As the weather has turned cold, there is truly one suitable meal that warms the cockles of your heart and brings people together – Hot Pot or huo guo. Hot Pot is perhaps one of the most widely enjoyed meals in China. You can travel as far north as Mongolia to find this popular dish, go west to Sichuan, even way down south in the warm climates of Hong Kong you will be able to find Hot Pot in some various iteration. And it doesn’t stop there. It goes by the name Steamboat in some Southeast Asian countries and nabemono in Japan, with varieties including Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki. Go to Korea, Vietnam, and even Thailand, and you can find their own versions of this broth-based meal. Sure, China remains famous for dumplings, dim sum, and other tasty delicacies, but if you are a foreigner residing in China, you have certainly at one point or another come across the ubiquitous presence of Hot Pot.
Let’s pause for a little bit of history on this steaming delight. It’s widely believed to have been introduced by the Mongolian nomads over a thousand years ago. One version puts forth that Mongol warriors couldn’t be bothered to carry cooking utensils, so they rigged their shields over the fire to sear meat and turned their helmets upside down to boil the soup (which was essentially water). This early Hot Pot included a wide variety of whatever meats were on hand, but generally mutton was favored. Hot Pot slowly trickled south, and by the Tang Dynasty, it had become famous. During the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty, Hot Pot flourished, certainly due in part to who ruled the country, and when the Qing Dynasty hit, regional varieties could be found in all the four corners of China.
Most people know very little of this history, but what they do know is that when winter rolls around, it’s time to fire up those burners and gather around a steaming pot of broth with their near and dear ones. Sit huddled around a pot for a few hours and you will slowly perform a striptease of all your many winter layers. Things have really changed in a thousand years though. A round table houses a now modern mechanized burner that heats a giant metal pot containing a broth, and sometimes two, in which you can cook a colorful array of chosen meats, seafood, vegetables, noodles, and other accoutrements. (What would a Mongolian of the old school have to say about an induction tabletop burner???) Condiments are on hand to make a sauce for you to dip your cooked goodies in, after which each person can drink the flavorsome soup. Hot Pot is not a meal for a single person. There have been more and more mini Hot Pot restaurants popping up in recent years – something about them being more hygienic and giving everyone the chance to make their own choices – but Hot Pot is a communal meal meant to be shared with friends and family in a fun and lively atmosphere. These places just kill that experience.
The sheer size of China means that there are many regional varieties of Hot Pot to try; all are worthy of your taste buds. And while there are many types of Hot Pot, most dining experiences go pretty much the same way. First, you choose your broth. For the spicier varieties, there is generally the option of a split pot containing a spicy broth and a bone broth. Order it in the event there are some in your party that just can’t handle the heat; this way even the wusses can enjoy the primordial thrill of cooking their grub in a bubbling cauldron. Next, you choose your dunkables. Standard selections to include are paper-thin slices of fat-streaked mutton and beef, some form of tofu, vegetables, balls of seafood and pork variety, seafood and noodles. Finally, you need your condiments. This is the point where tastes diverge. Some places have condiments arranged at dedicated stations; others you order off the menu (or tick on the paper menu). Regardless of how you get your sauces, the number of choices can be a bit overwhelming if you are new to the game. It takes a lot of mixing and matching to get the right concoction to suit your taste, but it’s one of the little things that makes Hot Potting so damned interesting.
Eating Hot Pot is definitely not a passive activity. Once your raw smorgasbord arrives and is placed next your table on trays, the fun really begins. You dunk the morsels into the hot stock, watch them dance around together in the soup, fish them out with ladles, dip them into your bowl of condiments, gobble them down, and, in a brow-mopping, belt-loosening fervor, repeat ad infinitum. The point of Hot Pot, after all, is unbridled excess. To help you navigate this unfamiliar territory, here are a few tips: Some things take a little longer to cook, like potatoes, fish balls and some seafood, so if you want to throw them in the pot, let everyone know so they can scoop out some food. Also, watch out for those potatoes: they’ll burn the hell outa your mouth. One final warning, beware of the meat: It has a tendency to furl in the broth and when it’s fished out with the ladle, can conceal a few lethal chilies. It’s best to use the chopsticks to grab it, or even better to dip it briefly as it doesn’t take long to cook.
Speaking of chilies, arguably the most famous regional variety of Hot Pot would have to be the Chongqing Hot Pot style. Named after this spicy city in the western part of China, it is notable for ma-la – having to do with the numbing and spicy additions of Sichuan peppercorns and hot peppers. Often times this Hot Pot style is served in a pot that is split into two sections which resemble the Daoist yin and yang symbols. One side of the pot houses the molten spicy broth while the other side holds a benign bone broth. The Hunan style of Hot Pot is similarly spicy but lacks the numbing quality made famous by the Chongqing and Sichuan Styles. Sichuan Hot Pot tends to go heavy on the seafood or fish, while Hunanese has more beef or mutton along with its spicy chilies. Chowing down on any of these fiery three will send you in search of something to cool down your mouth. Plum juice does the trick, and it’s is commonly found at any Hot Pot restaurant these days, but a cold beer certainly achieves the same results. Baijiu also pairs rather well with Hot Pot.
Not into the spicy? That’s quite alright. There are plenty of milder Hot Pots to choose from. The Northern Style, commonly found in Beijing, focuses more on the act of cooking and is referred to as shuan yangrou, meaning the act of scalding thin slices of mutton in boiling broth. Frozen meat, generally mutton, is sliced thinly causing it to roll up and is generally served this way. This is paired with sesame-based condiments and sauces. A traditional Mongolian Hot Pot includes all kinds of spices, one of which, bajiao huixiang, or star anise, is thought to warm yang, disperse cold, and rectify qi problems. Manchurian Hot Pot uses pickled Chinese vegetables, or suancai (literally meaning sour vegetable), for flavoring, resulting in a sour stew. Cantonese Hot Pot, popular in southern China and Hong Kong, is more heavily focused on the soup bases of Hot Pot. The broth has additions of Chinese herbs (similar to those of the Mongolian Hot Pot) as these herbs are seen as balancing the heat found in Hot Pot. Seafood is obviously also more popular in Cantonese Hot Pot.
Hot Pot cooking is often enjoyed at home during festivals since it requires little preparation and the participatory element is fun for a large group. It is easy to buy a portable electric burner, and you just need a wide, deep pot that will comfortably hold boiling soup without boiling over. Don’t use too deep of a pot, or you will spend too much time fishing for your food. Hot Pot can then be customized to your own style and liking. So grab your family and start a new tradition this year by enjoying this Chinese dish. But if DIY Hot Pot is not your thing, do not despair because MORE Hangzhou has compiled a list of the top ten Hot Pot restaurants in Hangzhou to help take the guesswork out of finding the perfect pot for your seasonal pleasure. These are surely the best and brightest Hot Pots available, running the gamut of styles. We have even included a Japanese and Thai Style on the list because they are both lip smackin’ good. So plop til you pop!
1. Haidilao 海底捞 (Sichuan Style, 24hours)
Why is Haidilao number one on this list? For two very good reasons: Not only is their Hot Pot some of the best available in Hangzhou, but their service is without equal. Ladies you can have your nails done for free after you eat! Board games are available, snacks while you wait, bathroom attendants, constant hot towels, and a cheerful staff. Cute aprons are on hand to keep the splash from the Hot Pot off of your precious clothes. You cannot tell me there is another restaurant around with this level of service. They also offer Hot Pot delivery. Order from a number of set meals that will feed a varying number of people, and everything (down to the condiments) is then delivered to your home. The extensive picture menu, while not in English, is easily to use with the help of their friendly staff.
5/F, Yongjin Square, 135 Yan’an Road 延安路135号涌金广场5楼 , Tel: 87088050
502 Zhongdu Department Store, 87-1 Qingchun Road 庆春路87-1号中都百货502号, Tel: 81606592, 81606593
3/F, Yefeng Xiandai Zhixing Mansion, 337 Shaoxing Road 绍兴路337号野风现代之星大厦3楼333号, Tel: 85366389, 85366390
2. Lao Matou 老码头 (Sichuan Style, 24 hours)
You no longer have to fly off to Chengdu to enjoy this Sichuan Style Hot Pot. The best way to do it up here is get a half Sichuan and half savory broth, so you can give your mouth a rest. Six people can comfortably eat for around 400RMB, and the sour plum juice here is the best for washing all those chilies down. The numbing peppercorns bubble away in their copper cauldron waiting for you to dunk your veggies, seafood, meats, and noodles. The great thing about it is this place is open till 3am. So during the winter months if you find yourself a bit peckish after shaking your money maker at Coco Banana, wander down to this Hot Pot place with all your club kid friends.
24 Baochu Road 保俶路24号, Tel: 85118818
262 Wantang Road 万塘路262号，Tel: 87671679
3/F, 66 Dongpo Road 东坡路66号3楼(近西湖时代广场), Tel: 87081218, 81061116
3. King Pot 幸福里 or Dong Lai Shun 东来顺 (Beijing Style, 11:30am - 9:30pm)
King Pot located in the northern part of Hangzhou on Jinhua Road next to Me Too Café and the 166 Loft Park, King Pot boasts an elegant sparse open layout, and instead of giant metal pots, here you’ll find real traditional gleaming copper Hot Pots commonly found in Beijing. This is my personal favorite Hot Pot restaurant as it reminds me of freezing cold days in Beijing. Their fantastic baijiu selection brings back vivid memories as well and is available starting at 16RMB. If you cannot stand baijiu, there is also Beijing Plum Juice (老字号信远斋酸梅汤) 12RMB available to quench your thirst. We recommend the Shrimp Paste (鲜虾滑) 46RMB; it looks kind of horrifying sitting on its platter awaiting submersion into its boiling bath, but once you’ve tasted the cooked version, you’ll begin eagerly searching for those little pink balls. Condiments include traditional Beijing sesame sauce (老北京麻酱调料) 6RMB, and special Beijing spicy sauce (幸福里特色麻辣调料) 6RMB. Also, don’t forget the Deep Fried Sliced Mantou (烤馒头片), Old Beijing-style Baked Sesame Cake (salty/sweet) (老北京芝麻火烧) 3RMB/one, and the Beijing-style Noodles with Soy Bean Paste (炸酱面) 18RMB. Prices for meat range from 38RMB to 168RMB (for Angus steak), and vegetables and side dishes are between 10 and 20RMB each. If you have not tried Beijing Style Hot Pot, this is the best place to do it!
King Pot: 50m south of Dengyun Road and Jinhua Road (Silian 166) 登云路和金华路往南50米 (丝联166内), Tel: 85047210
Dong Lai Shun: 488 Qingtai Street 清泰街488号, 10am - 10pm, Tel: 87820666
4. Chuan Wei Guan 川味观 (Sichuan Style, 10:30am – 4am)
This chain has been cooking up tasty Sichuan Style Hot Pot in Hangzhou for years. They are everywhere, so it’s easy to get your spicy Hot Pot fix. Their pots have an authentic flavor, and it is a favorite spot for those who love a bit of numbing Sichuan peppercorn action. The vegetable offerings are par for the course, and you won’t find anything else out of the ordinary here, but this is a good option for when you and your friends want a convenient place to gather around a bubbling pot of chilies. Unfortunately, the menu is only in Chinese, but there are photos, so don’t fret my pets.
539-3 Fengqi Road 凤起路539-3号, Tel: 87795866
580 North Zhongshan Road 中山北路580号, Tel: 85393226
222 Tanhuan Road 昙花庵路222号, Tel: 86037988
160 Moganshan Road 莫干山路160号, Tel: 88807166
166 Huansha Road 浣纱路166号, Tel: 87917669
80 Fengqi Road 凤起路80号, Tel: 85284293
109 West Wensan Road 文三西路109号, Tel: 88983338, 88975557
10 Gushui Street 古水街10号, Tel: 85393226
82 Tiancheng Road 天城路82号, Tel: 88391277, 88399577
978 Dongxin Road 东新路978号, Tel: 85283777
1-2/F, Qianlong Masion, Binsheng Road and Jianghan Road 滨盛路与江汉路交叉口钱龙大厦1-2楼, Tel: 87022666
Kairui Hotel, 1199 Hanghai Road 杭海路1199号凯瑞大酒店, Tel: 86909777
20 West Huancheng Road 环城西路20号, Tel: 87014552
5. Lotus Thai Hot Pot 莲一泰式火锅·料理 (Thai Style, 10am - 9pm)
Located near Homestead Café on Wensan and Jiaogong Roads, this Thai Steamboat restaurant is fantastic if you are hankerin’ for some Hot Pot but can’t drum up the required friends. Here they serve Thai-style individual Hot Pots that will seriously light your mouth up. Try their delicious Tom Yum Hot Pot (东荫功汤锅) and their Pineapple Curry Hot Pot (咖喱菠萝锅). The menu is not in English, nor are there any pictures, but the prices are cheap, so fumbling your way through the ordering process is well worth the awkwardness. Their Hot Pot is so delicious, you will want to drink the soup after eating all your tasty morsels. Wash it all down with a great Singha beer for 15RMB, and you will have a fantastic Thai Steamboat experience.
3/F, Liyuan Mansion, 88 Jiaogong Road 教工路88号立元大厦3楼, Tel: 87006655
6. Yu Xianglong Chongqing Hot Pot 渝香隆重庆火锅城 (Chongqing Style, 24 hours)
Located on Baochu Road, this Chongqing Style Hot Pot is not for the faint of heart. Be prepared for your hair and clothes to smell like what you’ve just devoured. In fact, we suggest not even bothering to shower before coming here. “So, why do people come here?” you might ask. Because, they have the best Chongqing Style Hot Pot in town. Again, the menu is only in Chinese, so if you are feeling your Chinese isn’t up to snuff, we recommend bringing a friend along who speaks Chinese. The place is open 24hrs and really gets hoppin’ around 2am. The snakehead fish (黑鱼片) is delicious, and we also recommend getting the rice cake (年糕). The rest of the veggies are rather commonplace, but if you are feeling adventurous, don’t forget the more exciting meats on hand, like stomach. Yum! This place is great for late night Hot Pot cravings!
106 Baochu Road 保俶路106号, Tel: 85111020
25 Desheng Road 德胜路25号, Tel: 85832955
423 Shangtang Road 上塘路423号, Tel: 88321711
7. Doulao Fang豆捞坊 (Mixed Style, 11am – 9:30pm)
This Taiwanese Style Hot Pot restaurant is located near Wulin Shopping Center, so after you work up an appetite window shopping, head here for a mini Hot Pot experience. Each person has their own individual Hot Pot to which you can add excellent fresh seafood, vegetables, and other tasty treats. All the required condiments are here: sesame sauce, peanut butter, XO sauce, spicy peppers, and more. It is a great place for those times when you and a friend want something warm after wandering up and down Yan’an Road shopping all day. The restaurant is tranquil and feels worlds away from the busy shopping environs you’ve just come from. We suggest doing lunch here as it can get rather busy during dinnertime. They have delicious fresh meat balls (丸子), rice cake with cheese in the middle (年糕，里面有芝士), and their beef is extremely fresh. They won most popular Hot Pot restaurant in 2013, so you know this place knows what it’s doing! Try it, you won’t be sorry!
CQ703, 7/F, Block C, Hangzhou Mansion, 230 North Huancheng Road 环城北路230号杭州大夏购物城C座裙楼7楼CQ703号(近武林广场), Tel: 85177277, 88151807
401, Zone A, Hubin InTime Mall, 258 Yan’an Road 延安路258号湖滨银泰2期A区401室, Tel: 85870555
521, 5/F, Mixc Mall, 701 Fuchun Road 富春路701号万象城5楼521号, Tel: 89705688
8. Happy House Shabu Shabu 福捞坊海鲜肥牛火锅城 (Mixed Style, 10am - 12am)
A Hot Pot restaurant can be impressive depending on the broth, the food, or the sauce bar. Happy House, on the northwest corner of Tianmushan and Baochu Roads, manages to impress with their quality and presentation as well as with their collection of condiments; their broth isn’t half bad either! This is Japanese Style Hot Pot, so if you have never tasted Shabu Shabu before, you should for sure give it a try. There are pictures on the menu, but no English, and the Hot Pots come in individual portions. We started out by ordering four different broths: Sichuan Spicy (捞坊绿色锅) 15RMB, Traditional Spicy (捞坊香辣锅) 12RMB, Tomato (西式番茄锅) 15RMB, and Plain (顶级清汤) 10RMB. Traditional Spicy was the resounding favorite. It was full of flavor and wasn’t intensely spicy. Want a feast for the eyes? Order some of the non-Hot Pot dishes. The Thin Sliced Mandarin Fish (鲑鱼姿造) 88/149RMB was beautifully presented on a bed of shaved ice with liquid nitrogen steam pouring out of fresh bamboo cuttings. Even a simple dish like Bean Sprouts (豆芽) 6RMB was arranged as a flower blooming out of the bowl, and The Four Color Dumplings (四色水饺) 28RMB were as delicious as they were colorful.
2 North Baochu Road 保俶北路2号, Tel: 28821118
9. Nasubi 纳思比日本料理 (Mixed Style, 11am - 1:30pm, 5:30pm - 10:30pm)
Nasubi is the most authentic Sukiyaki Style Hot Pot in Hangzhou. Originating in Shizouka, with over ten restaurants and counting, this place is top-of-the-line Japanese Hot Pot. The interior is pure elegance and was designed by Junichiro Sato. This place is perhaps the most expensive on our top ten, but trust us it is worth every yuan. A meal here will be at least 250RMB/person, and if you are feeling extravagant, you can try a Japanese Hairy Crab that is 1,000RMB! The saki is smooth and a beautiful companion to the exquisite Sukiyaki. An English menu is available, and you would be a fool not to try their Chowder Stew or any of their fresh fish flown in weekly from Japan. This tatami-lined restaurant is as close to a Japanese dining experience as you can get without buying a plane ticket!
4/F, Zhejiang Narada Grand Hotel, 122 Shuguang Road 曙光路122号浙江世贸君澜大饭店4楼, Tel: 87969826
10. Hot Boss 韩国正宗炒年糕 or Zhu En Guan 主恩馆 (Korean Style, 11am – 9:30pm)
Located on Yile Road, just north of West Wen’er Road, Hot Boss has the Korean version of Hot Pot called tteokbokki, or fried sticky rice cakes with cabbage, fishcakes and ramen noodles. The menu is only in Chinese and Korean, but the pictures make it feasible to order without English. Koreans go crazy for this warm street food (which is probably pretty popular right about now in chilly South Korea). A single portion of the hot bubbling stew will only set you back 38RMB, with choices of cheese, BBQ pork, vegetable, curry, and of course kimchee. A gas burner is brought to your table so that you can watch your bubbling concoction cook. Slurp up the noodles along with a cold Korean beer and order a side of Korean fried chicken. The Korean version of Hot Pot is a little different as it is far more of a soup than its Chinese cousin, but this is still a tasty dish to get you through these winter months that are here to stay in Hangzhou.
Hot Boss: 71 Yile Road 益乐路71号, Tel: 86585120
Zhu En Guan: 353 Gudun Road (junction of Jindan Road) 古墩路353号丹枫新村, Tel: 88980021
Over the past eight weeks, the Wellington College International Hangzhou community has rallied together to face and overcome the challenges associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. During this time, Wellington College International Hangzhou is experiencing an increasing number of enquiries for admissions, and from March 30th the entire Admissions team have been back on campus assisting families through the admissions process.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, we are unable to host families on campus for our personalised tours, but that doesn’t mean you cannot learn more about the unique Wellington approach to holistic education. From phone conversations, email and video conferencing, through to our 360-degree virtual campus tours and online information sessions, we can still connect in this digital age despite our distance.
Online Open Day
On Wednesday 8th April, Wellington College International Hangzhou will be hosting an online information session, open to anyone keen to learn more about Wellington.
In this webinar style event, Mr. Paul Rogers, founding Executive Master of Wellington College Hangzhou, will provide a broad overview and introduction to the Wellington College family of schools, our heritage, educational philosophy and values.
Ms. Kathryn Richardson, Principal of Wellington College International Hangzhou, will take a deeper dive into what makes a Wellington education unique, as well as exploring many of the common topics that parents are curious about.
Additionally, you will have the opportunity to take a 360-degree virtual campus tour to view the state-of-the-art facilities we have on offer and how we utilize these facilities to provide the very best possible education for the children in our care.
Finally, we will host a live Q&A session where participants will be able to interact with the speakers and Admissions team, allowing us to address the questions that are important to you.
Scholarships at Wellington
In order to recognise and reward the pursuit and achievement of excellence in pupils at Wellington College International Hangzhou, and to make a Wellington education accessible to a broader range of pupils throughout Hangzhou and surrounding regions, scholarships, awards and bursaries are available to different year levels at Wellington. Awards of up to 100% of the tuition fees will be available to successful applications in Year 7 or above in August 2020. For more information, please visit this link or contact our Admissions team directly.
eLearning at Wellington
Results from our recent parent survey are conclusive. Our eLearning provision is meeting the needs of our families and ensuring that children are meeting their educational needs during this difficult time. 94% of Wellington College International Hangzhou families agree that our teachers have ensured that our pupils, irrespective of time zones, have been able to access all learning materials during this period of eLearning.
Since eLearning started, Wellington College International Hangzhou pupils have been able to maintain their close-knit relationships with their teachers and classmates. These ongoing relationships, personalised learning plans, 1:1 tutoring where required and innovative use of technology to smoothly facilitate learning objectives has ensured that our children are all progressing as they should during this time.
This high-quality eLearning provision is a testament to Wellington’s ongoing commitment to always providing the best possible learning outcomes to the children in our care, regardless of circumstance or challenge. We remain committed to this objective and welcome enquiries from all parents who are interesting in providing a world-class education to their children.
To learn more about eLearning at Wellington College International Hangzhou, please click the links below to learn more;
Top 12 FAQs | All you need to know about joining Wellington!
The Admissions team regularly fields questions from parents who are keen to learn more about Wellington, and as a result have compiled the following useful FAQ. Please click the link below to see what other parents are curious about.
Do you have different questions? Are you interested in learning more about Wellington? If so, we welcome you to join our online open day being hosted at 7pm on Wednesday 8th April. We look forward to seeing you there!
Don’t forget that our Admissions team are available at any time to answer your questions. Due to the international nature of the school, we field questions at all times of the day. Feel free to contact us using any of the methods listed below and we will respond to your enquiry within 48 hours.
The Chinese hot-pot restaurant chain Haidilao is known for a lot of things, except being moderate. They will give you a free manicure and clean your shoes while you’re waiting for your table, provide a big stuffed animal to keep you company if you’re lunching alone, and perform an acrobatic dance if you order noodles.
Haidilao is the epitome of the “client comes first” mentality that will go to great length to provide you with first-rate service. However, as experience shows, some clients find that the best service is when they are left alone and not bothered by pesky over-the-top courtesy.
At one time Chinese Internet was replete with articles titled along the lines of “Don’t let Haidilao know your birthday, it’s too scary” where users would detail their experiences dealing with the restaurant’s overblown birthday service that included singing and dancing waiters holding LED lights and more. Some have even joked saying “If you hate your friend, go to Haidilao for their birthday.”
To tackle the problem and better cater to the needs of different groups of customers, Haidilao recently introduced a witty solution. Tables in some of the chain’s restaurants are now equipped with “Do not disturb” flip-boards. Customers who do not want to be approached too often by waiters can use the sign to fend off their insistent advances.
The flip-board also provides other options such as “I’ll serve dishes myself” meaning that the waiter does not need to help with the dishes frequently or “detailed services are not required” telling waiters that they are only wanted to bring dishes and clean the table.
According to Haidilao, the service is still in the pilot stage, and it will be tried in some stores. It will continue to be optimized according to the needs of customers and different situations. Stores and employees will be continuously encouraged to innovate and provide customers with more personalized services.
Though Haidilao's service has always been known as "perverted", but sometimes it is too intimate and it can cause embarrassment. A while ago, a post named "Don't let Haidilao know your birthday" went viral on the internet.
“I went to Haidilao with my girlfriend, we just asked if we could get a discount on birthdays, then a group of people appeared with LED lights and sang the birthday song, they even gave us a ‘Most Beautiful Girlfriend Reward” and asked us to read the girlfriend vows to each other.’
“Two of us went to celebrate my friend’s birthday at Haidilao, we hid the cake in our bag and sneaked some scoops every now and then, just because we were so scared that the waiters would find out that’s her birthday, then we would be the super star of the night.”
“Look at me, I looked so surprised and happy!”
Therefore, for many customers who like Haidilao, the appearance of "Do Not Disturb" flip-board is simply a relief and has been unanimously appreciated by everyone.
From a steaming glass of traditional mulled wine, brimming with spices, to an indulgent mudslide cocktail, our winter drinks recipes are perfect for seeing in the festive season. Curl up in your fluffiest jumper with a creamy peppermint hot chocolate, or get the party started with a batch of our marvellous mulled gin.
Keep everyone's glasses topped up with our favourite festive drinks, and mouth-watering non-alcoholic drinks for every taste. Find top mixology tips, reviews of our favourite products and even more triple-tested recipes in our cocktails & drinks hub.
Spiced Apple Syrup with Clementine & Cloves
Our spiced apple syrup with clementine and cloves will add a burst of fabulous Christmas flavour to any drink. Try adding to hot apple juice or mulled wine for festive fruit and spice. It's even delicious drizzled over ice cream for an upgraded frozen treat. It will keep for about a month, so store it in the fridge ready for impromptu gatherings.
200ml apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp whole allspice
1 mace blade
2 whole cloves
Small strip fresh ginger
1 clementine, zest finely peeled with a vegetable peeler
100g golden caster sugar
1. Heat the apple juice with the whole spices, ginger, zest and sugar. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins.
2. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then strain the syrup into small bottles.
It wouldn't be winter without a steaming mug of mulled wine, complete with a glug of sloe gin for a sweet twist. Simply leave your wine, (we recommend an unoaked tempranillo) to infuse with seasonal spices like star anise and cinnamon and a little citrus zest. Keep a batch warming on the stove and let guests top up their glasses. Want to try something different this year?
750ml bottle red wine
1 large cinnamon stick, or 2 small ones
2 star anise
2 strips lemon zest, pared using a vegetable peeler
4 tbsp caster sugar
100ml sloe gin (we used Gordon's) (optional)
1. Put the red wine, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, lemon zest and sugar in a large pan. Cook on a low heat for 10 mins.
2. Remove from the heat and cool, leaving to infuse for about 30 mins.
3. To serve, heat without boiling, stir in the sloe gin (if using) and pour into mugs or heatproof glasses.
Winter Whisky Sour
Warm up from the inside out with our simple winter whiskey sour. Give the classic sour a couple of delicious tweaks and it's ready for the festive season. Add a splash of orange juice to your favourite bourbon, a little sugar syrup, some fresh fruit and some sparkle. Need some more help getting into the spirit?
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
½ tbsp sugar syrup
2 slices of oranges
Gold edible glitter
1. Using a small paintbrush (or your finger), brush some honey around the rim of two tumblers and use another small paintbrush to stick edible gold glitter around each.
2. Fill each glass with crushed ice. Put the bourbon into a cocktail shaker with the lemon juice, orange juice and sugar syrup. Shake and strain into each glass, and serve with an orange slice and short straws.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Nothing says 'indulgence' like a velvety-smooth hot chocolate, made with rich dark chocolate and double cream. Stir our peppermint hot chocolate with a striped candy cane and let it melt into the drink for a refreshing minty flavour. These delectable drinks are hard to resist. Got something.
200g bar plain chocolate, broken into chunks
150ml pot single or double cream
Sugar, to taste
6 peppermint candy canes, to serve
1. Put the chocolate in a pan with the milk. Gently heat, stirring until all the chocolate has melted. Continue heating until the milk is steaming, then remove from the heat and stir in the cream.
2. Divide the hot chocolate between 6 mugs, add sugar to taste and hang a candy cane on the edge of each. Pass the mugs round and let everyone stir their hot chocolate with their candy cane – letting as much of the sweet peppermint dissolve as they fancy.
Cinnamon Buttered Rum
Once you're tried our super smooth, gently spiced cinnamon buttered rum, it'll be your drink of choice when the nights draw in. Serve up mugfuls of this buttery brilliance for your next party. Neither sickly sweet nor too citrussy, this perfectly balanced tipple will warm you up in no time. Whether you prefer white or dark, spiced or smooth, we have a rum cocktail recipe to get your party started.
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
2 small cinnamon sticks
200ml spiced rum
1. Gently heat the butter, golden caster sugar and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
2. Stir in the spiced rum, then pour into four small heatproof glasses to serve.
Mulled Pear & Cranberry Punch
Our versatile mulled pear & cranberry punch can be served as a cocktail or a non-boozy version, simply miss out the sloe gin. The beauty of this all-in-one recipe means you can simply chuck your ingredients in a pan, leave to heat, then ladle out as needed. It takes just ten minutes to make, so no need to sweat it out in the kitchen.
1l pear cider
1l pear (or cloudy apple) juice
1l cranberry juice
Good handful fresh or dried cranberries
150ml sloe gin
2 cinnamon sticks
2 vanilla pods, scored lengthways
Put all the ingredients into your biggest saucepan or casserole dish. When you're ready to serve, heat to just below simmering point, then ladle into glasses.
This creamy, coffee-flavoured cocktail is for adults only. Our mudslide is pure decadence, something to be savoured and sipped at your leisure.
50g dark chocolate
60ml coffee-flavoured liqueur
60ml Irish cream liqueur
100ml double cream
1. Put two small tumblers in the fridge to chill overnight. Put 30g of the chocolate in a shallow bowl and melt in the microwave in short bursts. Dip the rim of the chilled glasses in the melted chocolate, then stand them upright so it gradually drips down the sides. Return to the fridge until you're ready to serve.
2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then pour in the coffee-flavoured liqueur, vodka, Irish cream liqueur and double cream. Shake until the outside of the shaker is very cold.
3. Put a few ice cubes in the prepared glasses, then strain in the cocktail. Finely grate over the remaining chocolate and serve with a paper straw.
Winter Pimm's Punch
This archetypal English cocktail isn't just for summer. Our Winter Pimm's punch is paired with sweet brandy and light apple juice for an instant cocktail cabinet winner. You'll probably have most of the ingredients already lurking in kitchen cupboards. It can be served warm or cool, depending on what you prefer.
1½ l apple juice
2 cinnamon sticks
Combine the Pimm's and brandy with the apple juice in a jug filled with ice, cinnamon sticks and a sliced apple and orange.
Looking for something a little different than the standard festive fare? Move over wine, this mulled gin is our new favourite Christmas cocktail. Infuse apple juice with aromatic spices like bay, cloves and cardamom, a few crushed juniper berries and a little honey for sweetness. Cut through rich canapés and sweet treats with this more delicate drink.
400ml apple juice
½ lemon, sliced
1 bay leaf
2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 small cinnamon stick
3 juniper berries, lightly crushed
½ tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp runny honey
For the garnish
4 bay leaves
2 lemon slices, halved
1. Divide the gin between four small heatproof glasses or teacups.
2. Tip the apple juice into a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Heat gently until simmering, then strain into a jug. Pour the mulled apple juice into the glasses with the gin and stir gently to combine. Garnish each glass with a bay leaf and half a lemon slice and serve warm.
Perk up the after-dinner lull with a luxurious Irish coffee. A grating of fresh nutmeg on top of the thick layer of cream adds some seasonal fragrance. Need some help choosing the perfect dram? Read our review of the 10 best Irish whiskies, from light and smooth to rich and spicy.
2 tbsp double cream
150ml freshly brewed black coffee
50ml Irish whiskey
½ - 1 tsp brown sugar
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1. Lightly whip the cream just so it’s very slightly thickened, then set aside.
2. Pour the hot coffee into a mug or heatproof glass, then add the whiskey and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Gently float the cream on the top and sprinkle the nutmeg over the cream. Serve hot.
My first encounter with Marco was through my friend’s WeChat moments. I can’t really recall for what reason we added each other, all I could remember were his big muscles and that bright smile hailing from L.A. Later on, we had more contact due to a few common friends who are involved with martial arts and I started to know him more.
Who is Marco
Marco has gained quite a reputation in the martial arts world since arriving in Hangzhou in 2018. He used to train at Checkmat Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in USA, an international academy, competition team, and family of Jiu Jitsu practitioners. Founded in 2008 by Master Vieira, Checkmat now has affiliate academies in thirty-four American cities and sixteen countries worldwide. You can find world-class, hands-on instruction that has been tested on the practice mats and proven on the competition field.
In Hangzhou, Marco started his own brand - Marcola Jiu Jitsu. It offers Jiu Jitsu training classes to people of different ages, whether professional or not. As one of the few black belt holders in China, his classes are really popular. Marco’s lifelong love of competitive athletics has molded him into both a lover and a fighter. His passion for athletics and a genuine desire to help people reach their fitness goals motivates him to continue learning each day, and develop new techniques to challenge himself and his clients. You see doctors, lawyers, students, law enforcers, businessmen and women walk into his class for the same reason - to get better at Jiu Jitsu.
Marco’s full name is Marco Alvarado and his Chinese name is rather cute: 马可乐. His Chinese friends would just call him 可乐, same as Cola. Before we tell you more, take a look at his incredible championship records below, the man is a real fighter.
Bronze Medal at International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Pan American Championship Blue Belt
Gold Medal at North American Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation All Americas Tournament Purple Belt
Gold Medal at IBJJF Pan American Championships Brown Belt
Gold Medal at IBJJF World No Gi Championships Brown Belt
Gold Medal at IBJJF American Nationals No Gi Brown Belt
Silver Medal at Jiu Jitsu World League San Diego Championships Black Belt
Gold Medal at NABJJF All Americas Tournament Black Belt
Marco has been involved in many kinds of sports - boxing, taekwondo, karate, running, American football – and also physical rehabilitation. Like many other athletes, Marco’s first coach was his dad who was a boxer. Marco was just 5 years old when his dad introduced him to boxing. It was the classic story, his parents decided to put him in taekwondo and karate training when they found out that little Marco was being bullied in kindergarten. Six years later, he received his first black belt in taekwondo.
After that, he decided to move on to a new sport: running. From sixth grade till he graduated college, he never stopped running and he became one of the US national athletes in track and field.
Eventually, he knew he needed to find another new sport to challenge himself. One day, he went to a free Jiu Jitsu class at his college. Someone caught him in a choke, he had no idea what to do and that got him really interested. He wanted to know how it happened, how he did it, and how to do it back. He was 22 at the time. 10 years later, he won the Gold Medal at North American Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Championships.
It’s Ok to Lose, Just Learn From It
As an amateur boxer who has only been training for 4 months, there was a question I really wanted to ask so I brought it up when we were having a lunch break at Blue Frog. “Before you had your first fight, how did you overcome your inner fear?” Marco took a bite of his big, juicy burger and said “My first Jiu Jitsu tournament was six months after I started training, I was very nervous. We sparred every week in college, so I learned how to deal with the fear, but this time was different. I knew who my opponents were, but I didn’t know what was going to happen. I got destroyed badly in two fights, one guy caught me in the armbar in 20 seconds, the other guy beat me so bad like 20-0. I left deflated and frustrated, but I wanted to do it again, I wanted redemption. This gives you more motivation to go back to train harder and learn from mistakes. In the fights later on, I started to get into my rhythm and started doing well. Sometimes maybe you don’t want to tap and lose in practice, because it hurts your pride for a day or two, but you come back for more training. It’s ok to lose, just learn from it. That’s an important life lesson.” During Marco’s career, his arms were almost broken a couple of times, he tore some ligaments on his knees and he got two broken teeth. With all these injuries, he had to learn about physical therapy in order to fix himself.
“Martial arts is more about avoiding problems than anything else. These days, there are always those untrained people or the ones who watched too much UFC and are looking for trouble. If you trained a little, you’ll have respect for your body. This stuff is no joke, it can really be dangerous.” Marco continues, “My teacher used to say if there is a fight, he’ll just run away, because he would feel bad for the guys once he’s had enough. He would turn around and fight.”
Back in L.A, Marco was teaching in a big chain gym where he soon became friends with a Taiwanese trainer. He followed his friend’s journey that brought him to Hangzhou to continue teaching for Checkmat and he became aware that there are a lot of blue and purple belt holders who opened Jiu Jitsu schools in Hangzhou, but there were only 2-3 with a black belt teaching here. Marco thought that he can bring people more advanced technique and professional training. So in June, 2018, Marco came to start his first job in a gym in Xiaoshan, teaching conditioning and creating a Jiu Jitsu program.
MMA vs. Traditional Chinese Martial Arts
I couldn’t help asking what Marco thinks about this outspoken Chinese MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong a.k.a. “Mad Dog”. Mad Dog has made it his mission to expose fake kung fu over the past two years by pulverising fraudulent traditional martial arts “masters”, but his actions have drawn the ire of Chinese authorities. “In my point of view, Bruce [Lee] was the first MMA fighter in the history of martial arts, because he was always so open minded about everything. He took things that he thought were useful and added on something unique of his own. I think Xu Xiaodong’s mission is to show that not one martial arts is dominating. If you know a bit of everything, that is more effective. I think Jiu Jitsu is very useful and complete, cause you go from standing to the ground, you can also go back up to defend yourself, knowledge is powerful. Martial arts is changing, and you need to keep yourself updated. Back home, some guys can use their chi to make someone fall. This is not video games, we call it McDojo.”
The Distance Between China and the World
Many are also immersed in the joy of Zhang Weili who won China’s first Gold Belt in MMA. She is now gearing up to defend her UFC strawweight title against the former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk on March 8, 2020. Marco thinks that China has started to close the gap with the other western countries and now there are more and more young Chinese fighters in UFC. Marco told me, “With Jiu Jitsu, specifically, China is a little bit behind. Brazil and US now are the two countries with the best fighters. There are a lot of 15-18 years old kids that have been training since they were 5. That means they have over 10 years of experience on the mat which is more than me. They have all those tricks that I have never seen, the level is just incredible. Even though China has a lot of catching up to do, they are doing a good job.”
How Did My First Jiu Jitsu Class Go?
I joined Marco’s class at R8 a few weeks ago. I was not only impressed by his superb Jiu-Jitsu skills, but also his passion in coaching. When a fight moves down to the ground, it can be quite brutal, especially in Jiu Jitsu where there are so many different kinds of chokes. It seems that getting bruises, breaking teeth or arms are normal in this sport. Plus, did I mention that if you are practicing with a guy, you’d better get used to some rather odd positions? Even Marco himself admitted that Jiu Jitsu positions can sometimes be awkward.
So I didn’t go in with a lot of confidence, but Marco’s explanation and demonstration of each move made everything seem possible. It is a grappling-based martial art where the central theme is the skill of controlling a resisting opponent in ways that force him to submit. Due to the fact that control is generally easier on the ground than in a standing position, much of the technique of Jiu Jitsu is centered around the skill of taking an opponent down to the ground and wrestling for dominant control positions from where the opponent can be rendered harmless. All those awkward positions can be very effective; the basis behind it is all about leverage. It’s about using the whole body on another body part, even if your opponent is a bodybuilder, he can’t win. If you are skilled in Jiu Jitsu, you can definitely hold yourself against 95% of the population; most people don’t even know how to fall down properly.
The Beauty of Jiu Jitsu
Marco has about 30 tough students at the moment and he’s determined to stay for a much longer time. Recently he took 7 people to attend the Shanghai Tournament and got 10 gold medals, this shows that this tiny team is going in the right direction. For the next step, Marco wants to create a kids’ program. He wants to share what he has with the next generation.
"It's important to stay focused and keep an open mind when it comes to learning Jiu Jitsu." The Jiu Jitsu lifestyle goes beyond just training. It's about taking care of yourself, making friends, and striving to put your 'best foot forward'. Setting your mind to learning and improving every week will help you to improve mind, body and soul. His over-all team goal is to improve at least 1% every week and this requires a positive attitude.
In light of the success of the first online open day, Wellington College International Hangzhou is very much aware of requests for an additional session held on a weekend, to enable more families to tune in and join the interactive Q&A session. The coming online open day will be held at 10am on Saturday 18th April.This event is open to anyone keen to learn more about Wellington College International Hangzhou.
The open day includes;
· A broad overview and introduction to the Wellington College family of schools, royal heritage, educational philosophy and values by Mr. Paul Rogers, founding Executive Master of Wellington College Hangzhou.
· 惠灵顿杭州校区总校长Paul Rogers将对惠灵顿大家庭的姊妹学校、悠久历史、以及我们的教育理念和价值观做整体介绍。
· A deeper dive into what makes a Wellington education unique, and a presentation exploring many of the common topics that parents are curious about by Ms. Kathryn Richardson, Principal of Wellington College International Hangzhou
· 杭州惠灵顿外籍人员子女学校校长Kathryn Richardson将深入阐述惠灵顿教育的与众不同之处以及就家长们关心的一些常见问题与大家进行探讨。
· A live Q&A session where participants will be able to interact with the speakers and Admissions Team, allowing the team to address the questions that are important to you.
All interested families are suggested to scan the QR code on the poster to register. Registered attendees will receive a reminder notification prior to the event starting.
Welcome Back to Wellington
As pupils quickly approach the highly anticipated return to schools in Hangzhou, Wellington College Hangzhou has been strictly following the local regulations on epidemic prevention in order to prepare the Wellington community for a smooth transition back to normality.
At Wellington College Hangzhou, ensuring the safety of the school community and protecting the health of Wellington pupils and staff always takes top priority. Over the past three months, the Senior Leadership Team and a specially appointed school emergency team have implemented a detailed COVID-19 plan that covers all aspects of school life, and ensures that strict guidelines will be followed to minimize risk and increase safety.
The Wellington College Hangzhou campus has undertaken a comprehensive site inspection by both the Education Bureau and the Hangzhou medical authority. Both inspection teams were incredibly impressed with Wellington’s preparations.
Wellington understand that this will be a difficult transition for their children, yet remain confident that with careful guidance, and through demonstrating the Wellington Values of Courage, Kindness, Responsibility, Respect and Integrity, the children will adapt quickly and fully embrace the mission of ensuring a safe return to school.
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