Haidilao launches first regional menu while doubling down on global expansion

On 1 July, Haidilao announced the winners of its latest prize draw. This was to celebrate the “pot opening” ceremony of its latest regional ingredient, the fermented fish sauce with pickled chillies (鱼酱酸). On Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, the topic “Haidilao tangy new menu for summer” (#海底捞夏季酸爽上新#) garnered an impressive 200 million views.

In the last week of June, the hot pot goliath announced its first-ever regional-themed menu, centred around the sour broth hot pot made with fermented fish sauce. Other dishes from the menu include Guizhou delicacies such as sour and spicy beef, bamboo shoots, fish and prawns which go in the hot pot, as well as a yuzu grapefruit iced drink, giving you a tropical kick.

The fermented fish sauce is a local delicacy from Xijiang Qianhu Miao Village (千户苗寨, lit. Miao village with 1,000 households) in Leishan, Guizhou (贵州雷山). Miao Villages are the communities of the Miao people, an ethnic minority from Southern China and Southeast Asia. The fashion world had in the past paid homage to the ethnic embroidery of the people. For the collaboration, Haidilao released a short film, documenting the production of the special fermented fish sauce, which is also a Chinese intangible cultural heritage. The “pot-opening” event became a natural stage sequel to the mini-documentary.

There’s a saying in China, “What is ethnic is for the world” (民族的就是世界的), which Haidilao seems to be leveraging on both fronts. While Haidilao works to explore regional and ethnic dishes, the brand also doubled down on global expansion.

Also in the last week of June, the chain announced a change of guards. Like the prize draw, the decision came into effect on 1 July. The previous CEO Yang Lijuan left her post at Haidilao and became the new CEO of Super Hi, the operator of Haidilao’s global business. Meanwhile, former executive director and COO Gou Yiqun took the reins of the domestic empire. It is worth watching what differences Yang and Gou will make in the arms of Haidilao.


Join our newsletter