Wednesday, October 12, 2005

"Fondue King" Hot Pot, Taipei

Fondue King

I have a routine when coming into Taipei - land at 10PM, get to the hotel by 11PM, drop my bags and hit the late night hot pot joints, and then get back to the hotel for a full night's rest for the next business day. This place, the "Fondue King," or ma la wong (it's not Swiss fondue - it's Taiwanese hot pot, which I suppose is kinda like fondue in the sense that you dip into a central pot), has outlets all over the city, and is open pretty late.

But tonight was quite a bummer. It had always been one of my favorites, with its pivotal sa cha sauce and spicy stock. It is hardly one of the top-quality places in Taipei (rather, it's a cheap all-you-can-eat on paper plates place at only NT$299, or US$9), but I still liked it better than some of the "nicer" (a la carte) hot pot places due to the broth. Unfortunately, tonight, they lacked cilantro (which to me changes the taste of the sa cha dipping sauce considerably), and the lamb was of pretty poor quality (it was thick and with inedible portions). Maybe I've been spoiled by the good quality meats at the "whispering man" hot pot back in Singapore, but either way, I was really pretty bummed tonight. I don't think I want to come back here now.

But at least I got my Taiwanese "Apple Sidra" (apple soda). And it looks like they have a pretty funny URL too: Ha ha.


Goat Almighty said...

mate, the website's in chinese! lol!

hey isnt this hot pot thing the same as the steamboats we see here in singapore?

havent had those in a while... .

bma said...

The ingredients are significantly different from Singaporean steamboat, especially with the spicy broth and dipping sauces. And there are a bunch of mainland Chinese places in Singapore that are closer, but those are missing one key Taiwanese ingredient that I can't live without: sa cha sauce. That's why I was really bummed when I ate this as I had my hopes up. Well, this weekend should feature some more "upscale" spots that should hopefully finally redeem the Taiwanese version.