Hot pot and dry pot are two different yet equally treasurable ways to enjoy time and delicious food with your friends, family, and loved ones. Dry pot and hot pot are two must-try dishes originating from China, i.e., Sichuan province and Chongqing municipality. These delicious pots bring groups together, offer food and flavor variety while indulging in one lovely mix of characters and tales told across a communal pot of nutritious zest. 

Deciding on hot or dry pot is at the mercy of the group’s preference. If you’re debating on which to go for, check out what insight our experts have to share so you can plan the perfect night out (or in!) for you and your family or friends. 

Sichuan hot pot

Hot pot is notorious in Chinese culture and one of the most beloved ways to pass time with people you love. Traditionally, this dish is served by placing a pot of spicy, hot broth at the center of the table, petaled by an assortment of ingredients to dip in the broth to cook. Ingredients range from thinly sliced meats to eggs and vegetables.

Once the ingredient of the eater’s choice is cooked, it gets dipped in one of several sauces at the table. Each combination of ingredients, cooking time, and dipping sauce provides a new flavor experience. At the same time, everyone around the table is eating through the same motion and relishing a similar spicy sensation from the broth.

Zhen Wei Fang’s Signature Sichuan Spicy Pot

At Zhen Wei Fang, our guests are served with pots according to their own preference of the selection of the stock.

As the base of our stock, we use various fresh ingredients cooked for at least 24 hours without any artificial flavors and add-ons. The most popular pot is our signature Sichuan Spicy Pot, as well as two vegan’s choices, tomato spicy pot and mushroom pot. We are the only restaurant that provides hand-cut beef and hand-cut lamb by using air-chilled meat directly from the local farm.

Our hotpot ingredients include selected American Angus beef, beef tongue, Australian wagyu beef, and Japanese A5 Wagyu Beef imported from Japan. These hand-selected meats, marbled with snowflake-like fat, plus carefully prepared beef soup, fragrant chili oil seasoning, and special sauce made by our chef, will bring you a sense of happiness a few seconds after you put it into the pot, leaving you with a melted mouthfeel and mellow and thick fragrance. 

The lamb imported from New Zealand and Australia is extremely tender, with no trace of rank odor. Only coupled with a little homemade sesame paste mix, it will give you a tasty, melted mouthfeel. 

The seafood is served based on the change of seasons. The hand-made fish paste and octopus paste are prepared, cooked, and served upon order. The organic live mushrooms are picked when ordered and are the freshest you can eat in NY. Our home-made XO sauce pairs perfectly with any seafood, vegetarian/vegan, and tofu products.

At both restaurants, Zhen Wei Fang located in the heart of NYC and Da Tang Zhen Wei located in Miami, we make everything from scratch and in the house to make sure we are providing a natural, delicious, healthy, high-quality ingredients. All the ingredients we use are purchased from carefully-selected local vendors, not only to support local businesses but also to make sure the freshness of the ingredients is on point.

Chinese dry pot

Dry pot, on the other hand, is just as it sounds: dry and served without broth. But make no mistake, serving the pot without the liquid broth detracts not an ounce of flavor. When the pot is served dry, everything inside has already been cooked and sizzled to spicy perfection.

Still choosing bites from a pot at the center of the table, everyone in the group gets to taste the same ingredients and infamously lip-numbing flavors. So, how can you possibly decide which to choose between these two tempting options? Let’s take a look at perks and occasions for each.

At Zhen Wei Fang and Da Tang Zhen Wei, everything is prepared per guest’s preference on the ingredients selection. It will be cooked and served upon order.

The special sauce to go with the dishes contains more than 20 different herbs and spices, all purchased locally. The rich aromas and tender, flavorful meat and veggies mingle harmoniously, and even if your mouth might go numb from the heatwave of Szechuan peppercorns, you still can’t help yourself to indulge in the second round.

Chinese dry pot

The difference in Chengdu’s hot pot and dry pot

Whether it hails from Chengdu or Chongqing, the hot pot and Chinese dry pot center around the perfectly mixed spicy ingredients. The difference between hot and dry pot can mostly be bottled down to eating experience and ingredient selection. Both have their benefits and cater to particular group interests.

Hot pot characteristics

  • Selective ingredients

The way Sichuan hot pot cuisine is served grants everyone at the table full autonomy over which ingredients and flavors they choose to eat. This makes hot pot one of the best meals to share with a group of picky or restricted eaters.

  • Do-it-yourself experience

If your group is okay with a DIY fondue style meal, then they’ll love everything about hot pot. Selecting each ingredient to cook in the pot and then pairing with a sauce to eat is a hands-on and fun activity to embrace as part of the meal. 

Dry pot characteristics

  • Group ingredients

Your group gets to predetermine the meats and veggies that are cooking in the spicy broth. There’s still a variety (usually three to six ingredients), but it’s better for a group to agree on the same meats and veggie preferences. 

  • Served ready to eat

Guests can still dip dry pot ingredients into their sauce of choice which is fun, but the cooking and waiting portion of the meal is eliminated, making it better for groups hungry and ready to eat!

Zhen Wei Fang is a new way to experience authentic Chinese food with a French and Japanese twist. The culinary combination is as curious and tasty as our dining experience that features a robotic hostess in an eclectic upscale setting on the Bowery. 

Dine with us at Zhen Wei Fang to test your palette for hot pot and dry pot, and experience an infusion of Asian culture in the culinary heart of New York. To make a reservation, call us at (646) 681-7580 or (646) 760-8369.