What to Eat: Chaoshan Beef Hot Pot

Beef Hot Pot 1
Dinner at Baheli Haiji Beef Hot Pot

Winter is coming and you need not look further than a bowl of hot pot to warm you up.

But today I don’t want to talk about Chongqing hot pot, which my hometown is famous for; I’d like to recommend my favorite hot pot——Chaoshan beef hot pot. Beef hot pot is a completely different from Chongqing hot pot.

Beef hot pot focuses on the ingredients themselves: the beef is fresh and high quality. The pot broth is beef bone combined with just a few slices of radish, celery and water. The sauce is simple but memorable, like a combination of shacha and chili sauces.

Especially in the cold winter of Shenzhen, it is a great idea to find a nearby Chaoshan beef restaurant, and invite friends for dinner. We need not pay attention to the surrounding environment. Just a simple beef hot pot above a stove is enough. Work troubles and the pressure of life all melt away as the pot heats up.


Chaoshan is a small city in Guangdong province. Chaoshan people place a greater demand on beef quality: yellow beef must be slaughtered and eaten in the same day. In addition, the time between slicing the ​​beef onto the plate cannot last too long, otherwise it will negatively affect the taste. Though the high quality of beef is a must, slicing techniques are also indispensable. The chef must be master of cutting beef by hand and never use a machine.

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“雪花” (pronounced xuehua) directly translates to ‘snowflake’ and is the uppermost part of the cow. It is located at the slightly protruding part of the cow’s neck, and often rich in fat. It is especially popular with local people for its tender chewiness. If you are lucky, you can eat it in the restaurant, but otherwise you will only see ‘sold out’ in beef hot pot restaurants. Note! You cannot directly put xuehua beef into the pot like vegetables. Put the fresh xuehua into the big strainer provided, and then dip the strainer into the pot. Time is very important, I advise you to count down from ten to zero together with your friends. Finally, it’s time to take out the strainer and enjoy your “snowflakes”.

“吊龙伴” (pronounced diao long ban) is a long cut of meat along the back of a cow, with the rib eye in the first half and sirloin in the second. It is the second most popular meat at beef hot pot. The strainer method is again required, this time counting down from fifteen.

“嫩肉” (pronounced nen rou) is a cut of the cow’s hind legs, fat and moderate, fresh and delicious. I suggest half a minute for this tender meat.

In addition to fresh-cut beef, the remainder of the beef and minced meat are thoroughly tempered and made as beef balls. Moreover, the restaurant also offers sirloin, beef tongue, beef heart, beef tendons, cattle tail and so on.

Side dishes

When eating Chaoshan beef hot pot, it is best to start from fattier cuts of beef and move to leaner ones, and then side dishes. Different from Chongqing hot pot, Chaoshan local people will not order too many side dishes. Instead two or three common dishes is suggested, so as not to overwhelm.

“腐竹” (pronounced fu zhu) or dried tofu skin roll, is the most common accompanying dish in beef hot pot, and is a favorite among my friends. In fact, they will ask for two orders every time we go to this restaurant. After boiling the golden crispy fried tofu skin rolls, it will fully absorb the mellow soup and taste quite delicious.

Do not forget there are white radish and corn in the pot. As boiled for a long time, it is soft and delicate.

The dipping sauce

Chaoshan city is the birthplace of shacha sauce. It mixes a multitude of ingredients like fish, dried shrimps, peanuts, white sesame, shredded coconut, onion, ginger, garlic, and much more. The flavor of beef complements the shacha sauce with a faint flavor of the sea. Those who like a spicier flavor will add a little hot pepper.

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Recommended restaurants

Chaoshan beef hot pot restaurants are everywhere in Shenzhen and generally are all of high quality. I would like to recommend the most popular one and the nearest one for PKU Shenzhen students.

八合里海记牛肉火锅 (Baheli Haiji Beef Hot Pot)
It is the most popular chain restaurant in Shenzhen as it is normal to wait for at least two hours. But I can promise that it is totally worthy if you want to try the most delicious beef hot pot.

Address: No. 108-4 Whitehead Island Food City, Shahe Street, Nanshan District, Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province,Phone: 0755-86719348
Price:Approx. 87 RMB per person

同益汕头牛肉火锅: Chaoshan Beef Hot Pot
It is the nearest one I have found around University Town, that still retains relative high quality. University students and Pingshan residents frequent this local favorite.

Address: 227 Dong, No.1 Pingshan Road, Taoyuan Street, Xili Town, Nanshan District, Shenzhen (near the south gate of HIT)
Price:Approx. 50 RMB per person


Reported by Wang Yi