekdays or before 6 p.m. on weekends. Because on weekends or holidays, the amount of patrons skyrocket, you will have difficulties in finding a seat and it will take a long time for food to arrive due to busy employees. This is especially clear when you want to order more food.
Choosing a perfect time to properly enjoy a Sichuan hotpot
Finding people who share the same taste:
Usually, we enjoy hotpots with 2 or more people. The specialty of Sichuan hotpot is the spice. Thus, we need to choose people who share the same tastes. You can only enjoy good food with numerous people, sharing your experience helps you find meals more delicious than ever before.
With people who share the same taste, you can enjoy your meal more
Don’t starve yourself before going: It is said that Sichuan hotpot is a dish that embodies the unique cultural values of Chinese cuisine. To enjoy said dish, you shouldn’t order too much food at once. Firstly, it helps you slowly, yet fully, enjoy the unique taste of individual pieces. Secondly, it awakens your sense of taste and prevents food going to waste.
- When it comes to Sichuan hotpot, foodies usually do this:
Consider carefully before selecting your hotpot:
There’s a lot of different hotpots for you to choose. Usually, the original hotpot menu has these:
- Spicy mala hotpot
- Spicy and sour hotpot
- Mushroom hotpot
- Tomato hotpot
- Bone hotpot
- Chicken and pork stomach hotpot
These hotpots are usually very spicy, true to Sichuan cuisine. For people who cannot handle spicy food, even if you choose the hotpot with the lowest level of spice, it’s still very hard to handle. That’s why you shouldn’t order food too quickly but carefully observe the menu instead to see what’s available. Choose your favourite dish or the dish with the best review.
As said, Sichuan cuisine is quite spicy
Pay attention, you shouldn’t choose a seat too close to the processing place because the scent of the food can get onto your clothes and gets confused with the scent of the dish you’re enjoying.
Sterilize the hotpot: Very few people know that in order to fully enjoy a hotpot, you have to sterilize the hotpot before eating. Keep the water boiling steadily for 3 minutes so the steam can balance the temperature and pressure of the pot. If the pot is evenly hot, the food can be cooked faster and less germs will be left alive. Thus, don’t be too quick on consuming the hotpot!
To put all of the food in or to put them in one by one?: Usually, people have a habit of putting all of the food they like into the hotpot without paying attention to how much time it takes them to cook to ensure the taste and nutrients of each dish. According to my experience of eating Sichuan hotpot, you should take into consideration the time it takes for each individual dish to cook so they can retain their delicious taste along with their naturally sweet aroma.
You need to pay attention to how much time it takes the food to cook
Don’t forget your dipping sauce: Like other hotpots, it’s not just the ingredients that make the dish delicious but also the dipping sauce. When enjoying Sichuan hotpot, to experience the spice fully, you need something sweet to balance out the taste. That means you cannot go without the signature dipping sauce. I advise you to ask the service personnel to get your dipping sauce if it’s your first time trying out hotpot. I can guarantee you that it will make a huge difference.
Ask a waiter/waitress to make your dipping sauce or do it to your liking
3. In conclusion
When you think of Sichuan hotpot, just the scent of the steam can already sit your cravings. I strongly advise you to try out Sichuan hotpot, even if it’s just once, you will really taste true Chinese cuisine. With all of my advice from above, it should help you gather information on choosing the best place that fits your taste.
Enjoy the full experience of eating a delicious Sichuan hotpot. Or if you have the opportunity to visit Ho Chi Minh City and you want to experience a Sichuan hotpot meal with professional service in a warm space. Don't miss the location: Nguyen Vi hotpot restaurant (214B55 Nguyen Trai street, Nguyen Cu Trinh ward, District 1, HCM city)! I can guarantee that the perfect taste will sway your heart and mind.