*Cough Cough Cough* Sighhh I have been coughing like crazy for the past week 😦 I think it’s the weather in HK, it has been so temperamental and very humid, making it easier for germs to transmit. HK is often considered a subtropical area where it doesn’t get very cold…but this year there were a few days that got as low as 12 degrees and to most HK people that’s already ‘freezing’ 😛
On cold and rainy days, my favourite type of food would have to be hot pot ~ and whenever Win WIn and I go to Taipei, no matter what season we’re in, we always visit Ah Kuan Hot Pot （阿官火鍋專家).
Just in case you’re not familiar with Chinese Hot Pot, it’s basically like a fondue, but instead of having cheese or chocolate, you have stock or soup in the pot and you cook your meat and vegetables in the soup 🙂 Because the soup is boiling and bubbling in front of you, it keeps you extra warm when its cold ~
So what’s so special about Ah Kuan? Well first of all, you get your own individual hot pot 😀 no sharing, no germs, no stealing each others food, just pure self-indulgence ~ But if its your first time at Ah Kuan’s I highly recommend you taking a good look at their instructions 🙂
So basically, you need to choose meal, choose the soup base, add any side dishes and decide if you want rice or noodles ~ you’re kinda forced to have a pot each, because they have $260TWD ($8.2AUD) minimum spend.
Win Win and I basically go to Ah Kuan because of their soup base and in particular the TOMATO soup base, in which you need to add $60TWD ($1.9AUD). But you don’t get it ~ this tomato base is addictive! It’s got such a strong fragrant tomato flavour, it’s not something out of a can, its proper tomato stock and honestly, Win Win and I could drink the whole soup without cooking anything in it and we’d be happy 🙂
We both chose beef as the main component of our meal ~ and it also came with a large bowl of goodies with meat balls, crab stick, tofu and vegetables.
I have to admit, this isn’t top-notch wagyu beef or anything like that, but whenever we have hot pot, we always have to have beef 🙂
This bowl of goodies comes with every meal you order ~ It’s got the usual tofu, meat balls, crab sticks and corn. But I really like the tiny piece of taro and the light green vegetable at the back looks and probably is related to cabbage, however, it’s a Taiwanese cabbage called ‘Gao Li Cai’ (高麗菜). As a matter of fact, it has a similar texture to cabbage but has a sweeter taste 🙂 Don’t think I did a very good job at describing, but if you like cabbage, I’m sure you’ll like it ~ please try it if you happen to find it in Asian markets.
We also ordered an extra side of corn for only $40TWD ($1.3AUD) 🙂 And somehow I think the corn is kinda sweeter in Taiwan, not sure if it’s the variety of corn or the way they grow it. Definitely very yummy when it’s soaked all that tomato soup ~
How could I forget to mention the sauces!
Once you’ve ordered your meal, the waitress will hand you a tray full of condiments and sauce to make your own perfect sauce to dip your beef and meat balls into ~ Win Win and I love garlic 🙂 So we’re always using lots of freshly minced garlic, little bit of spring onions and I like my sauce spicy so always put red chillies too.
Ta-Da! Daisy’s perfect sauce! Okay…maybe I did go overboard with the garlic hehe
They also give you a little bowl of ‘Sha Cha Jiang’ （沙茶醬）which is like a satay sauce but it’s more commonly found in Southern parts of China and obviously Taiwan 🙂 You can find it most Asian markets and its great not only for dipping but also marinating food and in stir fries ~
The combination of all these things, creates the perfect way to eat hot pot and warm up on chilly nights ~
Highly recommend you going to Ah Kuan Hot Pot, when you go to Taipei ~ it’s affordable with great food and most importantly the soup is fantastic!
Ah Kuan Hot Pot (阿官火鍋專家）
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi, A8
No. 12, Song Shou Road, 2FL