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[Ximending/Taipei] Tian Wai Tian Mala Hotpot

thinly sliced beef
Thinly cooked Angus beef in 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).

tian wai tian, taipei ximending
All-you-can-eat-buffet. You are limited to 2 hours per session though.

prices at Tian Wai Tian Mala Steamboat
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.

food selection
Lots of seafood, mushrooms, vegetables and innards variety so you are sure to be able to find what you like.

red meats
One of the highlights of the buffet is the different beef, lamb and pork cuts. Just help yourself to the plates in the fridge. They are replenished frequently so they are really fresh.

You can also cook packet noodles if you are hungry. Remember to try the 王子麵 (Prince noodles; pictured right) as it is really tasty.

haagen dazs ice cream
Haagen-Dazs ice cream. Besides the many flavours to select from, you can also choose to use a bowl or cone for your ice cream.

All kinds of condiments and sauces to go with your hotpot.

taiwan beer
Free-flow Taiwan Beer! Get a mug and dispense to your heart’s content.

mala hotpot
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.

soup base
The different soup bases you can choose from.

random food pickings
Fish/crab paste in bamboo. Just scoop the paste out and let it cook in the hot pot. This is a specialty in Taiwanese hotpot and is super delicious.

random food pickings
Different mushrooms and vegetables.

sliced beef for hotpot
Angus Beef – One of my personal favourite because of its fatty content.

Sliced mutton for hotpot
Sliced fatty mutton (lamb)

bamboo fish paste
Scooping the fish/crab paste into a plate for cooking later.

ice cream
Haagen Dazs ice-cream

Choose from a wide variety of fruits for dessert.

dips & sauces
Feel free to mix the condiments provided and concoct your very own chili/garlic dipping sauce.

cakes & desserts
Cakes, pastries and puddings in the fridge. Do you have space in your tummy to try them all?

Taiwan Beer
My delicious frothy Taiwan Beer.

They do have other drinks besides beer too, in case you are wondering.


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.

haagen dazs

Leave a Comment

11 Responses to “[Ximending/Taipei] Tian Wai Tian Mala Hotpot”

  1. Aaron Gan via Facebook — July 25, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

    Sally Thai nice


  2. c — February 22, 2013 @ 5:30 pm

    Hi, changed upon your taiwan entries cos i’m planning for my trip there,
    just want to thank you guys!
    it will really come in handy for my trip.

    thanks for sharing!


  3. c — February 22, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

    hi, thanks for sharing!
    it will really come in handy for my Taiwan trip.


  4. Mercedes — June 20, 2013 @ 1:03 am

    Wiffy and B,
    Love your site! I am traveling to Taiwan this week and stumbled on your blog. It has been very helpful for me! I was wondering, though- would I be able to go to a restaurant like this by myself, or is a large group required? Sadly I don’t know anyone in Taipei!


    • B replied: — November 17th, 2013 @ 11:29 pm

      Sorry for missing out on your question. For the benefit of others: They do accept single patron but you have to pay an extra fee on top of the prices per pax.


  5. Eunice — November 17, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

    Hi(; do we need an advanced booking to xmd’s tian wai tian?
    (we’re from singapore, travelling to taiwan for a holiday in late dec this year)


    • B replied: — November 17th, 2013 @ 11:27 pm

      It really depends on whether there is a crowd on that day or not. What you can do is to call or drop by the outlet in advance when you reach Taipei and ask them if you should make a booking for your desired timing.


      • Eunice replied: — November 21st, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

        Oh okay. Thank you! And just to check if we go there in the afternoon from 11am-4pm do we have a limited time to eat? Or the time is given from when we reach there till end of the lunch buffet?

        • B replied: — November 21st, 2013 @ 10:52 pm

          It’s a 2-hr session no matter the time period. Not sure how strictly it is enforced as we did not stay longer than 2 hrs.


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