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Monday, September 28, 2009
hotpot/taiwanese: i strongly recommend MALA YUANYANG HOTPOT
MALA YUANYANG HOTPOT
No. 62, SiNing S. Road, 2 FL
hours: 11:30 AM- 4 PM (NT$399); 4 PM - 5 AM (NT$459)
Visit reviewed: 9/7/2009
Walking into Mala, I knew I was going to like it.
First off, it's all you can eat and mostly self serve, so you can mull over if you want seafood, veggies, ramen or fried you tiou from the abundant wall of choices without having to wait for a server to come to your table (which sometimes takes too long at other places when they are busy pushing the vegetable cart around) or feeling guilty about piling up your plate up high repeatedly.
Second, there's also all you can eat dessert- which includes not only a freezer of Movenpick, but also Haagen Daaz ice cream, which is proudly displayed at the entrance as well. Smart move, considering that a scoop or two of name brand ice cream is half the price of all-you-can-eat entry fee. If you don't want ice cream, there's also fruits, flans and cakes to choose from.
Third, it was packed on a Monday night. The setting is modern and bustling- groups of friends talking over music and spicy hotpot. Don't even try to add in friends who come late like we did, as tables are allotted for only 2 hours or so and then booked through the night to other reservations.
Did I mention the wall of food?
It had everything and it was fresh and tasty- more types of soy and tofu than I could name, packaged ramen, shrimp, mussels, scallops, fish, fishballs, at least four types of mushrooms and lots of cabbage, chinese cabbage and vegetables. The servers were efficient about constantly refilling pans that had run out.
I put half of my goodies into the non-spicy side and half into the mala side, especially the you tiao which soaks up the spicy broth and is crispy and soggy at the same time, sort of like a crouton bathed in french onion soup. I find the broths here a bit saltier than the others I've tried, as I was pretty thirsty the next morning.
And there's the meat. Lamb, Black Angus beef, chicken- just ask the server and they will bring the trays of thinly sliced meat to dunk and swish and devour.
To combat the spiciness, there's quite a few self serve drinks as well as Coke in glass bottles and Taiwan beer. There's also an array of soy, sesame, vinegar and chili sauces to mix and match to your own liking (though all labeled in Chinese).
I recently passed the famous (and some say overrated) Tripod King in a taxi and saw the lines outside. Save yourself some waiting and a few bucks and try out some of the other Mala places in town. Advance reservations strongly recommended though!
View hungry in taipei restaurants in a larger map
No. 86, DingZhou Rd, Sec. 3