During our trip to Taipei, one of the things that we were reminded not to miss over and over again was the Mala hot pot, or spicy hot pot. Friends told us that we simply must go to Mala Yuanyang Hot Pot because their selection of food is fresh and their soup is just fabulously spicy. Since we were staying in Ximending, we chose to visit their Ximen branch, which is located next to the bright orange Holiday KTV in the corner. Locating Yuanyang Hot Pot could be challenging for those who don’t read Chinese because their signboard displays only Chinese characters. We had to hunt for the shop based on the address alone, but to make it easier for you, I have taken some pictures of the shop front at the bottom of this post. 🙂
Supreme US Angus Beef slices
Yuanyang Hot Pot logo
We made a reservation through phone earlier in the day and reached there just in time at 5pm. Looking back, we should have booked our session at 4pm instead because the rate from 11.30am to 4pm was cheaper! Granted, 4pm might be a weird time for a heavy meal but when you’re a tourist, it doesn’t really matter, does it? 🙂 Anyway, we were given a 2-hour block of time to eat as much as we could, and that included free flow of ice-cream and beer! We were fascinated because it was the first time we had free flow of beer in a all-you-can-eat hot pot restaurant.
Spicy and mild soup make up yuanyang pot
Free flow of beer and green tea
Once we had our choice of soups on the burner, we went to scout for food. There was a rather wide selection of food at the counter, but the more premium ones had to be ordered with the waiter. Thankfully, the orders came through very quickly and they were very fresh too! The fish paste and prawn paste were one of our favourites. They didn’t look good in the form of paste, but once we cut them and cooked in the hot pot, they turned out to be bouncy and succulent. We had a few orders of these in the end.
Fish and prawn paste
Fresh seafood was available at the counter, and we took a number of crabs, clams and prawns to flavour our soup. The normal selection of mushrooms, meat balls, squid balls, fish balls and the like were also free for us to pick at the counter.
Mushroom and all kinds of balls
But what we were more interested was the choice of premium beef slices from the menu. They were specially imported either from the US or Australia and we’re allowed to order as much as we wanted to as long as we could finish them. We started with the US Angus Beef and the Australian Prime Beef, which were both sliced fresh and thin. Once the spicy soup was bubbling hot, I dipped the beef slice in just for a few seconds and ate it when it was still slightly pink. It was so good! Each slice had just the right amount of fatty layer in it to give it that melt-in-your-mouth texture plus an extra juicy burst of flavour. We were delighted!
Australia Prime beef
Angus beef slices
If you’re a fan of spicy soup like me, you’d have a wonderful time here. The soup was not overly spicy but it gave out that slight numbing feeling that was enough to leave me sweating with burning hot lips. In the cold weather, this was just what we wanted. Also, I have found that crispy Chinese crullers went really well with spicy hot soup! They still had a nice crispy skin on the outside but each bite provided a burst of spicy soup to our palate. I was overjoyed with them!
Bubbling hot soup
Slightly pink beef slice
Chinese crullers and more mushrooms
After stuffing ourselves silly with plates and plates of beef slices, we thought it was good time to slow down and explore the ice-cream section. There was also a selection of flower tea for a soothing comfort to the tummy. The choices of ice-cream were from Haagen Dazs and Movenpick, which I thought was pretty good for the price that we paid. The number of flavours was rather decent too, with about 8 flavours from Haagen Dazs and more from Movenpick. There was definitely more than enough for us to try!
Soothing flower tea
Haagen-Dazs and Movenpick ice-creams
Haagen Dazs served in a bowl
Movenpick on a cone
Needless to say, we left the restaurant feeling extremely full and satiated, even before our 2-hour limit was up. Was it good? Yes! Would we return? Absolutely! If we were to visit Taipei again, this would be one of the items in our itinerary that we wouldn’t want to miss. And if you’re heading there anytime soon, I’d suggest you to do the same. 🙂
Pricing in March 2012 (New pricing from the website NTD448 / NTD 548)
Mala Yuanyang Hot Pot restaurant on 2nd floor in red signboard
Location of Mala Yuanyang Hot Pot next to Holiday KTV
Mala Yuanyang Hot Pot (Ximen Branch)
2F, No. 62 Xining S. Rd,
Tel No.: +886-2-2314-6528
Opening Hours: 11:30am to 5am