Saturday, September 21, 2013

Steamboat Galore - Steamboat Recommendations in Singapore - Part 2

This is part 2 of the series on Steamboat Recommendations in Singapore, you can read about part 1 here.

JPOT - Individual Pots with Local Flavors

JPOT is a dining concept from the JUMBO group that offers hotpot dining with a Singaporean twist. This restaurant has 3 main highlights - (1) It offers individual pots with soup bases that includes local favorites such as Bah Kut Teh and Laksa, (2) Live seafood straight from the fish tanks, and (3) Condiments bar that allows you to create your own dipping sauce, or follow the recipe displayed at the bar. The restaurant located at Vivocity had been very successful and had since open a 2nd branch at Tampines 1 (Update: A 3rd branch has opened at Parkway Parade). Much lessons from the design and management of Vivocity branch has been put into consideration for the Tampines 1 branch, which is why you see iPad ordering systems tucked into custom made tables, these tables are also expandable for the servers to place plates upon plates of raw steamboat dishes, as well as an automatic queuing system. 

When I eat there, I usually order the Superior Broth and Silky Porridge soup bases with the Geoduck and Seafood platter for 2 ($98.00) as well as an ala carte Live Sri Lanka Crab. Silky Porridge as a soup base is not very common in Singapore yet and this is one of the few restaurants that serves this - it consists of good quality rice grounded and cooked in superior broth, making it a silky and tasteful soup base which will absorb that flavor of whatever you put in. This is the reason why we ordered the Sri Lanka crab - we usually throw the crab (shell included), the live prawn heads (from the set) into the silky porridge, and let it simmer under the slow heat, along the way we also cook some meats and seafood in the porridge. What you get at the end of a meal is a very very flavorful seafood porridge.

IPad ordering system at Tampines 1

The set menu allows you to choose 2 meats, we usually chose the Wagyu Beef and
Kurobuta Pork, they are smaller in servings from the rest of the selection though.

Seafood platter - The geoduck runs out quite fast and if that happens, they would offer
to make it up by giving more of the other seafood.

Seafood platter with the silky porridge

Live Sri Lanka crab

Just let the crab simmer in the silky porridge and you would get a flavor porridge
at the end of the meal.

Information at a Glance
Location: 1 HarbourFront Walk #01-53 VivoCity S098585 or 10 Tampines Central 1 #03-16 Tampines 1 S529536 
Reservations: Vivocity: 62733536 / Tampines 1 65323536
Cost: $$$
Soup base selection: Bah Kut Teh, Laksa, Tom Yum, Superior Broth (recommended), Silky Porridge (recommended), Herbal, Vegetarian
Must try: Seafood,  Live crab simmered in silky porridge.


Tanyoto (谭鱼头) - 'Wagyu' Fish and Mala Soup made from Quality Chilies 

Tanyoto is a steamboat restaurant originally from Sichuan, China. It has branches all over China and Hong Kong with the Singapore branch at Liang Court being its first overseas foray into the international market. The specialty of this restaurant would be its fish, especially the fish fillet - if there is such a thing called Wagyu Shabu Shabu Fish, this would be it! The fish fillet are thinly sliced and you just need to deep into the soup for about 10 seconds for it to be cooked. The resulting fillet has a little bit of crunchiness to it upon first bit and subsequently, the melt in your mouth texture follows on.

The other specialty of this restaurant would be its Mala soup, which uses high quality chilies that can only be picked within seven days of a year. The tomato soup is great as well.

I must say that the Singapore branch is kinda pricey during the ala carte hours, if you go to China and Hong Kong, you could probably try it at 75% of the price in Singapore.

This seems like the only photo of Tanyoto I have - but it contains everything. Beef, Fish fillet, handmade balls
and the Mala and Tomato Soup split pot.

Information at a Glance
Location: 177 River Valley Road, #01-25/25A, Liang Court
Reservations: 68366839
Cost: $$$
Soup Base Selection: Mala, Tomato, Chicken
Must Try: Fish fillet, Mala soup


Magic of Chong Qing Hotpot - The Grandmaster of Mala Hotpot

This restaurant tucked away in Tanglin Shopping Centre should be the Grandmaster of Mala Hotpot in Singapore, having been in this business for the past 19 years. I got to know this restaurant while I was looking around for a part time job during my poly school holidays and had worked there for a short period of time. I would say that the quality of the soup base, in terms of the Mala Soup and Old Faithful Chicken Soup, remains consistent over the years. However, I feel that the standards, in terms of quantity, has dropped a bit, which is quite decremental considering the fact that it is facing a lot of new competitors. For example, their signature fish paste used to spread over quite thickly on the plate, but the spread has since become very thin (although technically, its a steamboat buffet and you can order more plates to make up for the quantity, I still prefer it to be thick cause in terms of taste, the springiness can be felt if it was thicker.

As this is a buffet restaurant with quite a number of dishes to choose from, I would suggest the following items. (The waitress would volunteer to order the first round for you, then let you choose your favorites for the 2nd round, you can pick this option if fish balls, meatballs and tofu are your favorite buffet choice).

1. Fish Paste (I usually order 10-12 plates of these)
2. Shrimp Wanton
3. Fresh Cockles (Goes very well with the Mala Soup)
4. Golden Mushrooms
5. Tong-Or
6. Carp Fish Fillet
7. Buffalo Tripe
8. Ox Tongue
9. Prawns

The restaurant's signboard right outside

Left: Old Faithful Chicken Broth. Right: Mala Soup. The soup base has been consistent all these years and is very good.

Part of the buffet includes small portions of tidbits to quench the 'heatiness'. This set includes
(clockwise from top) Fried Bun Roll, Fried Glutinous Cake, Chestnut Cake. The other tidbits includes
Xiao Long Bao and Guo Tie

Condiments are placed in every table, consisting of Sesame Paste, Sesame Oil, Chili Sauce and Red Chili and Garlic in Soy Sauce.

Information at a Glance
Location: 19 Tanglin Road #04-06/07 Tanglin Shopping Centre S (247909)
Reservations: 6734 8135
Cost: $$$
Soup Base Selection: Mala, Old Faithful Chicken
Must Try: Fish Paste

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