Monday, July 22, 2013

Steamboat Galore - Steamboat Recommendations in Singapore - Part 1

I am a sucker for steamboat and it certainly helps that my wife is a Hongkie. Going around Singapore finding good steamboat spots is definitely one of our favorite past time. In Singapore, there are no lack of steamboat places - from the non-aircon, sit by the alleyway, sweat like mad row of buffet steamboat restaurants along Beach Road (and who would not forget the row of BBQ Steamboat buffet restaurants that sandwiched Superbowl previously at Marina South), to the very atas A5 Waygu beef Shabu Shabu at Orchard Road - Singaporeans are definitely spoilt for choice when it comes to steamboat.

If you are looking for a restaurant to satisfy your next steamboat kick, here is part 1 of some steamboat recommendations worth a try.

Shabu Shabu Gen - The 'ATASness' of Steamboat

If you have a bit of cash to spare and looking for a restaurant to savor very good beef, Shabu Shabu Gen is the place. Opened by the Les Amis group and sitting in the middle of the chain of Les Amis restaurants in Shaw Centre, Shabu Shabu Gen is a upscale Japanese hotput restaurant that serves melt in your mouth A4 / A5 Wagyu Beef. If you do a bit of online search, you would find that A4 / A5 Wagyu beef are the highest grade for Wagyu. The 'A' represents the yield grade which is above standard, and '5' represents the quality grade.

Atas looking Steamboat with the dipping sauce

A4 Ribeye - Just need to dip it in the hotpot for 5s, 
then dip it in one of the sauces and savor it.

Various condiments accompany the steamboat 
Pork Loin is another favourite  
Vegetables comes complimentary after your savor the meat.

Vegetables in the hotpot
Information at a Glance
Location: 1 Scotts Road  #02-13, Shaw Centre, S228208 (along the row of Les Amis restaurants)
Reservations: 68365155
Cost: $$$$+
Soup base selection: Only one - Dashi stock, flavored by the meat and and vegetables
Must try: A4/5 Wagyu, Pork Loin


Hai Di Lao (海底捞) - New Kid on the Block

Hai Di Lao is a relatively new kid on the block in Singapore and Singapore is the first overseas branch of the 50 chain China restaurant. Ever since its opening, it has boasted long waiting lists and weekends are virtually fully booked. I once had to be so kiasu that I booked one whole month in advance for a dinner for 8. Hai Di Lao prides itself on a few things - fresh food, good soup base, and most importantly the service. The highlights of the excellent service provided are:

- Upon arriving, you would find yourself at the waiting area where there are free flow of drinks, fruits tidbits as well as board games and magazines to read.
- Ladies can opt for the free manicure they provide while waiting.
- Kids playing corner
- After being shown to your table and ordering (via the iPad ordering system), they would provide you an apron so that your clothes don't get dirty if you accidentally spill food over yourself.
- If they notice that you put your mobile phone on the table, they would provide you a ziplock bag to protect the phone.
- If you are wearing glasses, they would provide a glass cleaning cloth for you
- The service staff are very attentive (even when its peak period) and would frequently top up your drink and offer to clear the oil off the soup base for you.

Frankly, the service itself makes it worth a visit there, but the added bonus is the food. The beef, pork and fish we ordered are very fresh and succulent, the hand made meat balls are juicy and tangy, and one thing worth a try is the hand-pulled noodles, where one of the chefs would come over to your table to perform some 'noodle-pulling acrobats' while preparing your noodles. In terms of the soup base, the tomato mala soup and seafood soup bases are worth a try.

Tomato and Spicy Mala Double Pot

Fresh Black Pork and US Beef Slices

Handmade Beef Balls

Hai Di Lao Flavored Beef

Homemade Mashed Shrimp

Vegetable Platter

Information at a Glance
Location: 3D River Valley Road #02-02 Clarke Quay S179023
Reservations: 63378626 / 63378627
Cost: $$$
Recommended Soup base selection: Tomato, Mala, Seafood
Must try: Black Pork, US Beef, Homemade Noodles, Homemade Beef Balls


Chuan Yang Ji - The Only Known Mutton Steamboat

If you like mutton and don't mind the smell of it, this is a good restaurant to go to. Tucked along a small shophouse (it has only about 10 tables) along Balestier Road, the main highlight of this steamboat restaurant is the mutton steamboat soup, which has been cooked for 5 hours. This results in a tasty soup base which you should try before putting the meat in.

The succulent mutton, in the form of mutton slices, tendon, wanton, bone-in forms the 2nd highlight. The dips (one which is of a chili base and the other of a sesame sauce base) that comes along with it is also well made and adds a distinct spicy flavor the the meat. The side dishes are also quite good.

The price is relatively cheap too and you can get a set meal for 2 at about $50, drinks and side dishes thrown in.

The name of the restaurant in Chinese

The set menu for 2 includes various mutton meats (slices, skin, tripe, wanton) and some vegetables and tofu.
Set menus for 4 and more people are essentially the same with a bigger portion.
The mutton soup base is the highlight.

Mutton belly with bone in

Fresh sliced mutton

This is another highlight of this restaurant, they serve this brand of "liang teh" which is very popular
 in China and Hong Kong. Has the cooling effect for the steamboat

Information at a Glance
Location: 432 Balestier Rd, Singapore 329813
Reservations: 9003 3244
Website: None
Cost: $$
Recommended Soup base selection: Only mutton soup base is available
Must try: Order the set which contains a variety of mutton meats, the canned Liang Teh called (王老吉)


Stay tune for the next installment which will feature JPOT, Tanyoto and Magic of Chong Qing Hotpot. If you have any steamboat location to recommend, do leave me a comment.


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