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  • Writer's pictureZhangjie Chen

You Don’t Like Eating Spicy Food, Do You?

你不喜欢吃辣,吗?([nǐ bù xǐhuān chīlà, duì ma?])

Your answer would probably be, “是的, 我喜欢 [shìde, wǒ xǐhuan].” (Yes, I do.) In that case, I recommend that you try Chinese Spicy Hot Pot (辣火锅 [là huǒ guō]). Spicy hot pot is the most famous dish in Sichuan. If you travel to Sichuan, which is the best location to see Pandas (熊猫[xióng māo] ), hot pot is a standard dish to try. You get a big spicy hot pot of boiling broth, a bunch of fun ingredients to cook in it, and an assortment of ingredients to make your own dipping sauce. At ReDefiners World Languages, we try to implement culture within our lessons. Hot Pot has so many diverse options that we had to rave about it! A hot pot experience is ultimately what you make of it.

A picture of a large bowl of Hot Pot. The pot itself has a five liter capacity, and it's filled with red, yellow, and green ingredients. There are chopsticks in the bowl at 1 o'clock. Surrounding the pot are several smaller bowls with dipping sauces and various cuts of meat.
Doesn't this look incredible?

This image is sourced from The Food Dictator. For more information, please visit this link.


Sentence Structure

“You don’t like eating spicy food, do you?” Is a tag question in English. How do we usually answer a tag question? Often, we just say “Yes” or “No.” In English, when you answer “Yes” for this question it can be misunderstood if the person does not clarify. In other words, the person will have to answer “Yes, I do not” or “Yes, I do,” placing stress on “Yes” to clarify whether they like or don’t like spicy food. However, when you answer this question yes (是 [shi]) in Mandarin, you mean you do not like spicy food. So be careful about answering this kind of question. In Mandarin, the opposite system of answering is used. This can lead to a lot of confusion! If you are crazy about spicy food, and if a waiter or waitress asks you this question, and you say yes (是 [shi]), then you may not eat any spicy food in this restaurantand that would be a pity.


Well, How Can I Order This Delicious Hot Pot Anyway?

You may be thinking that Hot Pot sounds incredible. In that case, here’s how to order this dish at a Chinese Hot Pot restaurant:

Step 1: You should choose a hot pot style with a different flavor soup base.

(Here we have added additional information about the heat and typical pungency level of each soup base/broth.)

Original Soup (yuan tang) ---------------------------------not spicy (bù là)

Spicy soup- SzeChuan Style (sì chuān má là)-------------- spicy ()

Tomato Soup (fān qié tāng)-----------------------------not spicy (bù la)

Mushroom Soup (mó gū tāng)-------------------------not spicy (bù la)

There are four pictures in a row, each showing a different bowl of soup. From left to right: yuan tang (Original Soup, a white soup with green and purple ingredients),  sì chuān má là (Spicy Soup, a reddish-brown soup),  fān qié tāng (Tomato Soup, a red soup with orange, green, and black ingredients), and mó gū tāng (Mushroom Soup, a dark purple soup with mushrooms and red garnishes)..
Which soup would you choose?

Step 2: Choose the meat you like.

A table displaying, from top to bottom, Beef brisket, Lamb brisket, Chicken brisket, and Pork belly.
Tantalizing options for your Hot Pot

Step 3: Choose vegetables.

Adding vegetables can elevate the flavor of the food and your overall Hot Pot experience. I recommend that you try vegetables in your Hot Pot if you can!

A bowl that has six varieties of Hot Pot vegetables, including lettuce, green onions, and three kinds of mushrooms.
Delicious Options for your Hot Pot

This image is sourced from Vicky Pham. For additional information, please visit

Vegetables----------------------------- 蔬菜 [shū cài]

Step 4: Choose the drink you like.

Another difference between China and the U.S. is that in China, the custom is to order your drink after ordering the main course.

A red drink can with large yellow Chines characters in the middle of the can and small, black Chinese characters on the sides. The can is floating in a pool of blue water.
Nothing like a good drink to go with your Hot Pot.

This media is derived from China Brand Guru. For more information, please visit this link.

I recommend 王老吉 [wáng lǎo jí] since it goes well with spicy Hot Pot.

✩Pro-tip: You don’t need to tip after eating at any restaurant in China. ✩


Now that we have discussed the different types of Hot Pot, as well as other items that can elevate their taste, we can honestly say that this is one of the most diverse Chinese dishes. You don't like eating Spicy Hot Pot, or do you? What is your answer in Chinese? Yes 是 [shi] or No 不是[bù shi]?


Interested in learning more vocabulary about how to order your favorite Chinese food? Come learn a new language with ReDefiners! We offer a variety of programs in Mandarin, Spanish, English, and Arabic. For more information, please contact

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