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History of Hot Pot: Recipe Invented by Mongol Horsemen Out of Necessity Cooked in Their Helmets

History of Hot Pot: Recipe Invented by Mongol Horsemen Out of Necessity Cooked in Their Helmets

“Food brings people together on many different levels. It’s the nourishment of the soul and body; it’s true love.” These words by Giada De Laurentiis hold for the dish of Hot Pot as it holds together a generation of people brought closer together by one binding force Hot Pot. It’s a perfect dish for cold and dingy days to boost your morale and lift your spirits and drive the blues away from life. Your cold can be cured and friendships forged with this magnificent dish.

The Hot Pot has a rich heritage of at least a thousand years. It has been said that the Hot Pot has its inception because of the efforts of the Mongol soldiers who in a way to unite their soldiers started cooking food in a huge pot together while being warmed by the fire. This increased solidarity and unity amongst the troops and strengthened bonds among the men.

What is Hot Pot?

The Chinese delicacy is composed of a flavorful broth with varied ingredients all boiling and blending together creating a huge meal for people to enjoy. In a Hot Pot, several ingredients like vegetables, and meat like beef, pork, and chicken with a variety of spices are combined, simmered, and enjoyed while it’s steaming in the Hot Pot.

Usually, the added food products include raw meat like beef or pork, leafy vegetables, eggs and tofu, and even seafood like fish, prawn, etc. Thus this dish has several different flavors coming together to create a mouth-watering effect.

What is the History Behind Hot Pot?

The Hot Pot belongs to the era of the Zhou dynasty. The nobility and royalty got together for strategic purposes and cooked food using bronze pots named Ran lu in their dialect. Later in the three kingdoms period from 200 to 280 AD the pot was switched to copper which solidified the roots of the Hot Pot in China forever. As the Chinese immigrants moved away from their beloved homeland, they introduced other cultures to the beauty of the Hot Pots.

Another interesting history regarding the Hot Pot is that Hot Pot is at least eight hundred to one thousand years old. Think about the legacy and rich heritage that must accompany the tradition of eating Hot Pot.

The country that owes its inception to Kublai khan and his grandfather Genghis Khan also owes the “Mongol Horsemen” a debt of gratitude who invented the idea of the Hot Pot as well, but out of necessity instead of the royal ways of the nobility and their enjoyment of Hot Pot. After fighting in the wars all day, the exhausted Mongol soldiers pooled all their resources together during the winter.

The food stocks and utensils were scarce to find in the dead of the winter amongst the battlefields, the soldiers unitedly poured all the meat and vegetables they had left into their helmets and cooked them on fire. This provided them with warmth and allowed them to seek comfort in each other's company after the annihilation in the battles. Thus the advent of Hot Pot was put forward for the world to enjoy and revel in.

Hot Pot in China

As the origin of the Hot Pot, China has elaborate differences in how the dish is cooked and consumed according to areal differentiation. Food enthusiasts have found a variety of at least sixty-seven spices being used for cooking Hot Pots. The southern china people call it “Chongqing” hot pot for instance and use chili peppers with Sichuan peppers for increased spice levels. The variety of spices pairs well with the meat and increases the aroma and the taste of the Hot Pot. They also have intricate dipping sauces that go along with them made out of finely minced garlic, sesame oil, and chopped spring onions.

The northern style Hot Pot focuses on the main ingredients rather than the soup base. Thus water is the major component of the broth with special attention to the meats and vegetables added instead. It pays proper attention to the mutton which is typically used in this style of Hot Pot. The Manchu Hot Pot and the Hubei Hot Pot, both part of the northern style, use sauerkraut and other ingredients like mushrooms, green leafy vegetables, and thinly sliced beef or pork.

Japan and Korean

The Hot Pots in Japan are referred to as “nabemono” and use varied ingredients found in Japan like sukiyaki, oden, shabu-shabu, etc... In contrast, the Koreans use ingredients found in their country instead like kimchi, sausage, ramyeon, and spam. Thus they call it the “Jeongal”.


Hot Pots in the Philippines are widely available in Chinese restaurants. They call it the “Shabu-Shabu '' instead and use a ceramic pot filled to the brim with ingredients like cooked rice, meats like beef, pork, chicken, distinct sauces, and even fresh vegetables like shallot, onions, carrots, and broccoli, etc.


Hot Pots are prevalent and distinct from their Chinese and Japanese counterparts in Thai culture. There is a splash of Thai culture with their dipping sauce piled with chili sauce, coriander, etc. Their meats are also finely sliced, minced, then added to the pot, and cooked in clay pots under coal instead.


In swiss culture, the Hot Pots derive inspiration from the Chinese origin of the dish. The Swiss people call it the Chinese fondue, a perfect combination of the Chinese flavor and swiss splash for people to bond over and enjoy.

The huge pot gathers various ingredients like vegetables, meat, and fish with various condiments and side sauces to go along with this variant of the Hot Pot. They pair it with noodles and consume it as a popular Christmas dish because of all its steaming goodness.

Parting Note

The Hot Pot is not just a dish it’s a culinary heaven of shared laughs, memories, and warmth. If you want to forge relationships with people that last forever, then Hot Pots are the perfect dish for you. You might cook it with your loved ones and enjoy your efforts together or you could visit a popular Chinese restaurant or maybe even take out if your group of people includes introverted people. The Hot Pots are widely known to resolve bad feelings and bring people closer together.

You might also wanna tap into your culture if you have moved away from your hometown. Your parents might want to indulge in the good old feeling of nostalgia by sharing Hot Pot with you and your besties. Thus no matter the experience, hot pots might be the dish for you.

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