Monday, February 12, 2018

台北新馬辣經典火鍋 Taipei New Mala Premium Hotpot: Best Steamboat Buffet I've Had In A Long While

This has got to be the BEST value mala hotpot you can find in Taipei. Now, we all know the popular brand 馬辣火鍋 Mala Hotpot there, right? The all-you-can-eat hotpot with impossibly long queues?

Well, building on that success, they have in the past year opened a premium line of outlets called 新馬辣火鍋 Xin or New Mala Hotpot offering higher quality meats and seafood for just 10% more in price. Dinner is only NTD725 (about US$24.70 or S$32.80)! Just look at the feast!

Think unlimited servings of USDA Prime and Choice beef, Australian M9+ grade wagyu, Danish A Grade Matsusaka pork, New Zealand Sirloin and Lamb shoulder, large Argentinian prawns, wild caught prawns, Penghu fresh shrimp, sea bream, sea bass, scallop and squid...and that's not even half the menu. There's 24 flavours of Haagen-Dazs and Movenpick ice cream, and free-flow beer as well. If that's not insane value, I don't know what is.

Comfy dining digs

We had the great pleasure of meeting the very sweet Vina Lin from the marketing department when I tried making reservations at the original Mala Hotpot restaurant. She was the one who introduced me to their new concept, and I am just completely blown away by the incredible value and quality.

"We want our guests to not just eat to their fill, but eat well," says Vina. No one can argue with that - better quality ingredients do make a hotpot so much more enjoyable. It's not about gorging yourself silly, but enjoying every morsel.

The presentation is just gorgeous, and it's nice that the meat is served to you in this manner; you don't have to jostle with other diners at mass buffet trays that could suffer from contamination.

The two broths we chose: Mala and Vegetable Energy
First of all, they have five broths for you to choose from (we picked the first two):
  • Mala Spicy Hot Pot (served with duck blood and soy-stewed tofu)
  • Vegetable Energy Soup
  • Collagen Hot Pot
  • Stir-fried Chicken with Chinese Sauce and Hot Pot
  • Pickled Chinese Cabbage Hot Pot
The broths start out pleasantly seasoned but are subtle enough not to overpower the natural flavours of the ingredients. The vegetable one surprised me with how aromatic it was with all the Chinese herbs. Something invigorating indeed.

The handmade dumplings (fish, egg, pork), meatballs (fish, meat, squid) and fresh fish and prawn paste are really well done but they can be filling. Next to the pot you see chicken slices marinated in chinese wine and herbs; that's pretty good too.

But the highlight surely is the premium beef and pork.

Premium beef cuts at Xin Mala Hotpot
You can see the wet-aged beef in a display chiller. USDA Prime Chuck Eyeroll, USDA Choice Short Ribs Beef, USDA Choice Flank Steak, Australian grade M9+ Wagyu, CAB Angus Beef, Classic 1855 Prime Sirloin, New Zealand Sirloin.

The Matsusaka pork is sublime; it's not only tender but has this gently QQ bouncy texture when cooked. It's so interesting, it's a must-have.

Tripe, tendon and intestines = love
They also have marinated tripe, beef tendon and pork intestines. 😍😍😍 I love these. Let them soak in the bubbling broth and they'll lend extra flavour to the soup too.

台北新馬辣火鍋 Xin Mala Hotpot in Taipei
There's premium seafood too, in the form of huge Argentinian prawns the size of my hand (middle orange ones), freshwater prawns (grey striped ones in the foreground) and Penghu lake shrimp. The larger prawns are more cottony soft while the smaller ones are more "bouncy" in texture. It all depends on what you like.

There's also scallop, mussels and neritic squid from Yilan. We had so much premium meat we didn't try the normal items like lamb, slab bacon and pork shoulder. This is seriously a huge feast!

Sauces and condiments galore
I almost forgot the sauces and condiments, of which there are plenty. The hotpot by itself was already so good, you didn't think about adding anything else. But yes, you should customise your own dips for even more amazing flavours.

The mala broth comes with duck's blood cubes and stewed tofu
See the duck's blood cubes in the left ladle? You can't get that in Singapore, for sure!

台北新馬辣火鍋 Xin Mala Hotpot in Taipei
The pot gets crowded with seafood...and by now it's infused with the essence from both vegetables and meat. Some noodles would be great but we really didn't have stomach space left.

Wagyu niku jaga - beef and potatoes
New Mala also has cooked dishes like this wagyu curry rice with carrots and potatoes. Jolie couldn't stop eating this. Yum. It's so addictive and can fill you up quick, so go easy on it!

台北新馬辣火鍋 Xin Mala Hotpot in Taipei
The highlight for kids (and sweet-toothed adults) will be the 16 flavours of Haagen-Dazs and 8 flavours of Movenpick ice cream! Scoop them up into crispy cones or serving bowls.

台北新馬辣火鍋 Xin Mala Hotpot in Taipei
There are plenty of drinks to choose from if the mala gets a little too hot. Apart from soft drinks (hey, they have Calpis), there's tea, coffee, and beer.

The 台北新馬辣火鍋 Taipei Xin Mala Hotpot outlet at Ximending
You gotta love the wall of roses in the restaurant too. Seating is super comfortable with the leather booths and the tables are hewn from sturdy wood. You definitely want stable tables with a hotpot.

New Mala Hotpot at Ximending
We went to the Hanzhong branch at Ximending, which is on the 6th floor just above Uniqlo. The lift going up is shared with the the movie theatre, so at times it can get crowded, but you can easily access the New Mala shop via the Uniqlo escalators.

Here's the map:

The new Mala Hotpot with premium ingredients.
We also chanced upon the Kunming branch while walking back. It's wonderful that you have two outlets to choose from in Ximending itself. There are a total of five branches (see all addresses below).

台北新馬辣火鍋 Xin Mala Hotpot in Taipei
A good mala hotpot is one of the things we love to seek out in Taipei. We now have our definitive favourite. We have to come back and do this again!

台北新馬辣火鍋 Xin Mala Hotpot in Taipei


Lunch 平日午餐 NTD$635
Dinner and Public Holidays 平日晚餐/假日全日 NTD$725
Children (Primary/Grade 1 to 6) eat at half price 兒童半價(小一至小六); one child per paying adult
Children aged 4-6 are charged only NTD100 cleaning fee 4-6歲幼童用餐每人酌收清潔費100元
Guests are welcome to bring own alcohol or beverages. Corkage is free. 歡迎自帶飲料、酒類、免收開瓶費
Dining time limited to two hours per session (from first guest arrival) 用餐時段2小時(自第一人進場起計費)
10% service charge applies 10%清潔費另計 >只收現金,恕無開放刷卡服務
Minimum two pax per table; single diner will be charged extra NTD100 一人用餐酌加收100元
Food wastage charged at NTD200 per person 浪費食物每人加收200元食材費
Pets are welcome but keep them away from dining areas 歡迎攜帶寵物,勿任意走動靠近取餐區
Free sanitary bag and special cutlery for pets 免費提供寵物清潔袋、寵物專用餐具

No.295 Section 3, Tingzhou Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City 100
Operating Hours 營業時間:11:30am~02:00am
Last admission 最後入場時間:24:00am/midnight

2F, No.37, Kunming Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City 100
Operating Hours 營業時間:11:30am~02:00am
Last admission 最後入場時間:24:00am/midnight

2F, No.2 Section 1, Nanjing East Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City 100
Operating Hours 營業時間:11:30am~02:00am
Last admission 最後入場時間:24:00am/midnight

6F, No.52 Hanzhong Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City 100
Tel: 預約電話:02-2311-2775
Operating Hours 營業時間:11:30am~02:00am
Last admission 最後入場時間:24:00am/midnight

No.501, Section 2, Zhongyuan Road, Zhongli District, Taoyuan City, Taiwan 320
Tel 預約電話:暫不對外開放: currently not taking reservations
Operating Hours Sun-Thu 週日至周四:11:00am~22:00pm
Fri-Sat 週五、週六:11:00am~22:30pm


Many thanks to Vina and New Mala Hotpot for the warm hospitality!

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