Even on hot days in Taiwan, I continue to be amazed at the number of people wanting to go out for hot pot (涮鍋子 / shuan guo zi). Hot pot is such a big cultural activity that weather doesn’t hinder people’s desire to enjoy the warm broth, crisp vegetables, and fresh meat. A lot of hot pot culture stems from the ability for pots to be customized and large numbers of people to easily gather around a table. Throw in air conditioning during hot days and you have a recipe for success.
When it comes to individual hot pot, one of my favorite places in Taiwan is Karuizawa (輕井澤 / qing jing ze). There are a handful of shops located in Taichung and Tainan. The one I go to is the wenxin location (文心 / wen xin).
You choose the meat you want. While they prepare the ingredients for you, you go to a station to create your own sauce mix. This was what my part of the table looked like by the time I figured out what sauce to make.
As you can see below, in addition to the meat, your meal comes with a variety of hot pot ingredients including baby corn, okra, clam, sesame paste ball, mushrooms, tomato, tofu, and cabbage.
While you wait for your food to arrive or simply while dining, look around. You’ll find there’s really not bad view. The architecture is something to behold with a style that you would expect to see mostly in upscale restaurants. On this particular occasion, I sat next to a water feature with candles floated above.
The great quality and taste of the hot pot at Karuizawa gets me excited to come back for more. The reasonable price of between 200-300 NTD and the decor makes the decision to get hot pot an easy one.
If you find yourself in Taichung or Tainan area and want to give individualized hot pot a try, don’t hesitate to drop by one of Karuizawa’s many locations.