Saturday, May 28, 2016

Wulaoguo (无老锅) hot pot [Taiwan Day 1000 (Delicious Taiwan): Wulaoguo Restaurant - May 27, 2016]



I had a funny experience on my 1000th day in Taiwan. I ate a thin slice of raw meat thinking that it was cooked and ready to eat. The slices of meat were supposed to be dip first in a boiling sauce of a hot pot until its red color would change to light brown before eating. But instead of getting uneasy, I got more excited as the English-speaking waitress of Wúlǎoguō taught me how to properly enjoy my meal. 


There were a lot of good reviews of this restaurant so I went here to celebrate my Taiwan Day 1000. According to previous customers, the service of its staff was good and even the choices of dishes were also great. Wúlǎoguō is a member of the Tripodking Dining Group which specializes in this kind of hot pot industry. There was no question about the taste of the dishes that the restaurant offers. My visit was actually a test on the restaurant staff on how they would handle a foreigner who doesn't have any experience of eating food from a boiling pot.

Wúlǎoguō have three branches in Taipei. The first one is in Zhongshan N. Road, the other one is located in Xinsheng S. Road and the last one is located along Civic Blvd. I chose to dine at the Xinsheng S. Road branch. It was close to the MRT Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station and from Exit 1 I walked for 400 meters to reach the place. They have a website but it was not in English so I wasn't able to reserve a seat. Upon entering the restaurant, a guy instantly talked to me a Chinese and showed me a piece of paper with written names of people and signatures. It was actually the list of people who were expected to arrive at the restaurant and since I was just alone I was assigned to a table within 10 minutes of waiting.



I ordered the two flavors hot pot which based on the menu was the best seller, a set of red meat rolls (Escalope of Prime Beef) and a bottle of the very tasty Taiwan mango beer. The English-speaking waitress took notes of my orders and she tried her best to explain to me the dishes. I also requested a piece of tofu ice cream in which I don't have any idea if it was actually an ice cream nor was it for. While waiting for five minutes, I noticed a green kettle and a set of four glass bottles with a white liquid. Hmmm...








the tofu ice cream
Taiwan mango beer
my glass of beer

The controversial rolls of thins slices of meat arrived first and I was do delighted with its color. Then, a large bowl was put in the middle of my table. There was a burner in front of me and it was placed above it. I was also told not to touch that area in order to avoid any accident. The bowl was not empty and it contained the two broth flavors of the hot pot dish that I ordered. The burner was lighted and I was told by the waitress to wait until the solution boils. My bottle of beer was also opened and the sound of splashing beer filled my glass. The waitress left my table like it was just an ordinary day in the office.




I have my hot pot on my table, my mango beer was on my right side and the rolls of red meat was just in front of me. Everything seemed to be complete so I started my celebration. I started with one slice of meat, put it inside my mouth and started chewing it. “This is still raw! Something is wrong”, I silently told myself. My hot pot was already boiling and I don't know what to do next so I immediately stood up and looked for my guide. 



My waitress demonstrates how to cook the sliced meat in my hot pot.


I also tried the technique and it was fun.

the fresh meat

I dipped it!

It was like magic.


the cooked meat

One more time!

She went to my table but I didn't tell her that I ate the raw meat. Haha! I was focused on what she will do to the hot pot. She grabbed the tong and picked one slice of meat and dipped it in the boiling pot. I was amazed when the red color of the meat suddenly turned pink and another dip in the boiling pot it totally changed its color to light brown. The cooked meat was then put in a small saucer and I was told that there was unlimited rice in one corner of the restaurant. 



I also scooped the tofu ice cream and ate it.


I ate the cooked meat and my mouth exploded with its taste. While the meat was very tasty, the two broths of my hot pot have a different story. There was a divider that prevents the mixing of the two solutions on the pot. I really liked the white soup and it tasted like a macaroni soup. I mixed the contents of the white liquid and I was surprised to scoop a large ginseng. The red liquid was the spicy one but it was not that spicy unlike the foods that my Indian friends used to cook. On a spicy level of 1 to 10 with 1 being the least spicy and the 10 as the spiciest, I gave the red broth with a spicy level of 2 to 3. Steam continuously rose as I enjoyed my meal. When the pot was almost dried up the contents of the four glass bottles that I was so curios about was poured to the pot by my waitress. It was for refilling purposes of the broth and I can always request if I wanted more.



peach-mango ice




There was no dessert on the menu and the sweet stuff that I saw on the menu were things that can be optionally added on the hotpot. I was already satisfied with the Taiwan mango beer until a small transparent serving glass was put on my table. It was the peach-mango ice and my female guide poured some on a small vial. I fell in love with its taste. It was then replaced by another batch of the sweet cold liquid after drinking all of it.




Before I left the restaurant, I was given an evaluation form in Chinese. The helpful female employee helped translate the Chinese characters on the form to English and I was asked to evaluate them, the dishes and the whole restaurant as a whole. I was even asked for any suggestions on how to improve their services but I was at lost for words at that time. They did great except for the lack of instructions for the thin slice of red meat. If I would fill the form again then I would write that they should provide at least some instructions in a cardboard like the one in Din Tai Fung in Taiwan Day 938 so that the incident of eating raw meat won't happen again. 

My stomach was very full when tried to find my way back to the MRT station. I was also so sleepy walking at past midnight in the streets of Taipei but I was very happy for my almost three hours of fun eating. Taiwan Day 1000 was already over but the “Post-Taiwan Day 1000 Era” had already begun and it started in the Wúlǎoguō Restaurant. 


My rating: 4 out of 5 “luomujie” stars
My order: Twin Flavors Broth NTD 159 + NTD 180
Taiwan Mango Beer NTD 100
Escalope of Prime Beef NTD 298
Other charges: NTD 74 
TOTAL: NTD 811


Address: No. 124 Section 1, Xinsheng S. Rd., Zhongzheng District, Taipei City 100
Nearest MRT Station: Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station. Go to Exit 
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