Taiwan Hotpot Buffet 台灣的火鍋吃到飽
One of the best parts of Taiwan is it's cuisine, and one of the greatest forms of cuisine in Taiwan is hot pot. Basically it involves boiling meat and vegetables in a broth to eat. In particular, all you can eat hot pot buffets in Taiwan are a great way to get full, which can be divided into small hot pots, low end hot pot buffets, and high end hot pot buffets.
Hot pot first originated in China in the Zhou Dynasty, and the traditional food making process has continued to this day. Hot pot exists in many forms, such as Mala (spicy) hot pot, Lamb Hot Pot, Beef Hot Pot, Seafood Hot Pot, Seafood Hot Pot, Stinky Tofu Hot Pot, etc.
In Taiwan it is popular to add Shacha sauce and other hot sauces to mix with the cooked foods.
In addition, most hot pot places will offer unlimited drinks, rice, and ice cream, while full buffets will offer all you can eat meats and vegetables, along with other hot foods and desserts.
Hot pot is most popular during winter months when it is colder, but you will find a lot of people still eating hot pot in summer because it is so delicious.
Small hotpot (no buffet): 80-150 NT per pot
Semi-buffet hotpot (free drinks, rice, and maybe ice cream): 100-200 NT per person
Low-end full hotpot buffet (cheaper buffet items): 300-500 NT per person
High-end hotpot buffet (more expensive higher quality buffet items): 500-2000 NT per person
Popular Hot Pot Chains:
Semi-buffet hot pot (free drinks, rice, and maybe ice cream):
Sanma Stinky Hotpot 三媽臭臭鍋
Dahu Guoyin Hotpot 大呼過癮小火鍋
Low-end full hot pot buffet (cheaper buffet items):
Shabu Shabu 千葉 (Qianye)
Jixian Hotpot 極鮮火鍋
Xianyou Hotpot 鮮友火鍋
12 Hotpot 石二鍋
High-end hot pot buffet (more expensive higher quality buffet items):
HaiDiLao Hotpot 海底撈火鍋
Xindian Hotpot 辛殿麻辣鍋
Leqi Hotpot 樂崎火鍋
There are basically countless hot pot restaurants and restaurant chains, more than I could ever list in this blog.
Hot pot is one of my favorite things about Taiwan. After my first trip to Taiwan, I constantly craved hot pot, but couldn't find it anywhere in the US. Finally we did find one in another town that was way expensive, not like the cheap hot pot buffets one could find in Taiwan that were perfect for satisfying a poor and hungry college student.
When I lived in Taichung, we would visit a small hot pot that was only 60 NT for the cheapest bowl, with free ice cream, soda, and braised pork rice. That was the cheapest food buffet I have ever seen. But it was also 10 years ago and I'm sure the prices have gone up.
For a normal hot pot meal, I usually go to my local small hot pot restaurant that offers drinks, rice, ice cream, and popcorn all you can eat. I will usually go to Sanma Hotpot (三媽小火鍋) or
Dahu Guoyin Hotpot (大呼過癮小火鍋)
If I am really hungry and want a big meal, I will go the Shabu Shabu. It has the best quality for the price.
In this blog, I will introduce Sanma and Shabu Shabu, my two go-to hot pot places.
Sanma Stinky Hot Pot 三媽臭臭鍋
Sanma is a "small hot pot" restaurant chain that has locations all over Taiwan. But the best Sanma locations are in Kaohsiung, where pretty much every location has free rice, soda, and ice cream. The price is only about 120 NT per pot. A typical small hot pot looks like the above, with some places giving unlimited ice cream, rice, and soft drinks.
Shabu Shabu (Qianye) Hotpot 千葉火鍋
Of all the hot pot buffets, Shab Shabu is my favorite because it is a help-yourself buffet, and you can end up just eating unlimited meat. But the buffet selection is also pretty good.
Usually at a full on buffet, you start by ordering which soup broth you would like. Higher end buffets will have better, more flavorful soup broths. A kimchi broth is usually a safe bet.
After you have picked your broth, usually you have to go help yourself to the buffet ingredients.
There are a lot of meats to choose from, most include pork, lamb, and beef, as well as seafood. Mussels in the hot pot is heaven, and may be worth the entire price of the buffet if you add enough.
There are also vegetables and tofu products to choose from.
Most hot pot meat comes in these thin frozen curly slices. I think it is supposed to bring out the flavor, and also save on costs for the restaurant.
After a boil, your food is ready to eat. Do not eat off the same plate that you places your raw meat.
Also, you can choose not to eat the fatty broth on top.
A good buffet will also have a large assortment of drinks which includes soda and yogurt.
Also there are usually other hot Taiwanese dishes to be found.
Also you can usually find steamed dumplings here.
And a dessert freezer.
And ice cream.
And ice cream sandwiches.
And a salad bar, sushi bar, and pizza.
Different sauces and broths to choose from.
Chocolate fountain with candy.
Mixing marshmallows in the chocolate fountain.
Cheap fried food.
Also most places allow you to choose you meat and have it sliced fresh before your eyes.
More snack foods.
What is left after a delicious filling meal at the hot pot buffet.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more blogs on Taiwan foods to come!
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We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.