In Changsha, Hunan, a woman was charged 106 yuan for a serving of spicy hot pot at a street stall. What is your opinion on this matter?

On December 31, 2023, a woman in Changsha, Hunan, was charged 106 yuan for a portion of spicy hotpot while dining at a street vendor, sparking a heated online discussion. On January 2, 2024, the Market Supervision Administration and the Urban Management Comprehensive Law Enforcement Team of Tianxin District, Changsha, jointly issued a situation report. The report stated that the customer had been refunded the 106 yuan for the purchase of the hotpot, and other illegal activities of the street vendor had been dealt with. The full report is as follows:Recently, some netizens reported a dispute between a customer and a mobile hotpot vendor at the intersection of Renmin West Road and Huangxing Road Pedestrian Street Central Square, on the west side, due to price issues.The Market Supervision Administration of Tianxin District and the Urban Management Comprehensive Law Enforcement Team of Tianxin District attached great importance to the situation after learning about it, and immediately conducted an investigation in accordance with the law. It was found that the vendor was engaged in illegal stall operation and did not clearly mark prices, among other illegal activities. At the same time, it was understood that the vendor had refunded the customer 106 yuan for the purchase of the hotpot on the spot.Currently, the illegal behavior of the vendor has been dealt with in accordance with the law and regulations, and further measures will be taken to strengthen the management of mobile vendors in the jurisdiction.Changsha Street Vendor Charges 106 Yuan for a Bowl of Spicy Hotpot? Official Report on Tourist Encounter with Sky-High Priced Hotpot at a Street Vendor. The Owner Claims That Only the Best Ingredients Were Used.

Listening to the accent, this tourist must be from Hunan at least. Now you know, we treat all tourists, whether from within the province or outside, equally.

Trivia: The average spending at street stalls exceeds that of mid-range restaurants……..

I remember it was last April, when the whole country knew about the Changsha spicy hot pot costing 86 yuan per bowl, now it’s 106, and next time something happens, will it soar to 126? I can’t understand how it’s managed locally, making it to the hot search twice within a year, like a pig not afraid of scalding water.

Damn, isn’t this just extortion? Where do you get the rent for your mobile stall? I had a beef offal pot in the center of Foshan city, and they actually had a storefront. A large pot for 88 yuan, and two people couldn’t even finish it.

Incident of a $106 Spicy Hot Pot in Changsha Sparks Controversy

Recently, an incident involving a bowl of spicy hot pot priced at 106 yuan at a roadside stall in Changsha has quickly gained attention online. So, what exactly happened in this case?

According to the information circulating online, at the time of the incident, a young woman passed by a spicy hot pot stall and thought the dishes looked good, so she decided to try a bowl.

The stall owner was a middle-aged lady who warmly informed the woman that this was a self-selected spicy hot pot, and she could choose whatever she liked. The woman then selected some of her favorite ingredients to take away. However, what the woman didn’t anticipate was that even for these simple ingredients, it added up to a total of 106 yuan. After paying the 106 yuan, the woman began to feel uneasy and approached the lady, questioning why the spicy hot pot was so expensive.

“You ordered all the premium ingredients, that’s why it’s this price!” The lady responded confidently to the woman’s inquiry. Seeing the lady’s unyielding attitude, the woman prepared to argue further. She asked the lady to take out each ingredient separately and calculate the price.

After selecting a few items like chicken feet and tripe, and realizing it wouldn’t work in her favor, the lady accused the woman of secretly adding extra ingredients to the bowl. The woman defended herself logically, but the lady then accused her of having already eaten some, making a refund impossible. However, when the woman insisted that the lady continue to calculate the price, the lady, aware of her own wrongdoing, turned silent and refused to speak. At this point, many onlookers at the scene, witnessing the lady’s unreasonable behavior, began to join in the commotion.

Afterwards, netizens discussed the incident, with some sharing their own experiences. One netizen mentioned having spent 246 yuan on 3 bowls of spicy hot pot at the same stall. At the time, they were drinking and didn’t pay much attention but realized later that it was an exorbitant price for hot pot. Another netizen commented that incidents of stalls shortchanging customers were common, but a lady like this one who acted so recklessly was indeed rare.

So, how do you perceive this incident? Feel free to leave your comments in the comment section!

I’ll temporarily support this lady for now because this kind of thing does seem to align with the legal environment in Changsha.

Right now, I just want to see who between “She’s Economical” and “She says she’s not economical” will come out on top. Hahaha!

The Most Ruthless City in the Country: Changsha

Changsha might just be the most ruthless city when it comes to overcharging and scamming. The locals in Changsha are notorious for frequently overcharging not only out-of-town tourists but also their fellow residents, showing no mercy.

I recall a time when I bought a box of braised pork trotters at Huangxing Square. After it was weighed, it cost me a whopping 176 yuan. This has been the most regrettable purchase I’ve made in over thirty years, and the memory still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. To put it into perspective, the same item costs only 22 yuan per box at our neighborhood entrance.

I regret not having the courage to speak up and confront these unscrupulous businesses like the woman did. They are shamelessly engaging in deceptive practices under the guise of legitimate business, instead of just robbing people outright.

While I just wanted to save some money by enjoying some braised pork trotters or spicy hot pot, they assumed I was a well-off individual at the grassroots level, trying to exploit us.

I’m not sure about Changsha’s spicy hot pot, but when it comes to Changsha barbecue, they specialize in grilled skewers. Is this true for our friends from Hunan?

Nobel-level mathematical question: Do you know how much it costs to eat all you can eat barbecue in Changsha? How many bamboo skewers do you need?

Latest Update: Penalties Imposed

Early in the morning, someone in the WeChat group mentioned me.

They asked me to come out and prove whether Hunan’s snacks are really this expensive.

I checked his chat history, and he mentioned that this isn’t the first time Hunan has overcharged, and the accent is also local.

This shows that I don’t specifically target people from other places when it comes to overcharging; it’s equal treatment.

I agreed, saying, “Ah, yes.”

The last time I answered questions about Hunan, it was about the Changsha barbecue incident before May 1st.

Back then, I said Changsha’s barbecue is indeed expensive and quite a rip-off; even corn is sold by the kernel.

Some skewers here have less meat on them than those in Zibo barbecue.

As a result, many locals from Changsha criticized me, saying that if you can’t afford it, don’t eat it.

All I could say was, “You’re right, I can’t afford it. Can’t I eat at home?”

Look at the recent Harbin 68 yuan (about $10) Guo Bao Rou (a type of dish). Local people in Harbin stood up and criticized it, saying it’s only worth 48 yuan, and 68 is definitely a rip-off.

It’s not like Changsha; outsiders can’t say it, and locals can’t say it either.

If it’s too expensive, it means you can’t afford it; don’t eat it.

Only they never thought about why everything is cheaper elsewhere except for Changsha.

They keep saying that Changsha has high rent, high shop costs.

So, you’re telling me that Changsha’s rent is more expensive than wages in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, right?

Last week, someone in the group shared a vegetarian takeaway. I guessed it would cost less than 35 yuan, but it was actually 40 yuan.

This was for takeaway in Shanghai’s Pudong area; what’s the difference in portion size compared to what we see in videos?

The reason Hunan snacks are expensive is simply because they are too greedy for profits. No other excuses.

In the past few years, Changsha suddenly became popular on the internet and became a popular travel destination for many people, which I always found quite magical.

Now, seeing this news, I feel relieved. The logic is clear, and this is the Changsha I am familiar with and remember.

Disclosure: A Changsha native who hasn’t felt homesick for Changsha in ten years.

Illegal activities such as unauthorized vending and failure to clearly label prices are present. The penalty results in only a refund of the meal cost.

No wonder Hunan’s judicial satisfaction has consistently ranked at the bottom, year after year.

Dining Tolerance in Changsha!

But this applies only to barbecue and crayfish. Other food categories have always been pricey.

I had barbecue in Changsha for the first time 20 years ago, and it didn’t seem expensive to me at that time.

Later, I don’t know when Xiangxi-style skewers emerged. They were priced at 5 or 10 yuan for a large handful, making it convenient to try multiple flavors in one go. It probably averaged around 40 yuan per person, slightly more expensive than regular barbecue, but allowed for a variety of tastes.

Around this time, a mere 10 corn kernels became a skewer, a single string bean became a skewer, and a 10cm piece of garlic sprout also became a skewer.

Can you believe it was almost 100 for that?

Just post a picture for reference, and then prices started to rise.

Here, units are generally called “shou,” with 10 skewers in one shou. For portions like the ones in the photos, vegetable skewers usually cost 10-20 shou, while meat skewers typically range from 20-30 shou, and it’s not even premium meat, just regular cuts like beef or pork belly.

Not exaggerating, if you’re drinking in the summer, my friend and I can easily spend over 400 without even counting the cost of alcohol. If you have a group of 5-6 people sitting at a large round table, you won’t leave with less than 1000. And that’s just for barbecue. If you order crayfish, it can easily cost around 400 per person during extravagant times.

So, in Changsha, if someone invites you to a well-known barbecue or crayfish place, it’s essentially the equivalent of being treated to Wagyu beef in a first-tier city.

I used to think that Xiangxi-style barbecue had ruined the barbecue scene in Changsha. Later, I realized it wasn’t that; it was because Changsha’s foodies were too tolerant. If you made something even slightly delicious, people would let you raise the prices, in essence, the market was too forgiving.

But later on, things got even more ridiculous, and they even invented two new things: one called “deep-fried skewers” and the other “electric barbecue.” The mainstream barbecue market in Changsha had completely deteriorated, and I genuinely wanted to swear. So when someone from Hengyang came to open a skewer shop in Changsha, and nobody even blinked an eye, all I can say is they deserved it. Changsha’s food industry had been spoiled to an extreme.

When I go to Northeast or Northwest China and have three meals of skewers, I can save enough money for a round-trip flight. If I have 4-5 meals, I can even save on hotel expenses.

In Xi’an, beef skewers that cost 1 yuan per skewer are even more plentiful than the ones in Changsha that cost 3 yuan per skewer.

Price list from Huimin Street in 23 years

This situation only started to improve in 22, and I could finally eat local 2 yuan beef skewers again.

As for hot pot, the price of 106 for that amount is a complete rip-off; this is absolutely not a normal price (no defense intended; this is just a case of a few unscrupulous vendors). But Changsha’s hot pot is genuinely terrible, whether it’s the Yiyang-style hot pot from our province, Chongqing hot pot from elsewhere, or Northeastern hot pot - they all outclass Changsha’s hot pot in every aspect. I only eat hot pot in Changsha if it’s made by someone from Yiyang; I can still get full with 60 yuan.

My grandmother used to run a noodle shop by the river for 20 years, and it had a 20-year-long line. She never went to school, so I asked her why people liked her noodles. She said, “Because I’m willing to let others eat.” Such a simple principle, but most of the barbecue shop owners in Changsha pretend not to understand it.

Exorbitant Prices for Spicy Hot Pot

This is really over the top.

I’ve never had hot pot this expensive in my entire life, especially from a roadside stall…

I’ve been in Beijing for many years, and even there, prices aren’t like this.

Looking at it this way, that Harbin dish of “Guobaorou” for 68 yuan the other day doesn’t seem so outrageous anymore.

But that restaurant has already been dealt with and hasn’t reopened yet.

As a side note, let me show you the extreme prices in my hometown of Shenyang. This is a restaurant recommended by Bilibili user Maomao Tan.

A whole plate of tomato sauce green fish.

A plate of egg and wood ear mushroom stir-fried with garlic sprouts, and a plate of braised tofu.

A bottle of Hongbaolai soda (a local brand, we usually drink it; it’s not a knockoff).

A bowl of rice.

Free appetizers and complimentary soup.

All for 9.9 yuan, the owner must be doing charity work.

It’s a feast for the ages! 9.9 yuan for a table full of food and drinks! Did the Northeastern currency appreciate again? - Bilibili

Pricey Spicy Hot Pot in Chengdu

In Chengdu, it’s quite common for a single person to spend one to two hundred yuan when eating spicy hot pot, considering the mix of meat and vegetables. Meat dishes are certainly more expensive.

Based on the images in the video, if you only have ① and it costs 106 yuan, it’s definitely more expensive than Chengdu, and quite a bit ahead. If it includes ② and ③, the 106 yuan doesn’t seem expensive at all. Who knows what they ordered inside.

However, there is an issue with the operation of this mobile vendor:

When you pick the items, you’re supposed to count the sticks, and then you should inform the vendor of the price, right? It seems like this step was skipped.

After all, when she’s boiling them, she pulls out the sticks and cooks them all together. At that point, it’s impossible to argue.

This kind of operation is clearly intentional, as they say in Sichuan dialect, they caught someone and tried to rip them off.

Dealing with Rogue Vendors: A Strategy

There’s a story I love from a TV series called “I Love My Family.” It’s called “The Mouse-catching Chronicles,” where an old man named Fu Ming uses his political acumen to resolve problems by exploiting the internal conflicts among mice.

I find it quite interesting.

In the Three Kingdoms period, when Cao Cao achieved a great victory at Guandu, he faced the two Yuans but chose to let them be.


Because if he pressed them too hard, the two Yuans would unite against him. If he left them alone, they would each go their separate ways.

Netizens are calling on the market supervision department and urban management to address the “Assassin Hot Pot” problem in Changsha.

External pressure from outside forces has inadvertently turned into external pressure for the “Assassin Hot Pot” alliance. As a result, members of the alliance are now inclined to unite against external forces.

Thus, a guerrilla war, a sparrow’s warfare, and the convenience of mobile stalls for quick getaways persist.


Service-oriented governments fear public petitions and complaints.

Should all itinerant street vendors be treated with the same stick?

They can simply cry poverty and play the victim, stir up trouble online, and the government has no choice but to compromise.

Conducting business without principles but based on pity is a common practice for service-oriented governments.

Therefore, expecting functional departments to intervene externally is simply wishful thinking.

Light governance is like scratching an itch with a boot. After a while, these itinerant vendors resurface.

Heavy governance is like throwing a child into a well; some will petition, others will complain online, accusing the government of not caring about the people’s well-being, and it ultimately becomes an unsolvable problem.

These vendors, who thrive in the “gray area,” cannot be effectively managed through conventional means; unconventional methods are required.

Do you know how to deal with rogues?

What is a rogue?

It’s a very ancient profession.

They use sweet talk, provocation, and constant agitation to get on your nerves. Once they have you agitated, they engage you in conversation, and once they’ve got you engaged, they stick to you like glue. No matter how hard you try to get rid of them, they won’t let go, and even if you manage to tear them off, they can still peel off a layer of your skin.

There’s a guy who told me how to deal with rogues.

He said that in the old days, when the internet wasn’t so developed, dealing with rogues meant exchanging harsh words and not backing down. If they dared to stick, you dared to fight, and after the fight, you sent them to jail. You gave a nod to the prison guard, and they got a beating every three days, without causing any injuries, just enough to make it hurt.

After two beatings, they would become obedient.

You can’t rely on political education or ideological construction; some people are just slippery by nature. Only this method, the threat of heavy punishment, can make them behave.

Now, back to this 106-yuan spicy hot pot…

How can it be regulated?

It’s simple.

Let her know she’s “wrong.”

Some people naturally believe that the world is wrong, not them.

For such people, the most effective method is to make them experience a severe setback.

In a harmonious society, you can’t just hit people.

So what do you do?

Make her realize her mistake.

How do you make her realize it?

Cut off her source of income.

Don’t let her set up her stall?

If you don’t let her, but let others set up, isn’t that a double standard by the government?

Of course, that’s not how it should be done.

To regulate, we must do it together.

Anywhere she’s set up her stall, intensify regulation and don’t allow anyone else to set up stalls there.

If she’s not there, turn a blind eye.

Wherever she moves her stall, don’t allow stalls there.

Why not allow?

It’s not because I dislike someone; it’s because she might bring shame to the entire city and encourage other vendors to report her.

Yanzi killed three men with two peaches; it’s all about strategy.

You’re operating in the gray area, and yet you refuse to restrain yourself and act recklessly. Do you think I won’t use strategic governance to deal with you?

A wealthy man saw three beggars always happy, and he wasn’t pleased. So, he gave them money but graded their ranks. After a while, those three beggars lost their smiles.

Criticisms, government regulations, none of these are addressing the core issue.

Make her fellow vendors despise her, make her feel fear, and that’s the optimal solution to the problem.

How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off When Eating Spicy Hot Pot

Here are some tips for enjoying spicy hot pot without getting ripped off:

  1. Before placing your order, make sure to ask the owner for the prices of each item, and be sure to ask for the price of each individual item. If you relax your vigilance and forget to ask the price of one meat skewer, you might end up with a bowl of expensive hot pot.

  2. Spicy hot pot items are typically divided into vegetarian, meat, and items like noodles. Generally, vegetarian and noodle items are not expensive, except for some unusual ones. Meat items like beef tripe, beef brisket, beef tendon, and shrimp balls should always be inquired about their prices. If they are too expensive, consider skipping them.

  3. Ask the owner about the minimum order amount, and the owner might say something like “starting from 10 yuan” or “starting from 15 yuan.” At this point, based on your needs, say something like, “Please give me a 15 yuan order,” and then customize it yourself and check with the owner if it meets the price.

  4. If you’re shy and uncomfortable asking for prices, consider going to hot pot restaurants that have clear pricing for each item. They will have prices listed for vegetables per skewer and meat per skewer, which will help you avoid being overcharged.

Suddenly felt sorry for the people of Changsha. Eating a spicy hotpot has become a luxury meal for improving their lives, which ordinary people can’t afford. It’s better to go eat at McDonald’s or KFC~

When selling spicy hot pot by the catty, no one nitpicks the price.

“01.02 Afternoon Update”

Changsha city authorities have issued a statement, mentioning that the small vendors selling spicy hot pot were operating illegally, including the absence of clear price tags. They have since refunded the entire amount spent by the customer.

Original Response

Changsha has once again made headlines, this time due to the “sky-high priced spicy hot pot.”

Earlier this year, a couple from Shandong made headlines by purchasing a small portion of spicy hot pot for a total of 86 yuan on a street in Changsha. The incident was featured as a headline in the “Warring States Daily.”

Spicy hot pot purchased by the Shandong couple for 86 yuan

Afterwards, they faced criticism for not having clear price tags, and the cost of ingredients also raised eyebrows among local residents. For instance, squid tentacles valued at 3 yuan, and duck gizzards of just two centimeters were also priced at 3 yuan. This raised comparisons with the popular “Zibo Barbecue” from the same period.

Squid tentacles in the 86 yuan spicy hot pot purchased by Shandong tourists

Following the controversy, Changsha authorities cracked down on businesses without clear price tags and illegal mobile stalls.

Changsha city authorities' statement

This time, a young woman (presumably a local resident) found herself charged 106 yuan for the “sky-high priced spicy hot pot.” According to the video content, she did not intend to evade payment but wanted to understand where her money was going. She meticulously calculated the cost of each dish in front of the owner and other customers, which made the owner seem nervous and resulted in some tension. Onlookers were shocked by the unfolding scene.

The 106 yuan spicy hot pot circled in red

It appears that the stall in the video did not have clear price tags either. As tensions escalated and the incident gained attention, it was reminiscent of previous news about a tourist who spent 115 yuan on eight skewers in Changsha and was ridiculed as “poor.” These incidents have negatively impacted Changsha’s city image, and local authorities need to address them promptly to prevent further damage.

Skewers priced at 118 yuan

Additionally, it’s essential to note that this issue is not unique to Changsha, and it’s not about distinguishing between “Hunan-style spicy hot pot” and “Northeastern-style spicy hot pot.” Travel traps exist in various places globally, and it’s hoped that local authorities will take measures to address these issues.

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Good news.

Now you can’t say you’re taking advantage of tourists or ripping off out-of-towners anymore.

What many countries can’t achieve - fairness and justice for all, without discrimination - is actually happening in a mobile vendor’s family.

What kind of spirit is this?

It’s the spirit of fairness and justice.

Understanding the Essence Behind Unfair Practices in Local Tourism

The underlying dynamics of such incidents often involve a tug-of-war between the local tourism industry and individual small-scale vendors.

Local governments and the majority of businesses relying on tourism naturally aspire to enhance the quality of their offerings, attract more tourists, and generate greater economic benefits.

Striving to provide excellent service, some businesses delight in the influx of happy tourists who spread the word on social media, resulting in increased foot traffic. This positive cycle represents the ideal outcome for operators in the tourism industry.

However, not everyone has the same intentions in this process, especially for those small vendors without fixed establishments. Their approach to maximizing profits often deviates from improving service quality, as they see tourists as potential cash cows.

“I bought it for 20, but I’m selling it for 50, even 100 if I can. Selling more is my own skill.”

As for reputation, who cares? After all, I’m a mobile vendor. I can just move to a different location and continue overcharging.

Some may argue, “Aren’t you afraid of driving away tourists with this attitude?”

Well, didn’t I just mention that the vast majority of businesses are actively contributing to the positive cycle?

A city can tolerate a few unscrupulous traders. As long as these individuals are attracting more foot traffic and covering the higher service costs on behalf of others, they can keep profiting while others conduct their business honestly.

I focus on building a good reputation. When I set up my stall in a new location next time, I don’t need repeat customers. Why waste energy on that when I can make money quickly by sacrificing a bit of moral guilt?

As more vendors realize this, they are inclined to participate. Moreover, enforcing regulations on such behavior is costly, and the government may not always be successful in doing so.

Sometimes these practices aren’t exposed, or even if they are, tourists might not bother seeking redress after being ripped off. They might just avoid returning and complain to others about the place. Such negative impacts are often challenging for authorities to detect.

There’s an old saying, “Rumors spread like wildfire.” Negative news particularly captures people’s attention, especially in cities like Changsha, known for its online popularity. If there are repeated instances of negative news, potential travelers might start avoiding the place altogether in their future travel plans.