It’s always hot pot season in Singapore — one just has to spot the snaking lines outside the likes of Haidilao and Beauty In The Pot to know that Singaporeans have a torrid love affair with hot pot (also known as steamboat).
Apart from these hot pot chains, a number of new names have made their presence felt in the past year. Keep scrolling for the newcomers bubbling in the hot pot scene in Singapore.
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Ma la isn’t the only option if you’re up for painfully addictive broths — try tom yum goong instead. Spicy Bangkok Hotpot, which opened its doors in Sep 2022, offers exactly this. It’s opened by Chen Yong Qiao, who worked in a former Michelin-starred restaurant in Hong Kong. After falling in love with tom yum goong after a trip to Thailand, he subsequently started his own restaurant after perfecting the recipe.
Choose from various individual hotpots, like the Signature Tom Yum Goong Set ($19.90) with ingredients like luncheon meat, beef balls, pangasius fish, squid, crab fillet, tiger prawns and seasonal vegetables. Other sets include the Tom Yum Goong Sliced Beef Set ($19.90), Handmade Shrimp Slide with Golden Soup Pot ($19.90), Crispy Fish Fillet with Pickled Cabbage ($17.90), and Superior Mushroom Soup Set ($13.90). Additional ingredients are available for a top-up.
Spicy Bangkok Hotpot is at #01-78C People’s Park Complex, 1 Park Road, Singapore 059108. Visit its website for more information.
After opening to much fanfare in China, Yun Nans Stonepot Fish landed in Singapore just a few months ago.
How it works: Sustainably sourced fish from local farms is freshly culled and placed into a granite stone pot, then poured over with a rich fish broth that has been simmered for over six hours. It’s then covered with a traditional handcrafted straw lid, before undergoing a high-pressure steaming process that extracts the natural flavours of the fish while retaining its tenderness.
And it all happens right in front of you, taking just four to six minutes for the fish to be fully cooked. Pick between the signature Collagen Fish Soup ($18++) concocted with the likes of dried scallops, salmon, old hen and ginseng or the earthy Wild Mushroom Soup ($18++) that uses Yunnan’s Shangri-La Matsutake mushrooms, porcini, and cordyceps. Your choice of fish includes sea bass, patin and soon hock (from $28++).
Make it a heartier affair with other ingredients like beef, lamb and pork, as well as handmade beef balls, seafood and vegetables. Or go for signature and new dishes from Yun Nans such as Crispy Duck with Dried Chillies, Stir-Fried SpicyClam, and the new Crispy Barramundi Collar ($9.80++).
Yun Nans Stonepot Fish is at #01-103 Northpoint City, 930 Yishun Ave 2, Singapore 769098.
Hong Kong’s popular hot pot chain Uncle Fong, which has seen famous patrons like Hong Kong celebs Carina Lau, Julian Cheung and Stanley Kwan, has an 80-seater space at Great World that opened in April just last year. Fun fact: Uncle Fong’s founder is Fong Chi Chung, who’s also the man behind the Michelin-starred Putien.
The chain is best known for its authentic Chongqing-style soup base, simmered with premium spices and condiments like Chongqing Shizhuhong chilli, Sichuan Hanyuan pepper, beef tallow, Sichuan Pixian bean paste and Yunnan yellow ginger. Interestingly, the pot is also divided into nine sections, creating different heat zones for different ingredients.
Not great at stomaching spice? You can go for the Pork Bone, Tomato, Fungus & Mushroom, Coriander, and Preserved Egg broths. There’s also the light and mildly sweet Fruit and Vegetable Soup, specially created with Singapore’s humid climate in mind. Soups are charged per person ($7++ per pax), and up to $28++ per pot.
Apart from meat, seafood and vegetables, you can look forward to ingredients like hand-beaten prawn paste, coral mussels, Putien soft tofu, dried gong choi and sliced celtuce, alongside seasonal offerings like razor clams.
Uncle Fong is at #B1-108/109 Great World, 1 Kim Seng Promenade, Singapore 237994.
Nestled within Chinatown is Tianfang Pavilion Chaoshan Hotpot, opened by chef Fu, who’s from Northern China.
Your hotpot experience starts with choosing between five soup bases – the Signature Oxtail Soup ($20++) and Mushroom Soup ($16++) are recommended, both of which take over 10 hours to prepare. Emphasis is placed on the beef cuts, and beef lovers can look forward to sampling a variety of cuts, from Japanese sirloin and beef flank, to Australian beef tenderloin, beef chuck and shank. There are also juicy hand-pounded Teochew beef meatballs that are available in limited quantities daily. Other dunking options include black pork meat, pork belly and lamb.
Hotpot aside, the restaurant serves up other Chaoshan specialties like Lobster Sashimi ($268++), Double-eating Squirrel Fish($46++), and Dry-fried Green Beans with Minced Pork and Preserved Vegetables ($12++).
For private parties, book the two private rooms that come with KTV so you can belt out your favourite tunes while diving in.
Tianfang Pavilion Chaoshan Hotpot is at 269 / 271 New Bridge Road, Singapore 088747. Opens 11am to 12am daily.
To mark its 10th anniversary last year, the hotpot chain opened the first smart Haidilao restaurant in Singapore at Northshore Plaza in Punggol. A highlight is the Intelligent Food Room with robotic arms that select the dishes and send them to the ‘sorting area’. The specially built cold room is kept at a constant 0-4 degrees Celsius to maintain the freshness of the dishes, and minimise any potential risk of transmission of germs and bacteria from human food handling.
There are also roving robot waiters, as well as a customised automatic soup machine that improves the accuracy of ingredients servings and customises soup preferences. This is the first time such equipment is introduced in Singapore.
For Westies, the hotpot chain has also opened at Jurong Point. One of its largest yet, the restaurant boasts a seating capacity of over 400, as well as a unique Nanyang-inspired interior that sets it apart from the rest. There are also private rooms decked with Southeast Asian motifs as a tribute to the region.
Haidilao’s latest outlet at Northpoint City is set to open in early 2023.
Haidilao Hot Pot is at #01-01 Northshore Plaza I, 407 Northshore Drive, Singapore 820407, and #01-46/47 Jurong Point 1 Jurong West Central 2, Singapore 648886.
This article originally appeared in Singapore Women’s Weekly.