Rain or shine, it's always hotpot time
Rain or shine, it's always hotpot time
- By SG Staff
- | Mar 30, 2021
Call it what you want—steamboat, hotpot, shabu shabu—but this communal way of devouring ingredients like seafood, sliced meat, leafy vegetables and a myriad of other eats in a simmering bowl of stock in the middle of the table continues to be one of the top pastimes in Singapore. Here's where to get your fill.
Ladies come a-flocking for the famed collagen broths at this hotpot concept by Paradise Group. Unlike its competitors, Beauty In The Pot has just two nourishing soup bases; but it’s a case of quality over quantity here. Promised within the flavourful broths is shark’s cartilage boiled for more than eight hours daily, completed by a full menu of fresh ingredients and homemade offerings—like the melt-in-your-mouth fish tofu that can surely rival Haidilao’s. Legend has it the waiting list requires a month’s notice when you call in.
With Jpot gone, we find this to be the best local hotpot restaurant in town. Choose from 12 different soup bases like bak kut teh, prawn, kimchi and tom yum. Everyone gets their own pot here, so there's no need to fuss over which broths to go for (great for saliva conscious people too). It's popular with the CBD crowd, thanks to its central location at One Raffles Place and the convenient sets that cater to small groups. They don't use any MSG in their soups too, which is a big plus.
As a Thai-Chinese hotpot restaurant, Coca Steamboat perfectly marries authentic Thai cuisine with traditional elements of Cantonese-style cooking. Enjoy an array of fresh seafood ingredients such as Fish Glue, Shrimp Paste and Handmade Dumplings, alongside generous meat offerings and seasonal vegetables. Diners can even indulge in premium choices such as the Lobster Buffet and Hua Diao Chicken Phoenix Pot.
If an ala carte hotpot buffet boasting free-flow soup dumplings sounds enticing to you, then head down to Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao at Holland Village to enjoy their reservations-only Xiao Long Bao & Steamboat Buffet. Unlike its ground floor counterpart that only offers the regular menu, the second floor sees banquettes and booth seats that can occupy parties of steamboat lovers as well as servers dishing out trays filled with baskets of vegetables, tofu, speciality dumplings, seafood and shabu shabu cuts. Promise you’ll leave on a full stomach as desserts are on the table too.
The first hotpot concept in Singapore to boast a Korean twist, GoroGoro Steamboat & Korean Buffet offers the best of both worlds by serving both local and Korean delicacies. Choose from a variety of soup bases such as the locally inspired Pepper Bakuteh, Ginseng and Beauty Collagen soups. They are accompanied by fresh ingredients perfect for dip-cooking in the hearty broths. Craving those delicious Korean appetisers? Just add kimchi, Korean pancake and its signature Korean chicken wings.
This long-time Chinatown haunt has many loyal fans, and we can see why. Their affordable prices, variety of ingredients and soup bases, coupled with (wait for it) free-flowing servings of xiao long bao, is a killer combo that's hard to resist. Get interesting bases like curry beef soup, elderly tonic soup and even a male vitality soup perfect for Valentine's Day, or go for classic favourites like beauty soup and spicy soup for a guaranteed good time.
Since its entry into our local market in 2010, the Sichuan hotpot chain has indisputably claimed its position as King of Hotpot. Is it the gimmicks we keep returning back for; the free manicures and noodle-dancing? Ultimately it has to be the seven savory soup bases, including the popular yuan-yang double flavor that splits a trough of mala and herbal chicken stocks; and the comprehensive (and tasty) list of hotpot items like their famous mashed shrimp and homemade tofu.
Who says hotpots are all about eating cheap? Come here for a more premium experience where you get to dine in the comfort of plush leather chairs while waiting for your ingredients to cook. A wide array of the usual is available, but you'll definitely want to get the pork belly, wagyu beef and the various mushrooms. With a name like that, you know the seafood dishes are a good choice. Try the fresh oysters, fish skin and scallops, or go all out and get a whole Alaskan king crab.
The first thing they do when you're seated is plonk down a 12-condiment rack so you can create your own dips. Here, you can also get double soup options with broths like Imperial drunken chicken and pork bone. The menu is equally dizzying with ingredients like homemade cuttlefish noodles, Kurobuta pork belly, beef prime rib, sweet prawns and an assortment of meatballs. Offal lovers will appreciate the pork liver and kidney options on offer too.
As this restaurant’s name suggests, a hotpot meal here entails cooking a generous variety of ingredients in an aromatic and rich laksa broth. So order away as an ala carte buffet is your only option here; definitely choose the laksa noodles to pair with the spicy soup base as well as sliced beef, sliced pork belly and fresh prawns as those will bode well in the flavourful broth too. While you wait for your ingredients to cook, also feel free to indulge in finger foods like spring rolls, fried mantous and even prawn paste wings.
The fact that this adorably-named restaurant serves lamb is a little morbid if you ask us, but the meat is so incredibly fresh and tender, we’re willing to let that slide. For lamb alone, options include the Signature Lamb Rolls, 3-Tier Lamb Platter, and Signature Lamb Platter. But you can definitely order other items too, like the Mud Crab, Australian Sirloin Beef Cubes and Fish Balls with Roe.
With a substantial variety of nourishing broths made without the use of MSG on its menu, LongQing Steamboat is truly an underrated hotpot joint. There’s the signature Mushroom stock as well as the ever-popular Mala; expect the former to come brimming with ‘shrooms, herbs and other ingredients that make the soup extra flavourful. Don’t forget to include handmade dishes in your order, such as the pork balls and fish paste which are fresh and springy to boot. Prices may seem steep at first due to an ala carte menu, but what you’re paying for is definitely quality.
Notorious for its free (pirated) soft toy-with purchase policy, this hotpot chain from Beijing has quickly sprouted outlets across the island. Choose from a selection of soup bases that include tomato, chicken stock and mala (our personal favorite); the ingredients too are plentiful with marinated pork, marbled pork, tender beef and more. The economical lunch deal has got to be Singapore’s best hotpot steal—it comes with a personal pot of soup, two choices of meat, and a generous basket of vegetables (and an egg).
You may have noticed Shabu Sai if you’ve ever queued for the infamous Kiseki buffet right across, at Orchard Central. For Japanese hotpot lovers, this shabu shabu table-service buffet restaurant offers a range of meat, seafood and vegetables (there are around 60 different items on the menu) to be cooked in seven soup bases that include tomato and sukiyaki flavors. One of the more affordable shabu shabu restaurants around, it offers lunch priced from $16.99 and dinner from $20.99.
Suki-Ya is that reliable hotpot chain you can turn to when in doubt and in a mall. For $18.90 (lunch) or $24.90 (dinner), you can pick from six soup bases, including sukiyaki, shabu shabu and kimuchi. Ala carte buffets served via a new trolley bar on weekends and public holidays cost an extra $3.
Doling out authentic Szechuan and Cantonese hot pot soups and ingredients is the brand-new Taikoo Lane, brainchild of Szechuan Chinese eatery, Chengdu Restaurant. Taikoo offers both large pots as well as small, individual pots for solo diners, so all will feel welcomed and comfortable when dining here. Try their new but already popular Green Pepper Broth, and the Lobster Noodles which is inspired by Cantonese cuisine. Also, enjoy cooked dishes while your ingredients stew in the pot, like Chengdu Restaurant's signature Grilled Frog Skewer and Stellar-1 Pork Ribs.
Part chicken rice stall, part steamboat place, this Golden Mile Tower stalwart offers the best of both worlds. It's a Hainanese steamboat concept, a rarity, offering simple ingredients like pork slices, cockles and fish balls in platefuls for your easy cooking in a pot of chicken soup that only becomes flavourful when you put ingredients in. They've got no website and no social media handles, and don't come expecting great service, but rather, a laidback vibe as if you're in Singapore in the '80s.
Probably the best hotpot restaurant in town (and we don't say this lightly), Tong Xin Ru Yi easily stands out from the pack by offering premium items you won't find anywhere else. Soup bases are homemade, not your usual, and come packed with ingredients. Try the Stewed Marinated Beef with Spicy Soup if you love your sichuan spice, or the thick Golden Chicken Soup that comes in frog and sour-and-spicy variants. For dishes, definitely get the BBQ Garlic Oysters and the Premium Eight Second Beef, that are only available upon pre-order. For something more unique, try the Black-bone Chicken Slice and their homemade Fish Tofu. Even their veggies are interesting and delicious, especially the Chinese Lettuce, Gracilaria and Pea Sprout.
A cozy 30-seater specialising in bijin nabe, or "beauty pot" in Japanese, this place prides itself on the provenance of its high-quality chicken. The hotpot comes with white, collagen-rich pudding pieces that once heated, create a creamy golden broth. Additions include chicken meatballs, zucchini, prawns and enoki mushrooms.
Upin Hot Pot is the best spot for sweet and tangy tomato broth that transforms beef and pork slices into little pieces of heaven. The Signature Tomato Pot is so good, it actually made the 2019 Singapore River Signatures Top 20 list. We especially like the Chestnut-Fed Pork Collar, Prawn Paste, and Fresh Beef Tripe.
Found on Singapore's unofficial steamboat street (Liang Seah), this is the place to go for a killer deal of unlimited servings of food for the affordable price of $19.80 from Mon-Thu and $23.80 from Fri-Sun. You'll need to add $8 for the soup bases (each person gets two) though, but it is still a steal at that price point. Just like most other hotpot places in Singapore, select your preferred dipping sauces from a wide array of condiments available upon request.