Thu, Nov 06, 2014 - Page 12 News List

Restaurant review: Man Tang Hung Spicy Hot Pot

By Eddy Chang  /  Staff reporter

The restaurant has a good selection of seafood, vegetables and hot pot ingredients.

Photo: Eddy Chang, Taipei Times

There are numerous spicy hot pot restaurants around Taipei, and the range in price and quality is wide, from inexpensive NT$299 all-you-can-eat joints to pricey establishments that provide high-end ingredients. Established in 2005, Man Tang Hung Spicy Hot Pot (滿堂紅頂級麻辣鴛鴦火鍋) is somewhere in between. Despite the all-you-can-eat style, the restaurant chain is famous for its food and service.

Man Tang Hung is currently operating several outlets in northern and central Taiwan. I recently visited the Fuxing branch (復興店) with two friends for a weekday lunch. The restaurant, which was clean and bright, is located inside an office building and is a five-minute walk from Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station (忠孝復興站). We arrived at around 1pm and were quickly seated at a table with two sofas in a semi-open cubicle that gave us a degree of privacy.

Man Tang Hung offers six varieties of bottomless soup: spicy, seaweed, pickled cabbage, milky miso, aloe and fruit kimchi. We ordered the hottest spicy soup (麻辣鍋), which is served with duck blood jelly and tofu, as well as the lightest seaweed soup (昆布鍋), which came in the same bowl separated by a divider. The ox bone-based broth for the spicy soup is slowly cooked with about 20 ingredients, Chinese medicinal herbs and spices such as Chinese pepper and bean paste for six to eight hours. The waitress stressed that it did not contain any artificial chicken broth cubes or monosodium glutamate (MSG). The restaurant certainly lived up to its reputation for good service — the broth was savory but slightly too spicy for me and when I asked the waitress to add just a little non-spicy broth to reduce the intensity, she was more than willing to accommodate my request.

Man Tang Hung Spicy Hot Pot 滿堂紅頂級麻辣鴛鴦火鍋

Address: 2F, 127, Fuxing S Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市復興南路一段127號2樓)

Telephone: (02) 2775-3738

Open: Daily from 11:30am to 1:30am

Average meal: NT$498 (lunch), NT$598 (dinner)

Details: Menu in Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean; credit cards accepted; 10 percent service charge

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Man Tang Hung is different from the typical all-you-can-eat hot pot restaurants — you don’t choose ingredients from an open refrigerator. Instead, the staff brings the dishes to your table as you order. As Taiwan’s only all-you-can-eat hot pot restaurant with a Platinum US Beef certification developed by the US Meat Export Federation, the restaurant is certainly proud of its beef. It offers four parts of US Prime or Choice beef, and high-quality pork, lamb and chicken. The costly US boneless short ribs were not available for lunch during weekdays, so we ordered the other three parts of beef instead. The thickly-sliced beef quickly turned pink after being dunked in the boiling soup for 30 seconds and it was tender and flavorsome after absorbing the broth.

The restaurant also boasts a good selection of seafood and vegetables. We put the seafood mostly in the non-spicy soup, so we could taste its natural sweetness. All the shrimp, squid and clams tasted fresh, and the texture of the snapper was particularly delicate and moist. The mushroom combo platter featuring four varieties is also recommended, as you can enjoy Chinese, king, needle and oyster mushrooms at the same time.

Nothing is more satisfying than a few scoops of ice cream after a spicy hot pot. Unlike most all-you-can-eat restaurants, which offer relatively cheap ice cream, Man Tang Hung offers eight varieties of Haagen-Dazs as well as eight varieties of Meiji ice cream. According to restaurant owner Wang Ching-hua (王清華), his restaurant chain is paying close to NT$2 million to Haagen-Dazs per month, and all the outlets are able to choose the newest and most popular flavors freely.

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