I like Korean/Japanese barbecue. I also like hot pot. Basically I like restaurants where I get to cook my own food. Maybe I'm childish, but it's more fun when I get to see my food go from raw to cooked in front of my eyes. So when my family asked what I wanted to eat for my birthday (you'll notice that I'm not posting chronologically), I said I wanted to go to an all you can eat hot pot place. Now, there's a lot of these in Taiwan... so what made me pick 辣根香 (La Gen Xiang), which I can't translate very well aside from 'spicy?' Hm, this probably sounds dumb, but I went online and looked for hot pot places that also had all you can eat ice cream. Turns out they have 20 flavors available at any given time, so I was absolutely sold. Woo, onto all you can eat food!
For 399 NT ($13) per person, they bring you a pot that sits in the middle of the table that comes with 2 soup broth choices. I don't actually remember what kinds they had, except that 3 of the 5 had Chinese herbal medicine in them, which is absolutely gross to me. If you're a fan of that, then... 3 of their 5 soup broths are awesome! You're then given a checklist menu of about 50 items ranging from meat, seafood, and vegetables that you can cook. You check what you want, and they bring it. Simple as that. Their service is incredible btw. For some reason, my grandmother kept getting cabbage. I don't know why. In that picture (going clockwise from the cabbage), there's also squid paste, pork meatballs, fried tofu, blood cakes, and glutinous rice noodle things. I know, all of it sounds delicious... maybe... if you're Asian.
Then you put everything in the giant whirlpool of hot liquid! We chose 麻辣 (ma la) and some 蒙古 (Mongolian) broth as our soup base combo. Note to anyone thinking of going here, when they say 小, 中, 大 for degrees of spiciness in the ma la, go small. I can eat spicy with the best of them, but holy crap the medium spicy made me cry and run straight for the drinks. They don't joke around with their chili oil.
So would I go again? Resounding yes. First off, their beef is incredible. They offer something like 6 different cuts of beef of varying amounts of fat and marbling (and the same for pork and lamb), all of which had their strong points, whether it be overwhelming beef flavor or tenderness. Secondly, the staff is super nice. They thought nothing weird when I put in an absurd number of orders for meat (some places in Taiwan get pissed off if you order too much). Oh yeah, that all you can eat ice cream thing too. They get bonus points for that. They have all the regular flavors you'd expect, but also varieties like passion fruit, mango, lychee, etc. that I didn't even know Haagen Dazs makes. My only gripe though, goddamn that ice cream was hard to scoop. I'd like to think that I'm fairly fit, but after 3 rounds of wrestling with the ice cream, I was done. Eh, minor complaint. In summary, I love this place. I mean, how could I not, they throw endless beef and endless ice cream in my face.
PS - it's on 館前路 (Guan Qian Road) if you actually want to go...