Must do: Hot Pot in Taiwan


Hot Pot is Chinese, Shabu Shabu is Japanese, same shit, right? I’m probably making a sin in Asian cuisine, but they IS the same to me. I’m no Chinese food expert or even Taiwanese, but when I was in Taiwan, there were a ton of Hot Pot places and I ate my face off. The way I could identify a Hot Pot restaurant was that they all had a labels on their signs – one being for “Angus Beef”, the other for Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream, and the last one for beer. When you have those combos in Taiwan, Hot Pot it is!

I’m the stupid American tourist so everything seems cheap in other countries. Ridiculous, but it’s an awesome revelation in every single city you go to. My gf, Maria and I went to a well-known Hot Pot place in the Ximendind district of Taiwan. Mala Hot Pot was booked for days, so no dice. Lets say this is the #2 spot.


Initially taken back by the price, I quickly did the math and at $20 total ($10 per person), Maria and I had all the Hot Pot we could dream of. One big difference with Hot Pot over Shabu Shabu is the broths. Hot Pots tend to have a spicy broth and a non-spicy or herbal broth, Japanese Shabu Shabu has a Kombu or kelp broth. We went with 3 actually, spicy, herbal, and curry. The curry was a mistake, but the other 2 were good.

Once you order the broth, then comes the meat. There were about 10 different meats you could choose from, and they ranged from prime beef to lamb. What’s really funny to me is that when I’m at All-You-Can-Eat places in the states, the Asians quickly go for the seafood, the crab legs, the lobster, shrimp and etc, but at Hot Pot, the meats are somewhat limited, and the seafood is unlimited and they gorge on meat. So why do they do that? Idk. In Taiwan, all the seafood you could want. Shrimp stew, shrimp gumbo, shrimp and potatoes.


The quality was good, the meat came out semi-frozen, but looked good. I’m cool with that and not just sitting in the heat. Refrigeration ain’t cheap and when you’re in Asia it’s easy to find butchers on the street, like literally on the damn street with their meat, non-refrigerated. Then again, they cook the shit out of it, boil, fry, you name it.

I got off on the unlimited beer and Häagen-Dazs ice cream. That was a great touch. Maria ended up taking a pic of me with a beer, energy drink, bowl of ice cream, and an ice cream cone. That is what you do at Hot Pot!

It’s such an experience in Asia to Hot Pot, and while it seems very very similar, it ain’t. Hot Pot in Asia is unstoppable!

Follow us on Twitter at @dapperguide or Like us on Facebook