Perfect for rainy days, reunion dinners or just because, a meal around a bubbling hot pot never fails to deliver on the satisfaction factor. From the frothy and flavourful broth to an extensive range of ingredients and a host of side dishes, the hot pot offers an irreplicable sense of communion and strengthens camaraderie between friends and loved ones. So if it's time for another catch-up session with your makan kakis, here's where to head to.
Beauty in the Pot specialises in soup bases that are purportedly good for your skin. The two signature soups, Beauty Collagen Broth and Spicy Nourishing Broth ($20 each), are made with a mix of conpoy, chicken and pork bones. The latter even deploys a cornucopia of Chinese herbs like red dates and ginseng, so the soups are as nourishing as they are delicious. Like Hai Di Lao, the hotpot ingredients here are a bar above your average steamboat joint. There’s US wagyu rib-eye ($21), Kurobuta pork (from $9), and a selection of fresh fish. Even the many types of tofu are worth the stomach space – go for the fish tofu ($1.80), which soaks up all the goodness of the broth like a savoury sponge.
Tucked away on the quieter side of Orchard Road, Hua Ting has a startling 11 steamboat broths to choose from, many of which come in unique variations you won't find anywhere else. There's the drunken prawn ($28), glutinous wine with kampung chicken ($22), and the fish soup with winter melon and conpoy ($38) – just to name a few. Steamboat ingredients are extensive, from handmade balls and seafood pastes like the fish paste with black moss ($7) to all manners of tripe, offal, premium meat cuts and fresh seafood like cockles, clams and lobsters.
Located in the heart of the CBD, City Hot pot is popular with the working folks. Every one gets their own hot pot at this joint, so there'll be no more fussing over which soup bases to pick for a sharing pot. With 12 soup bases (from $5.99) and 19 different sauces to choose from, there is no lack of variety here. Diners can also opt for a set meal or à la carte ingredients to dip into their bubbling pots. All meats are freshly prepared and sliced. Highlights include the wagyu chuck eye roll ($19.99), lamb leg ($13.99), and minced pork paste ($8.99). If you're looking to treat yourself, get the lobster ($58.99) or fresh fish fillet ($15.99). And in case you need more to fill your stomach, City Hot pot also offers braised pork rice ($3.99), mee sua ($1.99) and other sides.
Guo Fu's been in the hot pot business for more than a decade, serving up its herbal and tonic soups (from $3) that include nourishing ingredients like cordyceps, red dates, and black chicken. It also offers something that's sure to draw in the crowds: free-flow xiao long bao with its à la carte buffet (adults $25.90 lunch; $27.90 dinner and kids $13.90 lunch; $15.90 dinner). Other ingredients served include the standard meats, seafood and vegetables, but there are also shallot pancakes and sweet potato noodles. To sweeten the deal, dessert options are available with the buffet.
A household name known for its stellar Chinese cuisine, the Imperial Treasure brand branched into the hotpot industry several years ago, and like the other restaurants under its name, has found enough success to open a second outlet. The soup base is made fresh daily, with its most popular options being the Ginseng chicken soup and Sichuan spicy soup. With bold, robust flavours, the soups provide a great base to its range of premium meats, seafood, handmade meatballs and vegetables. Time to get your steamboat party bubblin’.
While it has seven soup bases to choose from, Shang Pin's known for its Sichuan spicy soup base. The broth is slow-cooked for over three hours and infused with more than 25 herbal ingredients, chillis and chilli peppers. Unlike other steamboat places, it allows diners to have three soup bases in one pot, making it the perfect place for variety-seekers. It also has interesting à la carte selections that other joints lack, like the beef tongue, sea urchin balls and bullfrog meat. For those looking for dinner and a show, watch out for its hand-pulled noodles and "bian lian" (face-changing) opera performances.
Amid a sea of mookata stalls in Golden Mile Tower you’ll find Thien Kee, one of the few remaining Hainanese steamboat restaurants. Now run by second-generation owner Benjamin Boh, Thien Kee is perennially packed during dinner, so turn up early to avoid the queue. Don’t expect a five-star dining experience or a languid meal here, either – the auntie servers, who have worked here for decades, are as curt as they are efficient. You’ll see a bubbling hot pot on every one of its 90 tables, and ingredients can be ordered 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 its chicken rice ($18-$36) and deep fried pork chops ($12-$16), which will give even the fussiest of kids something to gnaw on.
With its wide variety of ingredients and steaming broths, Upin Hot Pot is probably one of the closest alternatives to Hai Di Lao you can get. Granted, the meats may not taste like the premium Hai Di Lao offerings, but it's good enough for the moderate price you’re paying. Upin offers seven broths for you to choose from, including their specialty tomato soup base ($12), mushroom ($12), and pork bone ($18). Choose up to three for the price of one. Must try items include the mushroom meatballs and crispy fish skin. Open until 3am each day, it's also a supper hotspot.
You can’t put together a hot pot list without mentioning Suki-Ya. With ten locations conveniently located in shopping malls across the island, you're bound to have come across one of its outlets on your day out. While the offerings may not be extensive, its broths are hearty and warming, with a selection of classic hotpot ingredients and fresh greens to choose from. Add that to the free-flow portions of beef, chicken, and pork, and you'll definitely leave with your tummy full. The joint is family-friendly as well – kids 12 years and below dine free with every two paying adults.
It's easy to confuse Shabu Sai with Suki-Ya, given that both are affordable shabu shabu and sukiyaki hot pot restaurants that feature in shopping malls islandwide. The main difference lies in the selection of soup bases – Shabu Sai has up to seven, with a rotating roster of monthly specials that include herbal chicken with barley and shiitake with scallop. The hot pot buffet at Shabu Sai also offers a ton of leafy greens, DIY-sauce selections and a free flow of sliver-thin beef, pork and chicken. Furthermore, no two Shabu Sai outlets are the same. Depending on which one you patronise, you'll be able to find a variety of sushi, dessert cakes, fresh fruits and waffle stations along with the standard buffet fare. With affordable weekend prices of $19.99 per head for lunch and $24.99 per head for dinner, it's no wonder that it's become a popular spot to dine out for families.
Herbal chicken broth with fatty pork belly and hand-pulled noodles, all for less than $10? Sounds too good to be true, but it all exists at Shi Li Fang. The Taiwanese steamboat restaurant offers a set lunch for $9.90, and it even comes with a drink of your choice. Pick a soup base (the joint prides itself on not using MSG), the main protein and your preferred type of noodles. Then on top of that, help yourself to a load of vegetables and sides – from cabbage, carrot and bok choy to tofu, black fungus, and mushrooms. It’s more than enough to induce a post-lunch food coma, but at least it doesn't break the bank.
After five years of business, Hai Xian Lao has made a name for itself with its excellent service and fresh steamboat ingredients. Besides putting together eight different soup bases (from $18.80) for you to choose from, it serves a variety of handmade items like dumplings, meatballs and tofu (from $5.80), as well as premium meats like Spanish pork collar ($9.80) and lamb shoulder ($14.80). Briny-fresh seafood offerings are also available, so if you're in the mood for Alaskan king crab (market prices) and Boston lobster ($68.80), this is the place to be.
Decked out in shades of red and gold, this upscale hotpot restaurant comes with plenty of bells and whistles – it offers hot towels to freshen up, mani-pedis, plastic covers to protect your phone, and microfibre cloths to clean your soup-splattered spectacles if needed. For those dining with little ones, the restaurant houses a small play area, with high chairs and kid-friendly utensils available. There's even a baby cot for borrowing so they can nap while you finish your meal. And if that's not enough to convince you to visit this joint, performances by a resident noodle master during your meal is sure to delight.
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.
This Thai-Chinese hot pot restaurant stands out for its distinctive Thai ingredients and dishes. It offers eight broths, one of which is the fragrant tom kha gai (chicken coconut soup). Sides include the Thai mama noodle, spicy beef salad, black olive fried rice and pineapple fried rice. Weekday lunch buffets start from $30 for adults and $20 for children. The family-friendly joint also has a promotion where a child dines free with every two paying adults, and discounted prices are available for students and senior citizens.
JPOT has you spoilt for choice with nine soup bases, including Singapore style variations such as laksa, chilli crab, and bak kut teh. The restaurant also offers patrons the option of having individual pots or a large pot to share for bigger groups. The range of ingredients is extensive, comprising fresh seafood, red meats, vegetables, and local delights like the tau pok with fish paste ($2.80 for 3pcs), red chilli with fish paste ($2.80 for 3pcs), hand-made prawn balls ($6.80) and spinach skin beancurd ($5.80).