Bad news: hotpot may pose risks to your health, and here’s why

Sorry to disappoint all hotpot lovers, but they aren’t as “healthy” as you think, despite it consisting mainly of fresh meat, vegetables, and soup.

With Chinese New Year right around the corner, we expect to have many rounds of hotpot with our friends and relatives, unaware of the insidious “enemy” lurking in the festive meal: sodium. According to this report from Mount Alvernia Hospital, the amount of sodium in a typical hotpot broth only is 7,000mg, which exceeds our recommended daily intake of 2,000mg by three times!

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Sodium per serving of broth

The organisation also provided a table that explains the amount of sodium in a 100g serving of hotpot broth, most of which surpasses our supposed daily limit:

Tomato soup – 3,840mg
Spicy Hotpot – 2,800mg
Mushroom – 5,723mg
Seafood – 7,647mg
Laksa – 2,155mg
Spicy Sichuan – 5,889
Chicken – 9,890mg
Bah Kut Teh – 1,278mg

Some soup bases like the Spicy Sichuan, Spicy Hotpot and Laksa, although admittedly the most indulgent, contain the highest amount of fat that comes from the chili oils and coconut milk, in addition to the mountains of sodium in it. Instead, Mount Alvernia suggests opting for clear and light soup bases as much healthier substitutes that are no less delicious.

Hotpot ingredients

What about the hotpot ingredients, you ask? Mount Alvernia recommends low calorie and fat options such as tofu, fresh vegetables and lean meat as the main ingredients in the hotpot. On the contrary, stay away from processed food such as canned items, hot dogs, and meatballs, as well as meat with high fat content, like pork belly or innards. We compiled a list of hotpot ingredients and its calories below.

Pork Belly (50g) – 230 calories
Offal and innards (50g) – On average about 100 calories
Tofu (50g) – 38 calories
Vegetables (50g) – 33 calories
Meatballs (50g) – 99 calories

For more hotpot do’s and don’ts, visit see the report by Mount Alvernia Hospital.We are also reminded to limit our tendencies to include fried foods as side dishes, choose less oil-based dipping sauces, as well as sweet drinks to go with the meal. These can cause weight-gain, bloating and even risk of heart disease, so steer clear if you want to ensure less disease risk and perfectly fitting new year clothes!

All these being said, we know that you are going tease your friends (who are having hotpot with you) about the amount of sodium you’re consuming, but still going to continue having hotpot every other day. So, here’s other articles you’d probably be interested in too: