Enveloped in fog more than 100 days in a year, Chongqing at first glance looks like a dreary city with little character. But delve deeper and you'll soon find a mega city that's home to vibrant food, nightlife and cultural scenes.
Once a temporary capital of China during World War II, Chongqing (formerly known as Chungking) is one of the most prominent business hubs in the country, and is home to major producers of steel, aluminium, iron and motor cars. The city, tucked between mountains and at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers, has a staggering population of nearly 30 million people, though less than 10 million actually reside in the city's urban areas.
The women of Chongqing have a reputation for being among the prettiest in China, and interestingly, unlike most other parts of the country where a male heir is preferred, families here would much rather have a daughter.
Chongqing is famous for its hotpot culture, so much so that even a hotpot association and training academy have been established. Based on recent estimates, there are about 50,000 hotpot restaurants in the city and more than two million people working in this industry. And that's why Chongqing has earned itself the nickname “Hotpot City”.