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Where are the best places to taste Chinese hotpot in Germany?

Paul Krantz
Paul Krantz - [email protected]
Where are the best places to taste Chinese hotpot in Germany?
A diner drops a roll of thinly sliced beef into boiling broth. Photo by chupanhstudio | Pixabay

Chinese hotpot has gained international popularity in recent years, including here in Germany. But where are the best places to taste it in Germany?

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Called huǒguō (火锅) in Chinese, hotpot refers to a meal of meats, vegetables and mushrooms that are cooked in a rich, often spicy, broth and eaten with sauce. 

The “hotpot” refers to the large basin of broth, which is kept at a boil on the table, so that diners can cook the raw ingredients to their liking. Oftentimes the basin is split into two separate halves so that diners can have both spicy and savoury broths side by side.

If you’ve ever tried Japanese shabu-shabu, then you’ll find this style of cooking to be similar.

The origin of hotpot is thought to date back to around 200 AD, but it began gaining popularity in the west in the 1990s, brought to western countries by Chinese immigrants.

While still largely unknown to many Germans, hotpot has certainly gained notoriety in Deutschland in recent years. A number of new hotpot-specific restaurants have popped up in Berlin and other German cities recently.

Note that hotpot is designed to be shared among small groups of people. You can order a hotpot for two, but it's not a dish for one. So you’ll want to save this experience for a date, or a meal out with friends.

Here are a few places to try hotpot in Germany:

XiaoLongKan (ShooLoongKan) in Berlin, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf 

Among China’s biggest hotpot restaurant chains, Xiaolongkan (written as ShooLoongKan in Berlin) operates three German franchises – in Berlin, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf.

Xiaolongkan is an obvious first choice for both hotpot veterans and first-times alike. The base soups are solid – with chilli, tomato and mushroom options – and the ingredients are fresh and beautifully presented. 

Additionally, the atmosphere is impressive. A review on the restaurant’s website notes: “The design inside looks exactly like in hot pot restaurants in China.'' Which makes sense, considering that Xiaolongkan operates many of those hotpot restaurants in China. Still, between the red and gold colours, the ornamental tables and lanterns, and the selection of food and drinks not found elsewhere in Germany, the dining experience here feels otherworldly.

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Note that the chilli broth comes in three levels of spiciness, and that the spice levels are based-on a Chinese palette – it is not reduced to accommodate German sensibilities. So if you order the chili broth, expect heat.

Lucky Star in Berlin

Located on Friedrichstrasse in Berlin’s Mitte neighbourhood, Lucky Star is a time tested local favourite.

Its interior is not as flashy as some of Germany's newer hotpot restaurants, but what it lacks in looks it more than makes up for in price and quality.

As opposed to other hotpot restaurants where diners pay by the item, Lucky Star offers all-you-can-eat hotpot for €22,80 per person, making it one of the most affordable hotpot spots you can find. 

In addition to hotpot, Lucky Star also offers a rather extensive menu and Chinese and Szechuan dishes. 

AI generated image of hotpot

An AI generated image of hotpot. Image by Deeznutz1 | Pixabay

Berlin’s recent hotpot additions

In Berlin especially, the hotpot trend has really taken off in recent years with a number of new restaurants popping up recently.

A few of the other highly rated options include Ting Song in Charlottenburg and Huotang on Kurfürstendamm. Both locations offer refined, if wildly different aesthetic experiences: Ting Song describes its ambiance as “cozy and poetic” – think wooden tables and with white walls and traditional Chinese art – whereas Huotang looks very modern and colourful.

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Another recent opener is Hotpot & Nudeln in the Friedrichshain neighbourhood. The favourite menu item here is a little different – its malatang rather than huǒguō hotpot.

Malatang (麻辣烫) is named for the mala pepper that gives the soup a spicy and numbing flavour. But more practically, this malatang is served in an individual bowl rather than a massive basin of broth to be shared around the table, making Hotpot & Nudeln a good choice for single diners with a craving for hotpot.

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Chois Hotpot & Lounge and malatang options in Munich

Residents of Munich don’t need to venture far to tuck into some hot and spicy broth – Chois Hotpot & Lounge serves up all-you-can-eat hotpot right on Tumblingerstraße, near the Goetheplatz U-bahn station.

Chois offers a unique pacing structure to its all-you-can-eat menu, by bringing a new round of dishes out every 15 minutes for up to two hours, as long as guests are still hungry.

Munich is also home to a number of small malatang restaurants, such as YGF or Mr. Mala Hotpot, which are humble little restaurants quickly serving up individual soups.

In many malatang restaurants, you’ll find an assortment of raw meats, seafoods, vegetables and mushrooms offered in a self-service buffet counter. You fill up a bowl with whatever you want and then choose a flavour of broth. The cook will then boil the contents of your bowl in the broth you selected and serve you a bowl of hotpot soup.

In this case, you are charged according to the weight of the ingredients you select.

READ ALSO: 'Meat drowned in sauce' - Germany's biggest food culture shocks for foreigners

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