Cousins Jessica Wu and Alice Fang split a hot pot with a metallic divider that separates a mild mushroom soup base from a spicier red-pepper base. Both incorporate lamb, broccoli and mushrooms. Wu favors sweet corn, while Fang does not.
(Jessica Wu and Alice Fang)

In Southern California, the term “hot pot” usually conjures up the Chinese style, with all its regional variations, said UC Irvine history professor Yong Chen, author of the culinary guide “Chop Suey, USA: The Story of Chinese Food in America.” … “Numerous famous and big Chinese hot pot restaurants have opened branches in the United States, becoming a favorite among young people,” Chen said. “Such restaurants have become a popular place to hang out or meet friends.”

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