One of my favorite meals during the cold months is hot pot. There are various places that serve this delightful experience. Some are a set price for meat and a plate of vegetables, others all you can eat. Some you get one broth and your own pot, others 1-2 broths and a big group pot. Yesterday I went to an all you can eat where you share the pot. This is one of my new favorites 郭大王. About NT$500 (about US$17) buys you few hours in Nirvana.
The following is a glimpse into why I love it so much.
Mongolian chicken: Grab as much as you want off the delicious spit of roasting meat. Perfect for the time spent waiting for your broths to heat up.
Beverages: Glass bottled sodas, just take one and pop the top off with the opener on the cooler door, tea, coffee, fruit juices, or beer are all there as much as you want! I went with sprite, winter melon tea, and later some watermelon juice.
Pots of garlic sauce, green onions, soy, vinegar, ginger and more are available for you to mix and match into your own dipping sauce. Although the broth is very flavorful I still like to make a sauce just to change it up every few bites.
Take your plate over to the buffet to pick things to consume. Seafood, noodles, dumplings, tofu, vegetables...then put them into the broth and wait for them to cook. Steamed rice is also usually available. Below are some of the mushrooms, cheese balls, and other various items I grabbed.
In the beginning, a selection of beef, pork, and lamb is brought. They are thinly sliced and cook very fast in the broth. There are different varieties of tenderness and fat available and you can re-order more if you're still hungry. My favorites are the more fatty beef and the lamb. Also on the bottom is a shot of some ramen noodles I dropped in
Before you can make hot pot though, you need to pick your broth of course. At this venue, there are 7 to choose from. We went with a milky broth (left) and spicy Mongolian (right) those things floating in it are spices, no food added yet. You must wait until it reaches a nice boil.
Even when you've reached your fill, there's always dessert. Panna cotta, fruit, ice cream, a chocolate fountain. I went with a simple 2 scoops of black cherry ice cream this time.
The nice thing about this is you can stay for a few hours if it isn't busy, and you're so relaxed by the time you are done. It's great to go with friends and just chat and try different combinations of flavors. The only thing I will hate when the summer comes is my lack of desire to consume this steamy dish, maybe when I get inside the air conditioning this year I'll change my mind.