Hot Mala -- great mala hotpot in Taipei

Here’s the site: … c1a302febc

note: i’m in no way associated with this restaurant.

I’m not a very big fan of mala huo guo but my gf is. In fact, I’m a very big opponent of the “eat all you want” restaurants let alone ma la huo guo! BUT, one day, as my gf had cravings to numb her mouth, we decided to goto yahoo and search for a restaurant and found this one. I just went again tonight, and I decided that i must write a review about it.

It’s pretty good!

My review (first one I’ve written, so bear with me):

It’s located a few streets behind ding hao (in between civic rd and zhongxiao) on an alley with a bunch of other “eat till your full” restaurants. We didn’t have the foresight to make reservations and when we got there found a LONG and I mean long wait (1 hr) to eat. In normal situations, my lack of patience and fierce-bad-mood-when-hungry personality would walk away and look for another option but this restaurant made me want to give it a chance. Why?

  1. It’s really modern and clean, very nicely decorated…not what I usually associate with all you can eat mala huoguo places
  2. It was packed! There must be something about place
  3. It served Haagen Daz and that Russian ice cream (forgot the name). Ok, this was not my reason for staying. It was my gf’s
  4. The host was very friendly, offering us drinks when we sat down to wait. Not just drinks, she gave us both a bottle of soda (glass bottle of Sprite and coke). Wow! I found out later that they are normally $70ntd but we got them for free even before we sat down to eat. Nice! (But note, I didn’t see another set of customers get this while waiting so maybe we were just lucky)

So we waited, and tried it. I was impressed. It’s not as cheap as the regular allyoucaneat restaurants, it is about $438NTD per person or so. But the selection of ingredients is incredible. Most places I’ve been to only have the usual fair of some meatballs and japanese tempura stuff. This place has almost everything I’ve ever encountered in hot pot. Different kinds of meatballs, different kinds of dumplings , lobster (albeit, looked more like large crayfish), mussels, clams, various types of mushrooms, everything. I mean, wow, it really has a nice selection. All these ingredients are located in a refrigerated backwall that was well lit and very cleanly maintained. It actually felt “safe” to eat. I’m quite picky about my food and the presentation of all the ingredients wiped away my fears. The staff seems pretty good about keeping the food area and sauce area clean and organized.

Now on to the meat. They offer few types of beef, pork, and lamb. Your not going to get expensive shabushabu level meat here but I’ll have to say this beats all the other malahuoguo places I’ve ever been to. The meat quality is about the same as the high end restaurant Orange’s regular meat. I kid you not. It’s not saying a WHOLE lot since Orange’s “regular” beef for shabushabu is not worth the money they charge but for an all you can eat this was pretty darn good. You can order two orders of meat (fits on to one plate) at a time. Once you’re done with the plate, an attentive waiter/waitress takes your order for more. Never felt like they were trying to drag their feet in getting us our meat.

Soup base: They have I think 5 choices? You can choose 2 different bases as the hot pot is split into 2 sections so you can have 1 for the “ma la” base and one for the other ones. Our first trip we tried the ma la and the “healthy” base. The mala base comes in three levels of hot and on our first visit we tried “medium” hot/spicy. It was perfect. Their mala soup base is the secret recipie of the owner’s mother and it tasted very good. It’s actually delicious to drink as soup. It has a spicy flavor that is also aromatic. I do recommend scooping a little of the top layer of oil out though. Our visit tonight we did “hot” and it was really too spicy for my weaksauce tastebuds. Our other soup base for tonight was the “sour vegetables” base which isn’t spicy but unfortunately was too sour for me. One very nice feature of this restaurant I noticed is that when your soup/water level is running low in your hotpot, they’ll come and add more soup base for free. Most of these allyoucaneat restaurants only add hot water; this place adds actual soup base!

Drinks: They have orange and grape flavored icee type drink that was not bad as well as “oil cutting” ice tea and some other beverages that are self serve. The bottles of coke/sprite cost money. Not sure if they have alcohol. Should have checked. But if they do, I’m sure nothing much more than just beers.

Desserts: Like I said, they have haagen-daz and that Russian ice cream. 4 flavors of self serve haagen daz and a few flavors of that other one. Also, in another small display “fridge” you can get your usual assortment of sliced fruits (guava, apple, pineapple, etc) along with some slices of cake and pastry.

Alas, I can never walk away from one of these all you can eat restaurants without feeling remorse for stuffing myself. When we were all done and ready to leave, my stomach definitely took a beating from overeating and the hot chili oils. Got to control my intake next time I go!

Rants: The music they play there is a mix of hip-hop and rock. All pretty good music and not TOO loud but sometimes gets annoying when trying to have a conversation. Also, when the music is a little bit faster (thank god it’s not trance), I end up eating faster. :frowning: . Wish they also had a guide to making a good dipping sauce. Lots of ingredients are available but I never know what to throw together. Maybe I’ll ask them next time.

Note: Make a reservation! They do allow reservations by phone.

Overall, if you have a craving for some spicy hotpot, give this place a try. I highly recommend it. But make sure you are aware of the consequences! The spiciness may give you stomach ache (I’m feeling it right now…it’s not pleasant. Really, I recommend the medium spiciness level). My gf seems to not have issues at all.

Great review! Thanks very much! :notworthy:

And here’s the exact address (I pulled it from the link you posted):
Hot Mala 哈麻辣鴛鴦火鍋餐廳 (頂好店)
Dunhua South Road, Section 1, Lane 160, No.39
(02) 2751=6998

hmmm may have to give this a try… has anyone tried the hot pot place in gong guan called MALA? i heard that one is good as well

I believe the one in Gongguan is part of the same chain. There’s also one in Ximending. It’s probably the best place to go for Hot Pot, especially considering the price and flexibility of what you can put into the pot.

V and I ate there last night. It was ok - not haute cuisine, but still pretty good. The ice-cream afterwards made it even nicer. The music was annoying, until I asked them to change it. I’d go back again.