Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chan Chi Hot Pots Lab (詹記麻辣火鍋 南京店)

I am going to make tonight a hotpot night... on my blog that is...  If you followed me on Instagram, you might remember I was in Taipei earlier this year.  Although I was there for work, work never stops me from satisfying my food cravings.  Luckily, my co-worker is a foodie as well so we had a lot of foodie excursions together. (Yes, the Taipei write-up is soon to follow... so if you are planning a trip to Taipei soon, stay tuned~)

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We tried three of the more popular hotpot places in Taipei within a span of three weeks.  In chronological order:  (1) Chan Chi Hot Pots Lab (詹記麻辣火鍋); (2) Elixir Health Pot (無老鍋); and (3) Tai Ho Dien (太和殿).  None of them should be new to anyone who's been to Taipei.  We didn't go to Tripod Kind (鼎王) as they just had a incident related to the quality of their food at that time.  I didn't pick Mala (馬辣頂級麻辣鴛鴦鍋) either because I went in October 2013 and I was not impressed (I didn't even blog about it).  Based on my experience this time, I have added Old Sichuan (老四川巴蜀麻辣燙) on my list also for next time.  If you think I am missing a great hotpot restaurant in Taipei, please do let me know!  (Note: Don't ask me about their really strange English names... I have no clue...)
So the reason why I picked Chan Chi Hot Pots Lab (詹記麻辣火鍋) was their duck's blood (鴨血/紅).  Very few places serves them anymore.  I recalled I was watching the news just the night before in my hotel room and the news anchor was saying the manufacturer was experiencing some difficulties on the supply and they might run out the product in the next few days!  Then it lists out their customers (i.e. the hotpot restaurants) that may be affected so I told my co-worker the next morning "We have a mission: we must go to the hotpot restaurant tonight."

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Because we sat down around 9pm on a weekday,
we didn't really have to adhere to this 2 hours rule.
Most popular Taiwanese restaurants really enforce this
for faster table turnaround so just be aware
if you have to walk into one!

I picked up the phone to make my reservations as soon as he confirmed his schedule and much to my chagrin, the restaurant was fully booked.  The lady at the reception told me I could try my luck by waiting at the door and for the love of duck's blood, I did.  I got there around 7 pm, got my waiting ticket, and went to Fika Fika for coffee (the restaurant said they would call me when it's almost my turn), all the while my co-worker was working OT at the office.  (He had a conference call.)

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It was almost 9 pm at this point already
and still, the queue is formidable!
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He showed up just in time and we were promptly seated.  Of course I ordered my hotpot with duck's blood and various other items as recommended by our server.  The duck's blood was smooth and flavorful.  The dipping sauce here was also interesting as we were told to add vinegar (to cut the grease perhaps?!) The recommended ration is like this:  white vinegar to sesame oil (3:1), add diced green onions and egg.


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Ohhhhh~~~ my duck's blood!!!
The spicy pot actually comes with some already
so if you just want to have a taste, you don't have to order a full order!

(my co-worker actually doesn't eat duck's blood, but he is a good sport!)
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look at the marblization of the beef~~~
and so nicely plated
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I almost didn't want to eat this beautifully plated napa cabbage!
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The best part is you can order half orders
on almost everything on the menu
so, even if you are here with a small group,
you still get to try a variety of things!
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Our server recommended the fried dough to us
Honestly, I don't see the draw of soaking this into the hot soup...
it made it soggy and salty
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Not sure how common it is
but I do like add a raw egg to my dipping sauce :)
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The duck's blood is definitely to die for here
(if you are into this sort of thing)
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and of course, the beef!
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Yes, the cabbage flower was too pretty
it took us a while before we really cracked into it!

Chan Chi definitely set a high bar for the rest of the hotpot shops during my 3-weeks trip. 

Chan Chi Hot Pots Lab (詹記麻辣火鍋)(南京店)
台灣台北南京東路二段178B1
Phone: +886 2 2508 2080
Hours: 5:00 pm ~ 2:00 am

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