Rain or shine, it's always hotpot time
Rain or shine, it's always hotpot time
- By SG Staff
- | Aug 14, 2019
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 things in a simmering bowl of stock in the middle of the table continues to be one of the top pasttimes here. 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 flavuorful 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.
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.
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.
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 $9.90 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 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. Each meal ends with soft serve ice cream and a variety of toppings—like golden raisin and old-school sprinkles—dispensed from a self service machine. One of the more affordable shabu shabu restaurants around, it offers lunch priced from $16.99 and dinner from $24.99.
Lauded as one of China’s top 10 global hotpot brands, Spice World Hotpot brings even more hotpot options to the Clarke Quay area. In the 200-seater outlet on River Valley Road, choose from seven different soup bases—pork belly and chicken, three-delicacy (pork, chicken, duck), wild mushroom, tomato, tom-yum, curry and mala, in three varying degrees of spiciness; and fresh premium meats that include Australian M8 wagyu beef and Australian mutton slices.
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. Buffets on weekends and public holidays cost an extra $3.
A pioneer in the hotpot scene (they’ve been around since '94; even before the hotpot craze), this stalwart located in Tanglin Shopping Centre makes for a nice quiet alternative to some of the more boisterous places in town. The magic here lies in their soup bases—particularly the herbal and rich chicken stocks. Expect a modest but classic selection of fresh ingredients like sliced beef, fish paste, and golden mushrooms.
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 specializing 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.
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. There's a DIY condiments area too, just like most other hotpot places in Singapore.