WEI LU 圍爐酸菜白肉火鍋
No. 35, Alley 4, Lane 345, Ren Ai Road
hours: 11:30 AM - 2 PM; 5:30 PM - 9:30 PM
$$ (around NT$400-500/person)
Kid friendliness: family style hotpot
Visit reviewed: 1/16/2012
Hotpot seems like such an easy thing to make at home, why eat it at a restaurant? When the hotpot base is a lot more than plain water, like at Wei Lu where it's full of sour, shredded cabbage (or hsuan tsai) and pork even before you order, and there are special side dishes like sweet red bean pancake dessert and flaky sesame bun sandwiches.
Wei Lu's decor and food is more old school Chinese than the zen Japanese shabu shabu places that have been popping up.
Order extra meat to swish around the hotpot.
The distinctive pot with a tall chimney in the center works like an upside down funnel for the smoke. There are different size pots and pricing for different size parties. For a 2-3 person hotpot NT$580, 4-6 people $980 and 7 or more people $1400- essentially paying for the pork and cabbage soup base and free refills.
Be sure to browse the sauces and condiments, which include chopped green onions, minced garlic, cilantro, chili sauce, vinegar, peanut sauce and even sugar. I always am unsure of what to do especially when things are not labeled, so I just followed what my friends did (or ask the waitstaff).
If you order their lunch set (which we did), it also comes with a sesame bun hand stuffed with a moo shu type pork and cabbage, which is like an oversized sao bing sandwich.
Wei Lu's hotpot is quite hearty and the sour cabbage has a distinctive flavor for anyone that likes vegetable stew.
The dessert set also comes with red bean sesame pancake and mochi.
Yum, save room for dessert.