at Neo 19, 2nd FL
No. 22 Song Ren Road
website: humaxasia.com.tw/momo Chinese only
hours: 11:30 AM - 12midnight; weekends and holidays 11:30 AM - 1 AM
Kid friendliness: no high chairs or boosters- booth seating
Visit reviewed: 11/3/2007
A good option for affordable all you can eat shabu shabu or sukiyaki (depending on what you choose) in a modern, if not popular setting. You might have to wait during peak hours and weekends since people can take their time at an all you can eat place, though I think Momo Paradise sets a cap at 90 minutes. Shabu shabu is basically you cooking meats and vegetables in your own pot of boiling water.
Sukiyaki is more of a grill where you can cook the vegetables and meats in a sweet soy sauce. To complete the experience, Momo Paradise gives you a raw egg that you can beat and use to dip the cooked marinated meats which gives it a slippery coating that might make some queasy, but completes the sukiyaki flavor for others.
What I liked is the variety of options and that they bring everything to you. There is a vegetable cart that they will plate up for you, but you can also add a mushroom plate or other things such as tempura or bowls of rice for no additional charge.
You can also pick from beef or pork or seafood (though I liked the pork better than the beef on this occasion). Though their meat is sliced paper thin, it's quite filling if you get enough trays. Plus it cooks faster that way.
Their charges vary per person if you want one or two pots at your table (say if you guys want both shabu shabu and sukiyaki for a bigger party) or the third option of a miso soup hot pot. From NT$299 lunch to $399 dinner up to NT$499 if you want all three pots at dinner. They also have slightly discounted prices after 10pm at their Neo 19 and Chung Hsiao locations. US$12 for all you can eat shabu shabu for dinner sounds like a pretty good deal to me!
Also, as you can see from the 'after' picture, the soup is not really for drinking, since they start off with plain water and not a broth. The Chinese hot pot places that start with the broth (like Hundred Mushroom Garden) has soup that you DO want to drink.
For an extra charge of NT$130, you can add udon, drink and dessert to your meal, although you already get a complimentary coffee jelly dessert with the regular meal. There are also limited sides available. I liked the udon, though I wished there was a tad more and that it wasn't an extra charge for it- though I think there is vermicelli and regular noodles or rice offered with the regular price.
Everyone probably has their own favorite local shabu shabu or hot pot joint, but for a chain I feel like this is a good choice too for couples, families or even business lunches, or even as a way of introduction shabu shabu to newcomers. The only downside is that their menu is only in Chinese and Japanese, but since all the offerings are mostly available on sight, you can pick and choose. I actually first had MoMo Paradise in Japan a few years back and was so stuffed by the time we left, trying both the shabu shabu and sukiyaki pots. Having had great memories of that experience, I'd say that the service is a little different here (less cozy, more casual) at the Neo 19 location, but maybe the other locations are different.
Growing up Chinese American, I never really gave the concept of hot pot a second thought, but for those of you who watch SURVIVOR- the last season had them competing in China, where one of the rewards they had hot pot on the Great Wall. The three Americans were confused (and later complained) about what to do with the hot pot, plates of meats and vegetables that was on the table. It was actually pretty annoying how much they complained about it (if you're starving, then then hot pot is a pretty good reward and they had a LOT of stuff available!), but it definitely reminded me that not everyone knows about what it is or how it works (though hot water + raw meat = food).
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