Chilly weather is upon us in the northern hemisphere, and for China, that means hotpot season. Perfect timing then for the king of hotpot, Haidilao (海底捞), to announce some limited-edition merch that’s got Chinese netizens (and us) feeling like:
The hotpot chain, famous for its manicures and “noodle dances” (pictured above), released a range of tote bags…
…sticky notepads shaped like hotpot cauldrons…
…and our personal favorite, a pair of protective, hotpot-proof removable sleeves. Whip these babies out anytime you’re worried about getting chili oil spillage on your designer threads.
Added bonus is the fact that the sleeves are decorated with a clever Chinese play on words. Corrupt Qing Dynasty officials were known for hiding money in their large sleeves, so the chengyu (four-character phrase) on one sleeve, “两袖清风” (“two-sleeve breeze”) refers to an “honest official,” but also the fact that they’re probably “dirt poor.”
But the crowning jewel is, in fact, the jewelry. The earrings are shaped like an array of hotpot ingredients and they’re surprisingly… adorable?
These mushroom ones, though.
If you’ve never tried it, hotpot is a refreshingly communal mode of eating, in which guests cook vegetables, meat, and noodles inside a mini-cauldron of boiling broth. And while Haidilao is undoubtedly the global king of hotpot, in many ways the food isn’t even the main attraction at its outlets.
Haidilao: From a Humble Hotpot Restaurant to a Global Chain, via Manicures and Noodle Dances
Since the first Haidilao opened in 1994, the Sichuan chain changed the hotpot game through its gimmicky add-ons and free perks for guests in line — like massages and manicures — as well as through its popularity among students, reasonable prices, nightclub-like atmosphere, and (at many branches) 24-hour availability. There are now outlets in locations from London to Los Angeles — though it’s not clear at this point whether this merch will be available beyond select China stores and the chain’s WeChat shop.
All images: Haidilao Hot Pot WeChat account
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