Amid a sea of mookata stalls in Golden Mile Tower you’ll find Thien Kee, one of the few remaining Hainanese steamboat restaurants. You can order the ingredients for your steamboat à la carte or in sets ($34-$100). The soup is admittedly bland when it arrives, but add the raw ingredients served alongside – they include omasum (aka part of a cow’s stomach) and cockles – and that changes. Don’t forget Thien Kee’s other Hainanese dishes like chicken rice ($18-$36) and deep fried pork chops ($12-$16).
After spending years living in Shanghai and learning from his wife – a native of Chong Qing – Long Qing’s owner James Chiew has perfected his soup base recipes to appeal to both traditional Chinese and Singaporean palates. There are only four types of soup available: the signature pork bone soup, mala, tomato and wild mushroom ($18 for a choice of two) so you won’t feel too bogged down by choice. Premium ingredients like the Mangalica pork collar ($30), US short rib ($22) and Canadian scallops ($12.80) are delivered daily while pork balls ($12) and prawn paste ($14) are made fresh every afternoon.
Decorated in grand shades of gold and red, this upscale hotpot restaurant comes with plenty of bells and whistles – hot towels, plastic covers to protect your phone, and even cloth to clean your soup-splashed spectacles are all offered. The tots are well looked after here, too – the restaurant offers a small play area for younger kids to burn off excess energy, and accommodates them during the meal with high-chairs and easy-to-use utensils. Plus, a performance by a resident noodle master is sure to delight both children and adults. And if the little ones get tired, borrow a baby cot so they can nap while you finish off your meal.
Combining recipes passed down from the owner’s mother with quality Chinese herbs and ingredients, Tang has the right formula for success. This small restaurant makes use of TCM principles to create soups like House Special ($19) – made by boiling hens, pork and fish bones together with medicinal herbs for over eight hours – and Authentic Sichuan Spices ($21), which has over 40 different spices and herbs to aid digestion. These soups are best accompanied with hotpot ingredients like sliced fish ($22) and marinated beef hump ($19).
After spending the afternoon singing your heart out at the karaoke place next door, head to Shang Pin for piping hot bowls of soup. This no-frills steamboat joint lets you have up to three soup bases in one pot ($16), making it great for variety seekers who refuse to commit. Popular à la carte dishes include black pork ($10), shrimp paste ($12) and sliced beef ($14). It even has hand-pulled noodles ($3) for people looking for dinner and a show.
At this hotpot outlet, each soup base is made fresh daily and soups like the ginseng chicken soup and Sichuan spicy soup are robust enough to be enjoyed on its own. Throw in a range of premium meats, seafood, handmade meatballs and vegetables to get your steamboat party bubblin’.