The steam rises slowly as the soup begins to boil, and you eagerly toss in the raw food that’s on stand-by and wait for it to cook in the soup. Yes, hot pot season is here! As chilly weather starts to creep up on Taipei, people are looking for food that can warm them up amidst the gray skies and dreary rain. Hot pot is the natural choice for many because it offers a great variety of choices, and of course, it’s fun to cook the food! Many hotpot restaurants in Taiwan now offer a soup base that is made up of an assortment of different Chinese herbs — customers have a choice of non-spicy, spicy, or both soup bases in a double-flavored pot (鴛鴦鍋). Many restaurants will also provide unlimited tofu and duck blood throughout the course of your meal. If you’re craving for some steaming hot, freshly cooked food – look no further! We’ve rounded up some of the more popular go-to places for hot pot around Taipei.
Originating from Taichung, Tripod King (also known as Ding Wang) is one of the most famous hot pot restaurants in Taiwan. It’s well-known for its healthy, flavorful spicy soup base that is stewed from a variety of mild Chinese medicines and chili peppers. The non-spicy soup base is equally famous for its unique ingredients. Known as the Northeastern Pickled Vegetable Pot (東北酸菜鍋), it is stewed with a one-of-a-kind vegetable vinegar and is known for balancing the human taste buds with its refreshing flavor.
Wu Lao Guo is the sister restaurant of Tripod King, and is also a hot pot restaurant. What sets Wu Lao Guo apart from other hot pot restaurants is probably its non-spicy soup base, the Japanese Ice Cream Tofu Pot (日本冰淇淋豆腐鍋). This soup base is stewed from pork ribs and is a mixture of Chinese and Japanese broth flavors. Moreover, it comes with a complimentary scoop of the legendary Japanese ice cream tofu, and you can actually cook it in the soup base (it may sound weird – but it’s delicious!). For those seeking an exclusive hot pot experience, this is definitely one place you need to check out.
Aside from their unique soup bases, Tripod King and Wu Lao Guo both have a myriad of food categories to choose from, and they even have a health food category in which all the items are meant to promote better bodily functions after consumption. Both restaurants are very popular, so we highly recommended making reservations 2-3 weeks in advance.
Average Spend: 700NT
As its name suggests, Ma La is the place to go to for spicy hot pot. This restaurant is famous for its spicy soup base, which is stewed from thirty eight different Sichuan herbs and spices and promises some serious perspiration during the meal, plus a satisfying numbness in your mouth. Ma La is an all-you-can-eat restaurant with a complete selection of traditional hot pot dishes. Finish off your meal with something sweet from the very impressive self-serve dessert section where Haggen-Daz and Movenpick ice cream are served. In short, if you are looking for a spicy, all-you-can-eat hot pot experience, Ma La is your answer!
Lunch price on weekdays (11AM-4PM): 493NT
Dinner and weekend price: 598NT
Sichuan province in China is well-known for its spicy food; and likewise, the hot pot restaurant, Lao Sichuan, also boasts a savory spicy soup base. Spiced with garlic, ginger, pepper, green onion and chili pepper, the aroma of the spicy soup base is enough to make one drool. Coupled with the non-spicy soup base that is mild yet delicious, the double-flavored pot in Lao Sichuan is the best of both worlds. Aside from the soup base, the food selection in Lao Sichuan is also very fresh and of high quality. We recommend this restaurant to anyone who doesn’t mind spending the money to have a quality meal. Taipei would definitely agree with us, since advanced reservation are required during dinnertime due to high demand.
Photo via Priscilla Cheng
Unlike the others in this list, Shangyue Japanese Shabu Shabu is not a chain restaurant. This restaurant, located in the Neihu District, has a wider selection of MSG-free soup bases, including a hot and sour Thai, spicy tomato, and sesame chicken soup, just to name a few. The food is very fresh as all items are picked out by the owner each morning to ensure the highest quality. If you are looking for a local restaurant that is clean, friendly, family-oriented and most importantly, has great food, this is the spot for you.
Average Spend: 300NT
Ding Wang (not to be confused with Tripod King, above) is also a local hotpot restaurant. Their most popular appetizer is their Phoenix Talons, but these aren’t quite like the ones that you’d typically find at dim sum. The ones at Ding Wang are cooked in a special spicy soup base, adding a unique flavor that can’t be found elsewhere. The hot pot also uses this same soup base, which is largely flavored with Chinese herbs and does the trick of making the food cooked in it more succulent. Fresh ingredients are also a big selling point here.
Average Spend: 600NT
Photo via iPeen
Little Mongolian is another all-you-can-eat chain that has stores throughout Taiwan. In fact, in Taipei alone there are six stores. Their soup bases are inspired by traditional Mongolian medicinal recipes and promote healthy eating while being delicious at the same time. Aside from the flavors that the soup bases add to the food, the sesame sauce that Little Mongolian provides is another very tasty complement to the meat. Unlike Ma La, which is all self-serve, you order the hot pot food from the waiter at Little Mongolian. All other items such as drinks, fruits, and desserts are self-serve.
Lunch price on weekdays: 429NT
Dinner and weekend price: 499NT
Address: No. 277, Roosevelt Road Section 3 (台北市羅斯福路3段277號)
MRT: Taipower Building
Photo via Priscilla Cheng
Known for unique soup bases such as the Hokkaido Kombu and Coconut Curry, BINGE Hot Pot provides customers with the option of a mix-and-match double-flavored pot instead of the traditional non-spicy and spicy combination. The decoration of this restaurant is aestheticallly pleasing and not what you might expect to see in a typical hot pot restaurant. It has a Western feel to it with the cushioned chairs, partially bricked walls, and shaded lamps. The dim lights and the decor provide a surprisingly suitable environment for a relaxing hot pot dining experience.