Chinese city turns up the hygiene heat on hotpot restaurants to protect foreign stomachs

Chongqing tells catering industry that leftover soup and cooking oil are now off the table

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 October, 2017, 5:10pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 May, 2018, 6:45pm

Restaurants in the Chinese megacity of Chongqing are banned from serving up leftover soup stock or cooking oil from previous customers under new guidelines for serving hotpot, Chongqing Daily reported on Friday.

Chongqing is the nation’s hotpot capital, with more than 30,000 restaurants serving the regional delicacy, and the new hygiene rules – the first in country – are designed in part to help inexperienced foreign diners fend off food poisoning.

According to the regulations, raw hotpot ingredients such as tripe, duck intestines and offal must now be washed separately from other ingredients to prevent contamination.

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In addition, restaurant staff must advise foreign diners on how long to dip raw ingredients in the boiling soup to prevent food poisoning from undercooked meat, the report said.

Staff must also help foreign diners adjust the hotpot flame, add ingredients and stir the soup at regular intervals to ensure the “best dining experience”.

The multibillion-yuan hotpot industry is big business in Chongqing, accounting for 38.8 per cent of the city’s catering industry.

It has become the fastest-growing sector of the city’s consumer market, according to a member of the municipal government’s business committee.