Hakkai Shabu Shabu Buffet (Taiwan)
One of my favorite things about going to Taiwan are the buffets. The buffets in Taiwan generally are quite extravagant, making the Las Vegas ones pale in comparison.
The week before my trip, fellow Taiwanese food enthusiast Danny of Kung Food Panda, sent me several links of places to try on my trip. One of the links he sent me was for this video for Hakkai Shabu Shabu (八海精緻鍋物料理), a hot pot buffet.
Thanks to the convenience of the subway/MRT system, we were able to get here quite easily. And the restaurant was directly across the street from the MRT stop.
Lunch is priced at 399NT per person, or about $14. The amount and quality of food was definitely worth the low price.
The place is set up so every two people share a large hot pot. The hot pot is divided down the middle so actually every person gets their own section. We first selected the broths, and there were 12 different flavors to choose from! 12! I don’t think I could even come up with 12 if someone were to ask me. We chose the herbal one, mushroom, milk, curry and spicy.
Milk is one of the ones highly recommended and popular. While it sounds odd, it’s basically a cream base soup and I actually really enjoyed it.
Then we went to the buffet display to get the raw foods for the hot pot. I found the amount of hot pot foods offered to be overwhelming. Meat was a separate section, where they freshly cut it after you select what you want.
There is also a separate section just for various fishes, something they are famous for, also nicely sliced up.
There was also a large selection of seafood items including clams, mussels, periwinkle, shrimp, etc.
There is a big section filled with fish balls. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen so many different kind of fish balls. There were fish balls, shrimp balls, meat based balls, balls stuffed with other ingredients, etc.
There was a station full of sauces and spices to make your own dipping sauce. And there were a ton of vegetable choices.
In addition to a million hot pot ingredients, there was also quite a number of drinks to choose from. There was a fridge full of glass bottled coke, sprite, fanta. There were also machines making watermelon juice, some other fruit juices and Calipso. There was an espresso maker, a latte machine churning out perfect cups of hot chocolate, matcha latte, hot milk tea, etc. I don’t know why, but I get such a kick out of the glass bottles. And I really loved the matcha latte. Also included in the price is unlimited Taiwan beer.
And then the desserts. On my last trip, I noticed a lot of buffets advertised that they proudly serve an assortment of Haagen Dazs Ice creams for desserts (how many buffets in the US offer that?) On this trip, it seemed the trend was for Movenpick ice cream, a popular gourmet Swiss ice cream brand. Everywhere we went, we saw displays showing restaurants offering Movenpick ice cream. At this buffet, we got the best of both worlds. They offered both Haagen Dazs and Movenpick.
And the dessert didn’t just end at the ice cream. They also had a full display of mochi, portugese egg tarts, cake slices, chocolate and mango mousse. My favorite were the mochi and the egg tart.
And then there was a chocolate fountain too. Though the only thing available for dipping seemed to be some gummy bears and marshmallows on a stick.
There was also a variety of fresh cut fruit.
Now do you see why I enjoy Taiwan buffets so much?
It was impossible to eat everything, but I sure gave it a good try.
I was really impressed also with the quality of food. A lot of cheap US buffets tends to have very little that actually tastes good, but I liked almost everything I tasted. The only thing that I didn’t enjoy as much were the meat slices, but then I’m not much of a fan of eating hot pot meat generally as it tends to get overcooked too fast and can be dry.
This ended up being one of my favorite meals on my trip. Thanks KFP for the recommendation and responding to the last minute frantic texts as I tried to get the address and name of the place.
Here are some funny pictures of signs FH took on our way to this restaurant. Here are some signs in the same mall as the restaurant. I have no idea what this first sign is trying to say…
We took a picture because of the “Miramar”
Angry Birds were big when we went to Taiwan and we kept seeing the stuffed animals everywhere we went.
Here is an interesting warning sign in the MRT/subway station. I found the illustrations quite amusing.