My wife and I were quite lucky to sample a very special herbal duck hot pot (also known as steam boat or shabu shabu) in Taipei. It is only available during the autumn and winter seasons as this special dish is only eaten during cold weather as it is suppose to warm your body up. The reason why it warms your body up is that the soup base is made of a special tonic of Chinese herbs, wine, and ginger cooked with tender duck meat to make a very robust broth. Here’s what this herbal duck hot pot is like.
The restaurant we tried is supposedly famous for this herbal duck hot pot in all of Taipei. It is actually a franchise with numerous branches throughout Taiwan. We visited the branch located near Huzhou MRT subway station in Taipei’s northeastern end. As mentioned before this restaurant is only opened during the autumn and winter seasons (approximately from October to late March) with the rest of the seasons being closed.
Here’s the restaurant name. I cannot read Chinese, and there is no English name, so I took a picture of the restaurant signboard here for your reference.
Therefore if you think about it, the restaurant owners must make a lot of money during the cold seasons, enough to cover the rent during the spring and summer when they are closed for business. And indeed, I can see that they do make a lot when they are open for business, as there is always a huge lineup of people waiting to eat at their restaurant.
Look at all those people standing at the sides waiting for a table! This is on a Tuesday night!
Look at all the people eating! Its a full house.
We waited for an hour, and look at all the people still. There was an endless supply of people.
While waiting, I noticed this funny looking sign. I guess I’m relieved that their NOT serving elephant meat???
Here’s the address of the restaurant for the branch near Huzhou MRT station.
Still packed with people. This was about 1.5 hours later. It is soon to be our turn to get a table.
I envy these people while we were still waiting. Look how contented they are eating.
After waiting for about 1.5 hours for a table, our table number was finally called. It is time to get straight to the eating business! What was very surprising to me was that the hot pot was served in a traditional Chinese clay pot, heated over charcoal! This was supposedly to ensure the best flavour comes out of the robust duck broth when we are cooking our meats and vegetables in the hot pot.
As soon as the soup broth was brought to a boil, I took a sip of the soup, and boy it was fantastic. It had a strong herbal, ginger, and wine flavour and it sure did warmed me up! We had some beers to go with it, and once the rest of the dishes came, we were ready to cook them in the hot pot and eat…such a perfect way to eat on a cool autumn day!
The hot burning coal that will heat the hot pot.
The hot pot with the robust duck herbal broth inside arrives in a clay pot.
The hot pot is brought to a boil, while we wait for the rest of the ingredients to arrive.
The hot pot is finally brought to a boil!
Time to get the beers ready, as we are about to eat! Poured myself a nice cold glass of the local beer.
OK everything is in place now, lets start cooking and lets start eating!
So if you are ever in Taipei during the autumn and winter seasons, do try to see if you can sample this amazing winter dish. It is delicious, hearty, and great way to warm your body up on a cold day. But one thing to take note of, be sure you reserve a lot of time for this, as waiting in line will take some time, and also slowly cooking and enjoying your food over the hot pot will take some time too!
Visitor’s Information to Herbal Duck Hot Pot Restaurant (Huzhou MRT branch):
Address: 288 Sec. 6, Minquan East Road, Neihu District, Taipei City
Nearest MRT subway station: Huzhou MRT station – exit out of exit #2.
Opening hours: Opens for dinner daily after 6:00pm, closes approximately 9:00pm.
– Open only during autumn and winters seasons.
Location map of Herbal Duck Hot Pot restaurant (Huzhou MRT station branch).
Area highlighted in Red is the Herbal Duck Hot Pot restaurant.
Area highlighted in Green is the Huzhou MRT station.
How do you like hot pot (also known as steam boat, or shabu shabu)? Please share your experiences below. Cheers!