The spicy taste of Chongqing cuisine is famous, which is sometimes even spicier than Sichuan cuisine. If you’ve eaten a Chongqing style meal and found it too bland, then you are probably not eating an authentic Chongqing style meal. Chili peppers and prickly ash are used in many dishes, giving it a distinctively spicy taste, called ma in Chinese. After eating a spicy meal a common result is a slightly numb sensation in the mouth.
Due to global trade in the 18th century peppers were brought to China from the Americas which had an immediate impact on Chongqing excellent cuisine. (sounds less negative than the previous sentence) Chongqing hot pots are perhaps the most famous hotpots in the world, so be warned about the potential for extreme pleasure and pain.
Hot pot is undoubtedly the leader of all Chongqing cuisine; it was originally made by the boatmen and boat trackers to defend against the freezing weather. Today it is identified as the main local food for the region. Due to the scorching nature of the Hot Pot, it is believed that the boatmen seldom had their meals indoors, and as a consequence it is assumed to have originally been eaten by poor boatmen of the Yangtze River in the Chongqing area. Due to the popularity of the dish and human migration, the style of Hot Pot then spread westwards to the rest of Sichuan. The dish has now grown very popular, and is a very recognizable local favorite which can be found at every corner of the city. There are a great variety of hotpots, including Yueyang Hotpot, Four Tastes Hotpot, Yashan Hotpot and Fish Head Hotpot. If you are adventurous enough, you can basically cook anything with hot pot, e.g., pig's brain and duck's kidney.
Chongqing people love their hotpot, especially when the weather is steamy; as the fire dances under the pot the heavily oiled and spiced soup boils, the people are bathed in sweat and the aromas produced by the hot pots hazy steam create an atmosphere of wellbeing. Although hotpot can be found everywhere in street vendors or small restaurants, Chongqing Hot Pot is the accepted as being the most popular style with the greatest variety and is celebrated for its delicious soup base and dipping sauce.
The other famous local food is hot and spicy Mala Tang. Literally, "ma" means numbness in the mouth, "la" is chelloli (Do you mean CHILI?) hot and "tang" means piping hot. Mala Tang has various raw ingredients cooked in a communal pot of steaming stock, blended with spices which originated in Sichuan's largest city, Chongqing. The double-sided soup pot, is placed on a central table burner, and is the focal point of the meal. Powerfully hot Mala Tang soup and fresh tasting chicken broth, served together is incredibly popular. Ingredients include; fresh sliced abalone, sea cucumber, hog tendon, Beijing cabbage, beef dumpling, prawns, carp fish fillet, bean curd, chicken fillet and vegetables. The excellent dipping mixture of sesame oil, Chili sauce, peanut sauce, chopped Chilies and garlic when combined together make magic. Savory tidbits are incredibly appetizing; egg coated glutinous squares, crispy spring rolls, fried buns, eight treasure black rice and water chestnut jelly. Any meal in Chongqing is bound to be a great tasting cultural experience!