[Ximending/Taipei] Tian Wai Tian Mala Hotpot
Taiwan is famous for its Mala Hotpot (Steamboat). Mala (麻辣) literally means “numbing hot” and the special spice in the soup will tingle your lips as you savour it. Tian Wai Tian (天外天精緻火鍋) is a popular chain of mala hotpot restaurants and this outlet was only a few streets away from Rainbow Hotel (where we are staying) in central Ximending and walking distance from Ximen MRT Station. This is also one of the few buffet restaurants in the area that offers free-flow Taiwan Beer (the other one in Ximen serving unlimited beer was Mala Yuanyang Hot Pot; upcoming review) in addition to branded ice-cream (Häagen-Dazs in this case).
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Prices vary according to the signage outside (prices are per pax): Lunch 11am to 4 pm TWD$419. Dinner 4pm to 4am TWD$479. Holidays/Weekends 4pm to 4am TWD$479. Children below 1.4m TWD$219. Additional 10% service charge applies for all.
You would usually want to opt for a mala (spicy hot) and non-mala soup base. The built-in divider allows you to enjoy both soup bases separately. For this reason, mala hotpot is sometimes known as “yuanyang” hotpot. Wiffy’s sis said that the soup base here has less MSG than the other hotpot restaurant we tried.
Tian Wai Tian Mala Steamboat 天外天精緻火鍋
Address: 台北市昆明街76號2樓 (Google map)
地址: 北市昆明街76號2樓 (No. 76, 2nd floor, Kūnmíng St, Wanhua District)
Walking Directions: Ximen MRT Station, Exit 6. Click here for Google Map walking directions
Opening Hours/營業時間: 11am to 4am daily
Prices: Lunch 11am to 4 pm TWD$419. Dinner 4pm to 4am TWD$479. Holidays/Weekends 4pm to 4am TWD$479. Children below 1.4m TWD$219. Additional 10% service charge applies for all.
Notes: 2-hour mala hotpot buffet with free-flow Taiwan beer & Haagen Dazs ice cream; prices exclude 10% service charge
This article is written by contributing writer, B.
wiffy: To me, eating mala hotpot is a must-do in Taiwan! If you stay in Ximen, Taipei, you will find an abundance of hotpot restaurants to choose from. For about S$20 or US$15 per person, you get free-flow beer, Häagen-Dazs ice cream, fresh seafood and quality red meat cuts. Super value-for-money! My favourite pickings are the fresh suckered oysters in a bowl (not pictured), the premium cuts of thinly sliced Angus beef which we had several refills, the fish/crab paste in bamboo and the Taiwan Beer. One key difference between the mala I ate in Taiwan and China, is that the latter is much more numbing and spicy, and it can really give you bee-stung lips after eating. I prefer the milder type of mala in Taiwan.
This was our first stop when we arrived in Ximen from the airport (we just dump our luggage at the hotel lobby). We were famished after the 5-hour flight, and I knew that a satisfying buffet lunch will be a great start to our holiday. I have been to this restaurant last year and the quality is still as good this year. If you are budget-conscious, you can plan to visit for a weekday lunch – not only will it be cheaper than the night or weekend rates, there will also be significantly less crowd as well. The hotpot restaurants in Ximending typically open until 4am, so they make an excellent supper joint too.