Hot pot is more than one specific dish—it’s a style of cooking. If you’ve never experienced hot pot, it’s good to know what to expect before visiting a hot pot restaurant.

In its simplest form, hot pot is made up of fresh meats, veggies and noodles all doused in a delicious soup base. Typically, the soup base—or multiple bases, depending on the size and tastes of the party—sits in a large pot in the middle of the table; guests place their selection of delicately sliced marbled meats, crisp vegetables, fresh seafood and handmade noodles in the broth and let it all simmer. When the ingredients are cooked to their liking, it’s time to enjoy!

Hot Pot Can Be Enjoyed in Any Weather, but It’s Known for Being a Wintertime Staple

True to its name, hot pot is especially suited for cold weather. The soup bases often include a variety of peppers and spices and the result can be a very warming dish—both physically and on the Scoville (aka spicy heat) scale. If you’re new to hot pot, we recommend starting with our house-made half & half soup base paired with a platter of our all-natural premium lamb.

Hot Pot’s got a Long History

Hot Pot can be traced back to more than 1,000 years, as Mongol horsemen traveled through China. Because the riders didn’t have cooking utensils, they would simmer meat and vegetables in their in their overturned helmets, creating their own unique dishes by adding local ingredients.

You Might Encounter Some Interesting Ingredients, and that’s OK

A meal at your typical Chinese hot pot restaurant can run the full range of flavors, including some interesting ingredients that you may not be familiar with. For those who like their meal on the fiery side, a spicy crimson broth can be ordered with “mala” chili oil and peppercorns. Your proteins can range from the mundane—scallops, tiger prawns and tofu—to the more eccentric, like chicken feet or duck tongue. Your best bet in creating a unique flavor experience is to choose your protein with an open mind—who knows what new flavors you might discover you love?

With over 30 locations throughout North America, Little Sheep specializes in a traditional Inner Mongolian hot pot cuisine featuring tabletop cooking and served in a traditional metal pot with herbs and spices. Grab family or friends and find a Little Sheep Hot Pot near you.