One kind of food absolutely dominates China’s restaurant industry

Mmmm…which one?
Mmmm…which one?
Image: Reuters/Bobby Yip
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For all of China’s delicacies, the country’s favorite food is steaming broth with meat and vegetables.

Last year, Chinese people spent 3.5 trillion yuan ($507 billion) dining out. Of its many types of cuisines and restaurants, hot pot was the most popular, eating 22% of market share, according to a May 10 report (link in Chinese) by Beijing-based Dianping and Meituan, which offers food-ordering and delivery services. Behind hot pot was the buffet, followed by the cuisine of Sichuan, the southwestern province of China known for its mouth-numbingly spicy dishes.

One of China’s most well-known hotpot chains, Sichuan Haidilao, has created an empire of 185 outlets (link in Chinese) over 20 years, both at home and abroad. The company is expected to see revenue of 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) this year, a 30% jump from 2016, the company’s chairman Zhang Yong said in an April interview with Bloomberg.