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Hotpot becomes the most popular meal in Chinese restaurants

China is home to diverse regional cuisines and a growing foreign food scene, but nothing tops the hotpot ritual of placing fresh ingredients into a boiling broth, according to a new survey.

Hotpot was originally eaten to stave off the winter cold, but has become a favorite year-round food in China. Famous hotpot chains often have long lines of people waiting hours to get a table, even on scorching summer days.

Much of hotpot's popularity comes from the participatory nature of the cooking process and time available for socializing. Friends and family sit around a pot of boiling broth, dropping meat, vegetables and other ingredients in to cook and absorb the flavors. While the food cooks, diners chat and socialize.

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