International Center Blog

Providing International Perspectives About Learning and Living at UM-Flint

Hot pot is a traditional Chinese eating style. Basically, it looks like everyone surround a pot of boiled soup, and then they put and cook all the things they want to eat into the pot and eat together. However, the hot pot is not only very delicious food, but it is also full of cultural meanings. Here are something you might be interested in learning about hot pot.

Hot pot has very long history in China that can be dated back to 1900 years ago. Chinese archaeologists dug out pots from the Han Dynasty (BC202-AD220) and they believe that this is the earliest hot pot prototype. Internationally, North/South Korea, Indonesia and Swiss all have their own hot pot traditions.

Hot Pot 1

But, the hot pots in modern times don’t look like what they used to be in the picture above anymore.  Modern pots may vary in their design to make it more energy efficient and to better heat the food. People were even innovative enough to create the cold pot, which is mainly used to eat seafood in their raw condition.

Hot Pot 2

Even though the ancient convention and modern innovation pots have different designs, hot pot has a long tradition in China to make it one of the representatives of Chinese food without controversy.

It is substantially a symbol of equality and unity in eating. This is a normal way when Chinese people eat hot pot. A round table is preferable because it enables everyone the same distance to reach the center—the pot, and with all the materials spread on the table, anyone could get the chance to serve, such as putting materials into the pot.

Hot Pot 3Hot Pot 4

It is also a very primitive way of democracy, because when people make decision of what to eat, they made it together through negotiation with each other. They even divide the hot pot into two or more parts as spicy and non-spicy side to make sure it suits to different people’s preferences.

Hot Pot 5 Hot Pot 6

But that’s not the point at all! Even it is the very important cultural icon. The delicious taste and where you can prepare yourself an awesome one in Flint is the most important thing I want to share.

Creating your own hot pot is very simple. First, you need to get yourself a pot, which you can find online. Then, you can go to an Asian market for all the materials and ingredients.

Here are the good Asian markets and their addresses near Flint:

  • 168 Asian Market – 32393 John R Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071
  • Oriental Market – 2800 E. Grand River, East Lansing, MI 48823
  • Hua Xing Asia Market – 2867 Washtenaw Ave, Ypsilanti, MI 48197

At the market, you should buy the hot pot condiment, which you can get in spicy or non-spicy. One of my secrets is to also add some raw garlic and the white part of green onions to the broth! After that, it’s up to you and your friends to decided what you would like to add to the pot: meat, seafood, meat products, noodles, tofu, etc.

You can be very creative and innovative when you do your hot pot!  A cold/frozen drink or salad also pairs well with the hot pot too 🙂

So, not only is hot pot a great traditional Chinese meal, but it’s an excellent way to warm up in the wintertime! If you have any questions, feel free to email me at