Given the ethnic mix in Kunming’s population it is inevitable that there will be a large variety of hotpot restaurants in this City offering a diverse and seasonal selection of ingredients for hotpot meals particularly in the winter. Hotpot of course is a meal centered on a steaming pot of broth or stock (vegetable, poultry or beef or sheep) on the table in which a variety of raw ingredients which include both vegetables, mushrooms, finely sliced meat and poultry which are cooked in the broth or stock by the diners themselves, which in turn provides diner with the unique Hotpot Experience and taste especially during the winter season.
Here are some popular restaurants where visitors to Kunming can partake of what is probably best hotpot meals in Kunming.
Huize Mutton Restaurant
Add: 149, Jiaochangzhong Rd, Kunming
The mutton from Huize County is preferred by most gourmands as it does not have a strong flavor or taste usually associated with sheep and goat meat especially when it comes to the local delicacy, fried goat liver which is popular during the winter months.
The mutton used in this restaurant is exclusively sourced from goats locally raised in the deep mountains of Huize county (210 km from Kunming) where the rainfall is abundant, the sunshine is ample, and the vegetation is ideal for raising quality goats. It is worth mentioning that Huize bred goats are grazed in Damaidichong village of Ciba Town of Kunming where the nutrients in the rich pasture provide a very high quality of what qualifies as a "free range" product.
The mutton soup at the center of the hotpot meal in this restaurant is prepared with onion, garlic, Sichuan peppers, and cardamom and has a unique taste. Also included on the menu at this restaurant are scrumptious mutton ribs, fried goat kidneys and kebabs which are recommended.
De Xin Ao Niu Fu Beef Restaurant
Add: Shangdongcheng Residential Quarter, 44, Taixing Rd, Kunming
This restaurant specialises in fresh products imported from Australia including high quality beef, lamb and wine. It is of course one of the best restaurants for beef in Kunming given the food source.
The elegantly designed restaurant has succeeded in integrating the European and Australian styles. Diners should try the restaurants specialty: flaked beef.
"What we do is provide the diner with affordable, safe and tasty food," said the general manager of the restaurant. The restaurant offers budget set beef meals: one is 99 yuan/2 people, another one is 298 yuan/4 people.
Duo Ge Shui Dai Flavour Restaurant
Add 1: first floor, Lianqin Hotel, 2696, Dianmian Rd, Kunming
Add 2: 10 Sima Alley, near the Golden Horse and Jade Rooster Archways, Kunming
Visitors to Kunming should definitely sample the unique cuisine of the ethnic Dai people particularly their hotpot. There are many high quality Dai restaurants in Kunming and this restaurant is one of the best offering a selection of hotpots which are unique to the Dai people and which are in matters of taste style and flavor very different indeed from the Chongqing and Sichuan style hotpot.
The restaurant offers has four varieties (all of which are highly recommended) of the soup at the center of its hotpots:
1-Sour bamboo shoots (Suan Sun): whose principle ingredient is the tender appetizing sour bamboo shoot of Xishuangbanna in the south of Yunnan.
2-Coconut juice soup: 100 % made from coconut juice sourced from coconuts cultivated in the tropical south of Yunnan. Sweet and fragrant, this variety of hotpot which includes some local ingredients offers eaters a brand new taste.
3-Dried pickled vegetable soup: The soup is made from the traditional Dai ethnic pickled vegetables sourced from Xishuangbanna, Sour and spicy but in typical Dai style, this hotpot is a classic.
4-Passion fruit soup: It is the restaurants specialty and is easily the foundation of a unique meal which the diner will remember.
The restaurant offers Dai ethnic style hotpot meals ONLY in winter, and the budget is between 168-458 yuan for 2-7 people.
Lei Shen Hotpot Restaurant
Add: inside Jin Niu Wang Yue Restaurant, Xingyuan Rd, Kunming
Chongqing is best known style of hotpot. The Leishen Hotpot is the winner of "the most popular hotpot in China for 2014" and is regarded as the best hotpot brand in Chongqing. Since the year 2013, a nationwide campaign was launched to establish outlets of this restaurant in many Chinese cities such as Guiyang, Cuanjiang, Ziyang, Zhengzhou and Kunming etc. An annual dedicated hotpot festival is held to promote the Chongqing hotpot culture.
In this restaurant, one can enjoy the authentic Chongqing hotpot like beef, duck intestines, cattle stomach, bean curd, fish, crab and Chongqing beer etc. The average budget is 80 yuan/person.
Pao Ge Ma Tou Hotpot Restaurant
Add: road crossing of West Ring Rd and Ankang Rd (second floor of Fudian Bank), Kunming
The restaurant is the winner of "the most populous time-honoured hotpot of Chongqing for 2014". It is themed with the Bayu Culture which is one of the outstanding cultures in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. The snacks available in the restaurant are great especially the noodle, shrimps, glutinous rice cake and crispy fried pork. One can also try the drink ordered from Wuniangye brewery.
Xiao Ni Niu Beef Restaurant
Add: 003, 4th floor, Tower B, Building 2, Xindulongcheng, Beijing Rd, Kunming
The restaurant offers authentic Angus beef. Angus cattle are internationally acknowledged as a source of high quality beef and are crowned "the best among beef". The beef the restaurant serves comes from the ecological breeding base in Shilin County in the southeast of Kunming. In 2013, the Angus beef was granted status of National Organic Verification of China. Of course, comparing to luxurious hotel restaurants, this restaurant is worth the price for people who want to enjoy high quality beef hotpot at a reasonable price.
Le Tang Chong Shan Wild Mushroom Restaurant
Add: 104 Longkang Rd, Kunming
The wild mushrooms are special treats for visitors to Yunnan in the season of summer. But, most wild mushrooms are vacuum stored for further uses with nearly the primitive taste. In Kunming, many theme restaurants like those at Guanshang area serve wild mushroom hotpot. What is special in this restaurant is the braised wild mushroom hotpot with picked vegetables.
"The hotpot in our restaurant uses the traditional ways of the Yi ethnic group for preparing mushrooms," said the boss of the restaurant, "At the same time, we add nutritious home raised chicken, making the dish a little sour but very nutritious."