What are the “nine grids” of Chongqing hotpot used for?
The old Chongqing hotpot with nine grids
CHONGQING (CQNEWS) -- On the first day of the May Day holiday, the “nine grids” of Chongqing hotpot has become one of the top search queries. Actually, Chongqing hotpot stresses the hot food method of the nine grids, and the fact makes netizens realized that they may do wrong on Chongqing hot pot for many years. Let’s listen to the expert to explain the nine grids that everybody is familiar with!
At the beginning, there were only eight grids.
"The earliest nine grids were actually eight grids, with the middle as the pivot point and four axes dividing an iron pot into eight grids,” professor Lin Wenyu, director of Diet Culture Research Division of Chongqing Bayu Culture Research Institute, the writer of Chongqing in Hotpot said that. After the beef and mutton transported along the waterways of Sichuan and Guizhou were taken away, dock workers would pick up the organs and set up an iron pot to cook the organs with pepper and salt.
Since there are many people while eating hot pot, they would like to put four pieces of iron in the pot to part it, forming eight grids, and each person use one grid. That is the earliest hot pot, commonly known as "Water Eight".
Later, some peddlers began to carry a stove and a pot to sell “Water Eight” on the dock. Dock workers can't afford a whole pot themselves, so they preferred such a pot with eight grids that they can use and eat at their own grid.
The hot food dishes at that time were cattle's brains, blood and other cattle organs, but not including tripe, which was a sumptuous meal. While eight grids were not easy to make, it developed into nine grids later.
Old Chongqing people may do wrong on eating hot pot.
With the development of the society, eating hot pot is no more a sumptuous meal for ordinary people. When you eat hotpot with friends, the function of the grid is no longer to part people.
Therefore, many hotpot restaurants far from urban Chongqing have canceled the nine grids and diners directly use the same pot to eat.
While in urban Chongqing, the old hotpot is still a pot with butter flavor. At this time, the main function of the nine grids is to divide the hot food according to the heat requirement of different food.
“Why not to put our own food into the gird of our own?” When faces with such a question, Zhu Jiangyu, a manager of hotpot restaurant, always patiently teaches diners how to eat hotpot.
After listening to Zhu Jiangyu, a lot of Chongqing locals, also give a thumb-up, and say that "We have done wrong on eating hotpot for so many years”.
Nine grids method is actually very particular.
According to Zhu Jiangyu, the “nine grids” is the most authentic hotpot food method, and it is divided into the center grid, the cross grid and the four corners of the grid. The position of each grid is different, and the food requirement of heat and oil temperature are also different, thus different food material should be put into different grids.
“When you eat hotpot, do not overheat it. There is something for you to notice, if you want to have a good taste.”
For example, it is suitable for putting tripe, goose intestines, and so on into the middle of the grid with highest oil temperature so that you can eat the fresh and tender taste of food. You can also put in the green onion in the middle of the grid for extra flavour.
The crossbar with moderate oil temperature is suitable for those ingredients that need to be cooked for a long time, such as various kinds of meatballs, slippery type, old meat slices and so on.
While the four corners of the grid with lowest temperature is suitable for animal’s brains, fat sausage, duck blood and other food materials which needs to be simmer cooked.
The simple nine-grid Chongqing hotpot contains the laborers’ wisdom according to local conditions. At the same time, it also concentrates the development history of Chongqing hotpot and witnesses the development and change of the economy of Chongqing. (Translated by Luo Juan, Fathom Language Limited)