Adventures written by the VAMONDE Team
Almost every Asian country has their own version of a dish commonly known as hot pot. Traditionally, it begins with a pot of soup broth (the base). A variety of vegetables, dumplings, noodles, and meats are then placed into the broth to cook. Items are fished out of the broth via serving spoons or chopsticks and dipped into a serving sauce. You can also personalize their sauces, which can contain soy sauce, sesame seed paste, chili oil, and other condiments. The broth base, flavored by the various food items, can be consumed as well.
In Taiwan, hot pot is truly a family affair, where relatives sit around the table chatting and cooking their food in a pot of warm, flavorful broth.
Mala Spicy Hot Pot, or Mala Hot Pot, has branches throughout the city. It often has long lines and reservations are highly encouraged. One reason this chain is so popular is that, unlike other hot pot places, it provides diners with all-you-can-eat vegetables, seafood, and premium cuts of meat, like flank beef, chuck eye roll, pork belly with skin, Australian lamb, New Zealand sirloin beef, New Zealand lamb shoulder, and chicken. This feast costs an affordable $18-22 per person depending on what time and day you decide to dine.
The restaurant’s name refers to Mala sauce, which is a popular spicy Chinese sauce comprised of Sichuan peppercorn, chili pepper, and various spices simmered with oil. True to its name, Mala Hot Pot’s signature soup base is spicy, but the restaurant also has non-spicy herbal options.
If you’re traveling in a group that has a mix of spice lovers and haters, there’s no need to worry. They serve soups in a “yin yang” pot that has a divider, which allows for people to cook with two different soup base flavors. Whether you have a sweet tooth or just need to cool off your mouth, Mala Hot Pot provides unlimited Häagen-Dazs and Movenpick ice cream!
Cover image “Sichuan hot pot” by Matt Ryall is licensed under CC BY 2.0.