Lonely Planet Writer

Celebrate Lunar New Year by soaking in a human hotpot tub

People in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang are set to celebrate Chinese New Year by taking a dip in a giant hotpot. Guests at the First World Hotel in Hangzhou were treated to a dip in a human-sized hotpot fashioned from one of the hotel’s hot spring pools.

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Guests enjoy the hotpot-shaped hot spring pool in Hangzhou. Image by Imagine China

Sometimes referred to as ‘Chinese fondue’, hotpot (火锅, huoguo) is a warming communal meal in which diners cook their own ingredients of meat and vegetables in a steaming pot of broth. The hotpot tub is based on one of the most popular versions, hailing from the city of Chongqing. The dish was designed to be shared among several families, with pots of broth sectioned off into nine square pots for easy access.

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The hotel said that it created the hotpot bath to promote a healthy lifestyle in the lead up to the New Year. Image by Imagine China

Though hotpot is not a traditional dish of Hangzhou, the city is known for its hot-spring spas in the surrounding mountains.

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This year will be the Year of the Pig. Image by Imagine China

First World Hotel created the hotpot tub in the lead up to Chinese New Year on Tuesday 5 February, when we will welcome the Year of the Pig. The hotel invited tourists whose benmingnian (本命年, zodiac year) falls in the Year of the Pig for a soak. Each of the nine Chongqing-style grid pots was filled with a different ingredient typical eaten in hotpot – such as chilli peppers and greens – or during Spring Festival, such as corn, apples and bananas. The hotel said that it created the hotpot bath to promote a healthy lifestyle in the lead up to the new year.