My friend Selena, who recommended and booked for us recommended Ding Wang Spicy Hotpot (鼎旺麻辣鍋). She said it looks fancy, famous, good, affordable and quiet for us to enjoy proper hotpot dinner. So I decided to go there together with my local Taiwanese friend, Oliver.
There are actually two Ding Wang’s! Ding Wang, with the name in Romanized letters instead of the Chinese name in characters. So I unwittingly googled “Ding Wang” and found a Ding Wang Spicy Hotpot (鼎旺麻辣鍋) with 2 locations and an official FB page.
Then a short while later, trying to confirm their location I googled “Ding Wang” again, this time coming upon a second Ding Wang Spicy Hotpot (鼎王麻辣鍋) with 4 locations and an entirely different official FB page. See the difference in the characters there: 鼎旺 versus 鼎王, both romanized as and pronounced Ding Wang, and both are on this Foursquare top 15 Best Hotpot places in Taipei.
We went for the Yuan-Yang Guo (鴛鴦鍋), which consists of their traditional spicy broth that comes with duck’s blood and tofu, and a non-spicy sourish broth that comes with pickled cabbage. Both soups were refillable but we loaded up on the mala soup big time and the servers kept throwing in more duck blood.
Oh man, those chunks of blood couldn’t be any fresher or delicious despite what you might think. They were smooth and soft like tofu but the thin casing had a slight snap that made them playful to eat them.(That what Oliver thinks) He downed more duck blood throughout this meal than he ever had in my entire life. I’m not a big fan of it. Since for me it just another BLOODY food for me.