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Watch: We Tried Self-Heating, Instant Hotpot

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We Tried is a series where RADII staff try out unique foods, experiences, and phenomena in China. Drop us a line if you have a suggestion.

Hotpot is a time-honored Chinese culinary classic, where folks take turns cooking meats and vegetables in a huge bowl of boiling broth at the center of their table. The meal usually lasts several hours, and involves more than a little beer.

But we’re speeding along toward 2020, and the future is now: self-heating, instant hotpot meals are here. Just pour room temperature water onto the admittedly suspicious packet of chemicals, and those fumes will boil a bunch of soup for you. No longer must you block off the better part of your evening in order to eat boiled veggies with friends — now you can do so right from the comfort of your own home, alone. Just how you like it.

Major brands have been getting in on the action, the most notable of which is Haidilao, the eccentric hotpot chain which, after opening an outlet in NYC and taking the lead in the self-heating hotpot craze, has now basically seized international ownership of hotpot.

We buckled up to try the new self-heating hotpots, and find out how they stack up against the real thing.

RADII China
China from all angles.

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