100 Favorite Dishes: Spicy Beef Hot Pot at the Bronze Empire

The Bronze Empire's hot pot set-upEXPAND
The Bronze Empire's hot pot set-up
Laura Shunk

No. 49: Spicy Beef Hot Pot at the Bronze Empire
Those of you lamenting the dearth of real Chinese food in Denver — as well as anyone who's curious about what real Chinese food actually tastes like — should hurry to the Bronze Empire, the restaurant that Tian Xia and Jing Wang, a pair of DU students who moved to Denver from Beijing, opened this year on South Colorado Boulevard. Hot pot is what Xia missed most about his homeland, and now he's graciously sharing a taste of it with his adopted home town. 

The Bronze Empire offers hot pot a la Hai Di Lao, a chain that revolutionized the hot-pot world in the Middle Kingdom. So the first thing you'll do when ordering is pick a soup, selecting a flavor profile and a broth. While it's a fun exercise to taste the mushroom or tomato broths, which Xia says are increasingly popular in China, you should head straight for the spicy soup and get it made with beef broth.

This particular style mimics classic Sichuan-style hot pot, made there with racy red chiles, mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns and beef tallow, which gives the broth a voluptuous mouthfeel and deep flavor. Xia's team has ditched the peppercorns (at least for now, much to our disappointment), but he's spiked the broth with habanero and serrano chiles, layering in enough heat (if you ask for it) to make you sweat. And the kitchen renders its own tallow, making this broth rib-sticking and an excellent rendition, peppercorns or no. 

Now that you've got the soup worked out, order the meats and veggies you'd like to add once your individual pot arrives and the broth starts bubbling in front of you. We'd recommend lamb and ribeye, tofu skin, mushrooms and plenty of greens. And to further whet your appetite, watch Xia's tutorial about how to eat hot pot.

Hungry for more? All of the dishes in our 2016 countdown are linked below.
No. 100: Masala Beef at Biju's Little Curry Shop
No. 99: Bacon Shrimp and Grits at Bacon Social House
No. 98: Porchetta and Kimchi Sandwich at Brider
No. 97: Squab-and-Sunchoke Tortellini at Abejas
No. 96: Housemade Burrata at Viand
No. 95: Schweinshaxe at Rhein Haus
No. 94 Kimchi Jeon at Seoul BBQ
No. 93: Zuppa Pomodoro at Parisi Italian Market & Deli
No. 92: The Ocean Salad at Sushi-Rama
No. 91: The Signature Bowl from Churn & Burn
No. 90: Green Chorizo at Los Compadres
No. 89: The Diavola Calzone at Pino's Neighborhood Pizzeria
No. 88: Biscuits and Green Chile at the Noshery
No. 87: Chirashi at Izu Sushi
No. 86: Brisket and Ribs at GQue Championship BBQ
No. 85: The Tornado at the Chowder Room
No. 84: Korean Fried Chicken Wings at Yong Gung
No. 83: A Meatball Hero at Lil' Ricci's New York Pizzeria
No. 82: Shakshuka at Stowaway Coffee + Kitchen
No. 81: Late-Night Ramen at Brazen
No. 80: Potato Tacos at El Tejado
No. 79: Corned Beef Heart at theWay Back
No. 78: The Fried Bologna Sandwich at Snarfburger
No. 77: Sweet Corn Mezzaluna at Bar Dough
No. 76: Duck Confit at Table 6
No. 75: Croque Monsieur at Fire
No. 74: Tahini Cookies at the Preservery
No. 73: The Alferd Packer Salad at MAD Greens
No. 72: The Tuna Poke Bowl at Ohana Island Kitchen
No. 71: Mini Chile Rellenos at La Loma
No. 70: The Combination Banh Mi at Vinh Xuong Bakery
No. 69: The Falafel Waffle at Moxie Eatery
No. 68: Korean Fried Duck Wings at Chow Urban Grill
No. 67: Spaghetti Alla Carbonara at Spatola
No. 66: The Classic Burger from Skirted Heifer
No. 65: The Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocado at Poppies
No. 64: Super Pass Key Special at Pass Key
No. 63: How the West Was Won at Dozens Restaurant
No. 62: Manzo With Polenta at Spuntino
No. 61: P & S Snack Mix at the Pig & the Sprout
No. 59-60: Sloppers at Gray's Coors Tavern and Diego's
No. 58: Potstickers at Zoe Ma Ma
No. 57: Griddle Cooked Bullfrog at Yum Yum Spice
No. 56: Macaroni and Cheese at Work & Class
No. 55: Lobster, Egg and Caviar Bruschetta at Bar Fausto
No. 54: Orecchiette at Coperta
No. 53: Cheese Steak at Steuben's Food Service
No. 52: PB&B Acai Bowl at ProsperOats
No. 51: Gold Miner's Breakfast at River and Woods
No. 50: Bison Pastrami at To The Wind Bistro

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The Bronze Empire

1591 S. Colorado Blvd.
Denver, Colorado 80222


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