Have a ball of a time with family and friends at these great steamboat restaurants in Singapore that offer superb broths with premium ingredients
Hotpot, steamboat, mookata – whatever it’s called, we just can’t get enough of this piping hot delight that’s perfect for big gatherings, or a cold, rainy day. For the uninitiated, steamboat is a popular (and fun) cooking method in East Asian households where the cooking is done at the dinner table. A boiling pot of soup stock is placed in the middle of the table with a variety of raw meats, seafood, vegetable, noodles and dumplings (just like the one above). It may be a Chinese New Year staple but most of us like to have it all year around. But where do you go for the crème de la crème? Find ‘em right here…
This well-known stalwart has been around since 1957 so really, they must be doing something right. We particularly like the good ol’ clear chicken broth (Double Boiled Treasure) as a soup base but you can choose up to four soup bases with the quadruple pot. For maximum pleasure, dip your favourite cooked ingredients in Coca’s fiery homemade chilli sauce. All three outlets are usually crowded so book ahead to avoid disappointment.
Coca Restaurant, three locations including Suntec City, Ngee Ann City and Kallang Leisure Park
San Laksa Steamboat
Love laksa and all its creamy, spicy goodness? This outlet on Telok Blangah Road is one of the few places in the country that offer laksa as a steamboat base. The laksa gravy isn’t too thick so you won’t feel jelak after piling on the ingredients. If you still want the good ol’ chicken broth, the pot can hold two different kinds of soup, so order away.
San Laksa Steamboat, 404 Telok Blangah Road, Singapore 098840
Crystal Jade Steamboat Kitchen
Few places do traditional Chinese fare better than Crystal Jade. It’s been a family favourite for the longest time and better yet, you can order a round or two of dim sum to accompany your soupy main at this outlet. Choose from six different soup bases (pork’s bone, tomato, curry, miso, superior, and spicy mala) before helping yourself to whatever ingredients you like at the buffet-style spread.
Crystal Jade Steamboat Kitchen, #02-32 Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road, Singapore 238868
Be warned: it’s a long wait to dine at this Sichuan-based restaurant (mostly over an hour), ever since it blew up. Don’t worry about waiting in line though. Believe it or not, you can get yourself a manicure and help yourself to free fruits and popcorn while waiting. Another highlight? Chefs showing off their kneading skills as they knead hand-pulled homemade noodles right at your table. If you can handle the heat, choose the fiery Sichuan soup base.
Haidilao, various locations including Clarke Quay, 313 Somerset, Plaza Singapura and Vivocity
New Udon Mookata
What makes mookata so awesome (and different) is that you get the best of both worlds – a barbeque steamboat where one grills meats on a metal skillet in the middle. The metal skillet has grooves on it that lead into the “soup moat”, and the juices you get from grilling the meat then flow into the soup, giving it that extra flavour. $45 gets you the smallest set of ingredients, enough to feed three people, and it really is worth it.
New Udon Mookata, #01-55 Golden Mile Complex, 5001 Beach Road, Singapore 199588
The shabu-shabu hotpot here comes with a bunch of greens and an all-you-can-eat supply of (O.M.G) fresh seafood. We’re talking queen crabs, scallops, oysters, prawns, sashimi – you name it, they have it. Carnivores can make a beeline for their chicken chunks, slices of Ibérico Kurobuta pork and (very well-marbled) Miyazaki wagyu beef.
En Sakaba, four locations including Orchard Central, Clarke Quay and Capital Tower
Cheese Story Mookata Buffet
If you like a serving of gooey melted cheese with your mookata spread (think a seafood style cheese fondue), Cheese Story’s got enough cheese refills to go around the group. If you’re a seafood lover, go ahead and pile on the flower crabs, clams, scallops, mussels, prawns, crayfish and salmon. There’s also a mix of marinated pork, chicken and beef. End your meal with a scoop of ice-cream cause there’s always room for dessert.
Cheese Story Mookata Buffet, 5001 Beach Road, #02-01 Golden Mile Complex, Singapore 199588
Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant
Imperial Treasure is the kind of swanky place you’d choose if you need to impress the in-laws. Signature dishes include the four treasure ball platter – a combination of prawn, cuttlefish, pork and canton specially prepared by the chef and the Imperial drunken chicken soup that’s prepared with Shaoxing rice wine, ginseng, wild yam, wolfberries and red dates. The satay, seaweed and kelp, and century egg and parsley soup bases are a cut above the usual Szechuan, pork bone and chicken soup flavours.
Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant, two locations including Ion Orchard and Great World City
Beauty in the Pot by Paradise Group
This hotpot by Paradise group offers a perfect mix of beauty and the beast of some sorts. Indulge in a pot of beauty collagen soup packed with nutrients and a nourishing spicy soup with a choice of three levels of Szechuan spices to put your tolerance for mala to the test. Robust soup bases aside, premium and homemade ingredients like melt-in-your-mouth fish tofu and fried beancurd skin are some highlights.
Beauty in the Pot by Paradise group, various locations including The Centrepoint, Vivocity and Kinex
Guo Fu Hotpot Steamboat
Ready to explore beyond the usual soup bases? Guo Fu Hotpot in Chinatown has 11 bases for you to try – interesting flavours like elderly tonic soup, curry beef soup, and for the curious, male vitality soup definitely, pique interest. Each person on the table gets a pot to themselves so don’t hold back on your choices. And did we mention there’s free-flow of xiao long bao? Now, that’s what we call a bang for your buck.
Guo Fu Hotpot Steamboat, 20 Cross Street, China Square Central, #01-31/32/33 China Court, Singapore 048422
Pot Yummy Yummy
Hotpot for one? Pot Yummy Yummy is a haven for introverts – or if you’re picky about what goes inside the pot. Thanks to its strategic spot (it’s located right below our office) you’ll probably find us here on rainy days or when the craving hits. You get a mini hotpot to yourself with a choice of over seven soup bases. The ingredients are placed on a conveyor belt so just patiently wait for your faves and plonk ‘em in the pot. The set lunch deal includes meat of your choice (we always go for the Australian beef slices) and up to six ingredients from the conveyor belt.
Pot Yummy Yummy, 80 Telok Ayer Street, #01-01, Singapore 048466
Crazy about the whole collagen-gives-you-beautiful-skin business? At Tsukada Nojo, you can get your wonder protein fix in a pot with their super famous Bijin Nabe – a collagen-rich creation featuring organic chicken broth and fresh ingredients like shrimp, mushrooms and chicken meatballs. It’s literally beauty in a pot. Taking care of your skin while stuffing your face? Score!
Tsukada Nojo, four locations including Plaza Singapura, Liang Court and Chinatown Point
Whampoa Keng Fishhead Steamboat
From hawker stall to full-fledged restaurant, this dining spot (and household name to many locals) has come a long way since setting up shop in 1990. The main star of the steamboat is fresh sliced fish with bits of cabbage and seaweed, but do order some side dishes like the prawn paste chicken wings, braised pig trotter and prawn rolls.
Whampoa Keng Fishhead Steamboat, 556 Balestier Road, Singapore 329872; 116 Rangoon Road, Singapore 218394
The Magic of Chongqing Hot Pot
Go for the mala soup base and pick your level of spiciness (there’s mild, standard, and spicy). It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet concept here so pick what you like, from pork balls to dumplings. There’s also plenty of vegetarian selections and cooked food, including the ever-popular Chinese delicacy, xiao long bao.
The Magic of Chongqing Hot Pot, #04-06/07 Tanglin Shopping Centre, 19 Tanglin Road, Singapore 247909