Qiao Tou Spicy Hotpot 橋頭麻辣火鍋
Add: No. 157, DunHua S Rd, Sec 1, 2F, 4F 台北市大安區敦化南路一段157號2樓、4樓
Tel: (02) 2777 5608
Price: 500~600 NTD/person
Visited: Oct 2011
On my last night in Taipei, I found myself congregating with a group fanatic hotpot eaters at Qiao Tou, one of the most popular spicy hotpot restaurants in Taipei. Now you might not know that Taiwanese people have a curious obsession with spicy hotpot, originally a Chongqing specialty…but the group I was with consisted of a few particularly seasoned hotpot eaters who know what they want and how they want it. Let’s fire it up.
There are four soup bases to choose from – spicy, clear, curry, or milk (麻辣, 清湯, 咖哩, 牛奶). Spicy is a must, and for the other side we chose the clear soup, though the milk option also looked quite enticing.
The spicy soup comes with an unlimited supply of tofu and congealed duck blood that have been tumbling and rumbling in the soup base for hours. Thoroughly flavored, satisfyingly spicy.
The clear broth, on the other side, is cooked with century egg, watercress, and cabbage.
Condiments are self-served, but I actually didn’t need any as the soup base was already flavorful enough.
Here are a few things we ordered. First off, prime beef 霜降牛肉 of decent quality.
Deep-fried doughs stick 老油條, which are only supposed to be cooked for a few seconds (some say exactly 7) so that they retain some crunchiness even after soaking up the spicy soup.
Qiao Tou is also famous for their shrimp balls 蝦丸. Very Q.
Here are some chewy pig intestines 大腸頭, for those who can appreciate innards.
King oyster mushrooms 杏鮑菇, self-explanatory.
Loved the plump pork and shrimp wonton 金牌餛飩. Excellent texture and flavor.
Eggs, also self-served. Drop one in the spicy soup and retrieve it while still gooey inside. Yum.
For desserts, a bowl of grass jelly in sweetened milk.
What I found fascinating is that Qiao Tou not only allows you to take away the leftover soup base, they actually fill it up for you with generous servings of tofu and congealed duck blood. Apparently this is common practice at quite a few spicy hotpot joints in Taiwan. Feel free to bring a pot with you for the take-out, otherwise the staff will pack everything up for you in a plastic bag.
Qiao Tou is popular for good reasons. Quality ingredients at reasonable prices, efficient service, down-to-earth and convivial atmosphere – no frills, exactly the way hotpot should be enjoyed.