Chongqing is one of the biggest cities in China with its metropolitan population according to different sources being 5 to 7.5 million people (2010).
If I would have to choose just one word to describe Chongqing it would be “spicy”. This is due to the fact that Chongqing is famous for its culinary specialty – hot-pot… and spicy and beautiful girls!
Many believe that Chinese hot-pot originates from this area where it was popular among boatmen working on the Yangtze River. From here it spread to Sichuan and other neighboring districts and later made its way to the rest of China.
Today you can find many restaurants in China and all over the world serving this dish with unforgettable spicy taste. Generally speaking it consists of a broth full of chili and other spices and many different supplementary dishes (meat, poultry, vegetables, mushrooms, tofu etc.) which are dipped into the hot soup and kept in it for some time before being taken out and consumed.
Because of the way in which hot-pot is eaten it is more than just food – it is the social event: pot with the broth is placed in the middle of the table with charcoals (or electrical unit under its bottom) constantly heating its contents and diners are sitting around from time to time grabbing piece of meat or vegetable from the pot with their chopsticks.
And I don’t know a better place to enjoy the authentic taste of hot-pot than Chongqing which has thousands of places that are ready to serve you this wonderful dish. But it’s not just a specialty for tourists. Chongqing residents themselves are crazy about hot-pot. Even though you can find streets with few hot-pot restaurants next to each other, they will never be empty.
I remember how one friend of mine came back home after spending some time in another province. She immediately called me and some other mutual friends and set up a meeting in the hot-pot restaurant. While sitting there she shared that on her way back there was only one thought in her head – what kind of dishes will she order for her hot-pot…
But there is one more thing which makes Chongqing famous – namely its beautiful girls. Many people (both Chinese and foreigners) are ready to attest that the most beautiful Chinese girls come from Chongqing. There is a joke that married men who come to Chongqing begin to regret that they have tied the knot.
Maybe the reason for a high concentration of beauties here is the high humidity and the characteristic fogginess which prevents girls’ skin from exposure to sun and dry air. Or maybe it is spicy food which “burns” the fat and improves the circulation of blood. Whatever the reason is – Chongqing girls boast that they can eat a lot of hot-pot without any danger to their slim figures.
Also the temper of Chongqing girls is often compared to the spiciness of hot-pot. Humorous and frank, they are easy to show their hot temper but also are known to be loyal to their family and friends. If you fall in love with a Chongqing girl – it’s as incurable as falling in love with hot-pot.
If you happen to visit Chongqing – go to its central boulevard. You are guaranteed to have a mouthwatering experience – whether from eating hot-pot or watching the beautiful girls passing by.