Monday, August 30, 2010
hotpot/taiwanese: BINGE HOTPOT
No. 98, GuangFu N. Road, 2Fl
hours: M-Sat 11AM- 3AM; Sunday 11AM-12midnight
Kid friendliness: one non-spicy broth offered; no high chairs spotted
Visit reviewed: 5/12/2010
Binge Hotpot isn't a get down and dirty all-you-can-eat hotpot place like the name suggests. Instead it's a dressed up version of mala spicy hotpot- with an art gallery-like space and stark white ceramic place settings.
There are a few other things that set Binge apart from other mala hotpot places I've been to- besides the spicy mala broth with duck's blood and tofu, they also have a Thai curry broth or a plain broth. You can adjust the spiciness of the broths to your preference.
The reason why my friend chose Binge was because she saw an assortment of yummy appetizers featured when she saw the news clip. But when we looked over the menu and asked the waitress, she replied that the hot, crispy fried things she saw featured like radish cakes, were actually not appetizers, but for cooking in the hotpot.
Despite our pleading, the waitress insisted that they couldn't prepare them as appetizers and we couldn't eat them as such since they weren't fully cooked. There were even handmade balls with shrimp and cheese inside (NT$240)... unusual and a strange combination with the mala and curry flavoring from being cooked in the broth.
As someone who likes the crispy and the soup separate- for example, I always request my shrimp tempura on the side of the my udon- who likes soggy shrimp tempura? This had sort of the same effect. Since it was our first time, we asked the waitress to order an assortment of stuff for us from the overwhelming menu, but mostly what came out was fried goodies that we couldn't eat until they were soggy.
So if I returned to Binge again, I'd stick to the basics- vegetable combo (NT$160), meat (NT$280-680) and you tiao or fried bread sticks (NT$60) which do stay crispy after being dipped in the hotpot if you don't bathe it too long. Or some of their other homemade dumplings or meatballs that aren't fried. There's also a large selection of seafood which might go better with the thai curry broth rather than the mala broth.
There's also also cantonese noodles or rice noodles if you need some starch. No packages of instant ramen here.
A complimentary sweet, Chinese soup dessert comes to the table, but I only have a few bites. The clear, crunchy jelly-like parts are called snow fungus and is supposed to be good for you.
One of the good things about Binge is it wasn't as crowded on a weekday lunch as the more well known Ding Wang Tripod King across the street, that we can spot outside our window seats. Binge is open late at night too, so you could come by for a late dinner and it's suitable for groups and a bit more spacious than other hotpot places I've been to.
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