Food critic Chua Lam in hot water over hotpot criticism

HONG KONG – The countdown has begun for a favourite reunion meal – hotpot – for many Chinese families on the eve of Chinese New Year next month.

The method of cooking raw food in boiling hot soup has also spawned successful chains like Coca and Haidilao in Singapore.

But Chua Lam, a famous Hong Kong restaurant critic and TV personality, has poured cold water over this treat, describing it as a cooking method “totally lacking in cultural significance”.

“You just throw some ingredients into a pot. I don’t get what’s delicious about it. If hotpot fandom continues to grow, you’ll see fewer and fewer chefs in the years to come,” he said on Chinese talk show Day Day Up.

According to The Guardian, one of the hosts had asked him what dish he would like to see go extinct, and he had mentioned “hotpot”.

His comments made many viewers hot under the collar.

One person posted online: “Chinese hotpot has an abundance of cultural significance, from its broth to the order that you put ingredients into various sauces.

“Trashing hotpot exposed your ignorance and your inability to discover cultural details in things.”

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