In China, one of the more popular ways to dine out with friends is to hit a hot-pot restaurant. At these often raucous halls, you order a bubbling cauldron of broth — in Sichuan, it’ll be spicy; northerners tend to like milder lamb broth — and then dump in a progression of thin slices of fat-ribboned meat, vegetables and noodles. Once everything is cooked, you fish out a morsel with your chopsticks and dip it in a little garlic and sesame oil or maybe some sesame paste, eat it and then start all over. It’s an interactive experience like fondue, and a good way to while away several hours. We caught up with Tian Xia, owner of the Bronze Empire, on his home country's much-beloved dish.