Wulao Hot Pot

an elevated choice for hot pot 

There is no shortage of hot pot restaurants in Taiwan. In commercial districts there are often several on a single block, often stacked one on top of another. From single serve fast casual concepts to old school no-frills traditional sports to higher end premium restaurants, there’s a plethora of choices. So when there is one that stands out and gets the approval from Taiwanese society, you know it’s notable. Wu Lao is a higher end concept by the “Tripod King” group that owns several hot pot chains, including the namesake mala hot pot restaurant that started it all.

Wu Lao is a “sit down” restaurant, with a warm, traditionally elegant dining atmosphere, caring table service, and a well curated menu featuring premium ingredients that set it apart from the (also beloved) AYCE chains out there. As soon as you sit down, you are served hot tea. You choose your base and then all the ingredients are a la carte. Sauce and rice is self-serve.

They are particularly known for the layered tofu hot pot, a bone broth base with a special mix of Chinese herbs and aromatics and delicately silky layered tofu that melts in your mouth. They also have a spicy soup base with a signature mix of Chinese herbs and spices for satisfying heat that still retains the flavor of the broth. The key is to go with the “yin and yang” option – both broths served in a divided pot so you can swap the flavors. While hearty, it doesn’t leave you feeling thirsty or greasy, and at the end of the meal, they bring out shots of an iced lemon drink to cleanse the palate with a cold, tart drink.

the details

Addressall locations listed here, there are 3 location in Taipei, one in Taichung and one in Kaohsiung; outside of Taiwan there are also locations in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Macau and Vietnam
Hoursvaries by location but opens around 11am for lunch and stays open til well into the night – the Ximen location is open til 4am
Price$$$ – definitely more of a premium option compared to other hot pot chains, but of course still very affordable compared to hot pot in the US
Aestheticelevated Chinese, with traditional and contemporary decor

good to know

Go here for: a simple but indulgent hot pot meal

Order this: get both broths and definitely get the layered tofu

Amount of time to spend: about an hour or two

When to come: weekday lunch is less busy, dinners and weekends will warrant a wait or require a reservation; or come in the middle of the night for a true Taiwan food experience

Getting here: Taipei locations are all easily accessible by MRT. Ximen location is right by exit 5 of Ximen station (green, blue lines); Zhongshan location is about a 5 minute walk from the Zhongshan station (red, green lines); Xinyi location is inside Neo19, about a 7 minute walk from the Xiangshan station (red) but also well connected with the Xinyi commercial maze

Other things to note: 

  • Tourist Friendliness: there are photos and English on the menu
  • Reservations are bookable online via their website.

Last visited: January 2023

Last updated: January 2024

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