Three to try: Hotpot

Stay warm this winter with three of our top spots for this local favourite

Red Bowl

RED BOWL赤_Spicy Sichuan_麻辣汤锅(3)

Leave it to the ultra-luxe Rosewood Beijing hotel to turn one of the most basic winter warmers into a sleek, up-market affair. Red Bowl is the Vogue-ready version of what is often reserved for the drunken small hours of the morning, but don’t let the chic crimson decor and attentive service fool you: this is a full-on good time. What Red Bowl might lack in dismissive wait staff, it makes up for in platefuls of plump tiger prawns (78RMB), ribbons of top-shelf organic lamb (68RMB) and fresh, local veggies (48RMB) from its partners in provenance. A more dignified hotpot experience is not easily found in Beijing, and with no service charge and daily deals, elevating your hotpot doesn’t mean depleting your bank account.

Okra

Okra Hotpot1

We may like our hotpot spicy and drenched in sesame paste, but the wizards of modern Japanese cuisine at Okra will make a convert out of us yet with their winter Nabe Shabu Sunday deal (258RMB per person plus 10 percent). Japanese nabe, unlike Chinese hotpot, deals in subtlety with delicate textures and flavours. This rendition of the classic Japanese hotpot pairs Okra’s supreme seafood selection with a light broth. It’s an indulgence that won’t leave you with meatsweats or gutter oil regrets – that’s what the buy-one-get-one carafes of sake are for (120RMB). Got cash to splash? Splurge for the top-flight set (458RMB per person plus 10 percent). Available Sundays throughout the winter.

Yijiaren Hot Pot

sichuan hotpot

The classics have their place for a reason, and the pungent fragrance of chilli oil and subtle tingle of Sichuan peppercorns that permeate every corner of a steamy hotpot restaurant (and your mouth) have no substitute. If that’s what you’re after, Chengdu-based Yijiaren has got your number. With a decor and layout designed to mimic the winding alleys and manor houses of the old city and a menu offering the full spectrum of broths – from sweet tomato to proper Sichuanese face-melting heat – it’s hard to go wrong at this local favourite
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