Taipei Restaurants and Hot Spots to Visit
|Typical Hot Pot meal. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)|
In most of Asia and certainly in the USA Chinese communities, Hot Pot Restaurants are very popular. Also known as Shabu-Shabu in Japan, these restaurants offer a hot soup experience that not many Americans or Europeans have ever tried. I know most of my family in the mid-West United States and US East coast have probably never heard of such a style restaurant. So, for my Chinese readers, please let me explain for my American friends and readers.
|Sample of a Shabu-Shabu meal - (Courtesy of Wikipedia)|
I have tried Hot Pot Restaurants many times in California, Singapore, Japan, China, Taiwan, Malaysia and a few other countries that I have traveled. Not all have really appealed to my appetite, but most are a real enjoyable eating experience.
Each table in the restaurant either has a built in butane fueled or electric stove, or at least room for a portable table top butane stove. They can be smaller individual stoves, or one larger central stove for the entire table.
You then select the type of broth that you want for your hot pot soup. It can be chicken broth based, garlic, hot & spicy, curry style, tomato, vegetarian, seafood, and many, many other unique Asian blends. Of course there are mild to very spicy varieties to suite your taste preference. With each meal, you select the type of meat or seafood and they serve a large bowl or plate of mixed vegetables. Meats such as beef, lamb, pork or chicken are usually served almost paper thin and frozen slices.
|Photo courtesy of foodnut.com - 2009|
The seafood such as shrimp. Calamari fish, etc. can be offered whole or sliced and will include frozen fish and seafood “balls”. The vegetables vary greatly in most restaurants but often include American or Chinese Cabbage, mixed green leafs, several style mushrooms, carrots, squash, onions, pumpkin, peppers, fresh egg, and more. As you select your vegetables in the boiling pot of broth, next go to the ‘sauce area” and select you style of broth for your meat. You often can select from such sauces and condiments as soy sauce, sesame, garlic, sliced green onions, hot peppers, peanut sauce, ginger, and sometimes much more. Mix as many together as you please or try several different sauce combinations.
The thinly sliced meat cooks in a matter of 15-30 seconds, and you can then pick out the cooked meat, dip it in your sauce and enjoy. Scoop out your vegetables in your bowl with your tasty broth, and savor the flavors of you soup and meat.
Now, I know there are so many bloggers out in the cloud that rate and talk about Hot Pot Restaurants, but I hope you enjoy my perspective of the meal I had a few days ago.
We visited Asia-Milan Restaurant for a delightful hot pot style lunch, located at No. 2, Section 3., Xinsheng S. Rd., Daan District, Taipei City 106. This is my first visit to this restaurant, but was recommended to me by several people. I’m adventurous and love good food, so off we went. The Asia-Milan is clean and has a classy ambiance for a hot pot restaurant. Their business card is below.
We were warmly greeted, quickly seated, and had a very friendly and professional young waitress that helped decide our options on the menu. Before we could finish our order, the restaurant was filled to capacity.
First, we had a wide variety of soup broths to start with, some I have never tried before, such as the pumpkin cheese broth. Other broths included: tomato, spicy, garlic, curry, sour cabbage, Japanese seaweed, vegetarian, and a traditional Chinese herb.
There were two electric hot pot plates built into our table, and we could ask for a single serving hot pot, or a “double” with two different broths. We ordered one of each for variety. I selected the tomato, and my guests selected hot & spicy as one and the sour cabbage. this is a super way for people to sample a nice variety of tasts when with a group of 3-4 people.
|This was my Tomato Broth Hot Pot|
|The double Hot Pot with Spicy (right side) and sour Cabbage broth (left side)|
We ordered two varieties of beef and one pork as our main ingredient. The filled hot pots came in a few moments (Great Service) and in no time the broth was starting to boil. Our server brought us each a generous bowl of vegetables and other ingredients including UDON Noodles for our hot pot.
While we were waiting for our chilled meat, we headed to the sauce bar and mixed our sauces. I rushed back to the table to find our meat and I was ready to cook!!! Good fun cooking your own meal with friends, and my tomato hot pot was excellent. I ate it all and was sad there was none left to take home with me!
After the meals and hot pot’s were cleared away, we were brought our choice of deserts which included chocolate cake, cheese cake and crème brulee. Very Yummy. But that was not all. To cool us off and refresh our palettes, we were served an icy “slush” drink made from sweet passion fruit. It was sooooooo good, and I drank it so fast, that I got momentary “brain freeze”. I slowed down and finished this refreshing after dinner drink.
There may be many fine hot pot restaurants in Taipei, but this blogger wants you to know that the Asia-Milan Restaurant is one Taipei restaurant that should be on your list! I will be back to try more from this Super Hot Pot - Hot Spot!