Ding Ding Xiang
This Beijing institution continues to expand its empire,with a number of branches now open around town. The restaurant is a multiple winner of the "Best Hot Pot" in the Beijinger annual Reader Restaurant Awards, and it’s clear why: Thick, flavorsome dippingsauce, reasonable prices, and a clean, lively ambiancein which to boil up your meal DIY style. Start by cooking the meat, which adds flavor to the soup, then add some veg and get dipping!
Daily 10.30am-2pm, 4.30-10pm. North of Yuyang Hotel, 8 Zhongjie Xinyuanli, Chaoyang District. (6465 0514); 珍滋味港式火锅, 朝阳区新源里中街8号鼎鼎香
Okay, so fondue isn’t hot pot, but it’s the European equivalent. Sample the Swissotel’s delicious and cheesy version of this winter classic. The sauce is made of melted cheese seasoned with garlic flakes and white wine. Diners can dip chunks of bread and vegetables to their heart’s content – who cares about fat content when bite sized parcels of veg taste this good? Alternatively, opt for a sweet chocolate fondue – perfect for a treat on a chilly afternoon.
Daily 11.30am-2pm, 5.30-10pm. 2 Chaoyangmen Beidajie, Dongcheng District. (6553 2288); 港澳中心瑞士酒店, 东城区朝阳门北大街2号
Delicious, bite-sized sushi rolls aside, this Californian sushi restaurant offers something rather unique on its menu: Paper pot hot pot. Yes, you read correctly – the container used in this hot pot is made of paper. Japanese paper hot pot limits the amount of fat diners can consume in one sitting, giving it an advantage over its bronze or earthenware counterparts. If you don’t pierce the pot with your chopstick, it can go on burning for around three hours. In keeping with the traditional Japanese diet, seafood and vegetables are the main ingredients. This lighter version is usually only part of a meal and ordered in addition to other dishes.
Daily 11.30am-2pm, 5.30-10pm. 2/F, Heqiao Bldg C, 8A GuanghuaLu, Chaoyang District. (6581 3939); 隐泉日本料理, 朝阳区光华路甲8号和乔大厦C座2层. See Directory or Feature (p71) for other location.
Pure Lotus Vegetarian
This newer Holiday Inn Lido location supplements the original venue near the Tuanjiehu Subway stop intersection. Pure Lotusoffers a serene dining experience with exquisite meat-free versions of Chinese classics made from vegetables, as well as tofu in its infinite forms. A close cousin to hot pot, try the "cheese" fondue made from wheat bran, oil leaf, and olive oil – it’s a none-too-bad substitute for the real thing.
Daily 11am-11pm. 3/F, Holiday Inn Lido, Jiangtai Lu, Chaoyang District (8703 6668, 6437 6288); 朝阳区丽都假日饭店三层,首都机场将台路净心莲
Daily 11.30am-midnight. 1A Gongti Beilu,
Chaoyang District (8454 3838); 朝阳区工体北路甲1号兆龙饭店对面
This place specializes in Korean-style hotpots, with large chunks of beef, potato and tofu stewed in a thick soybean paste soup base. At the table, there is often the option of cooking thinner slices of raw meat and vegetables in the stew. Needless to say, kimchi flavors are prevalent and a hearty appetite is required.
Daily 11am-10pm. 1-09, Bldg 1, 39 Courtyard, Shenlu Jie, Chaoyang District (8561 2577);
Also check out Hai Di Lao Hot Pot.