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 Thien Kee’s 90 tables. 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), giving even the fussiest of kids something to gnaw on.