TAI HO DIEN 太和殿麻辣火鍋
No. 315 Xinyi Road, Sec. 4 大安區信義路四段315號
MRT: SYS Memorial Hall
$$ (about $500-700/person)
hours: 12 PM - 3 AM
website: www.taihodien.com.tw Chinese only
visit reviewed: 3/3/2011
Tai Ho Dien is a spicy mala hotpot restaurant on Xinyi Road, which is kind of hard to spot with all the MRT construction going on. But it's roomy with two seating sections and easier to get a big table than the more popular mala joints in town. But it's just as good, and a proclaimed favorite of a few of my friends.
My friends can eat mala hotpot all year round, which is perfect for tagging along, and of course, when they discovered I'd never tried Tai Ho Dien, reservations were made.
What I love about mala hotpot places in Taipei is that they come with the dual sided hotpots, so that you can stick to the non-spicy side, or flirt with the tongue numbing heat as much as you feel comfortable. You pay for the soup base and then for the additional dishes- sliced meats, vegetables, tofu, intestines.. Just give me some red meat to swish around and some you tiao to dunk and eat and I'm pretty happy. I like to soak it for just a few seconds to soak up the spicy broth, but not long enough for it to get soggy.
The broths also get continually replenished, so the blood cubes, tofu, chinese cabbage are all-you-can-eat. For mala beginners, you can get xiao la or low spicy, which is already pretty fiery.
Be sure to try the fish and shrimp fishballs which are freshly made and scooped into the hotpot.