We’ve all been to an all-you-can-eat buffet at some point and if you’re a germophobe and have never been, you’ve at least heard of one. Two nationwide chains, Golden Corral and Cici’s Pizza, both come to mind but there are thousands of local buffets spread across the United States.
Out of these non-chains, the majority happen to be Chinese restaurants. Let’s face it, there’s nothing like paying $10 to have an unlimited helping of wonton soup, General Tso’s chicken, fried rice, sushi, and even something hot and fresh off the Mongolian grill.
It turns out, Chinese buffets aren’t just popular in the States; they’re pretty popular in China, too. Over there, they’re called hot pots, and The Red Dragon is booming with them. A hot pot is basically a buffet at your table. Meats and vegetables are ordered then cooked in a hot pot filled with broth at your table.
It’s so popular in China, 20,000 hot pot restaurants are reported in the city of Chengdu alone. Chengdu has a population of more than 10 million, but 20K still seems like a high number. Actually, the city can knock that number down to 19,999 after one restaurant was forced to close its doors after finding itself $100,000 in debt after just two weeks.