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Best Places for Steamboat in Singapore 2017

Best Places for Steamboat in Singapore 2017

The recent spate of rainy days have got us in the mood for one thing — steamboat! As days cool and skies pour, we can hardly think of anything more fitting food-wise than to gather with our favourite people around a piping hot pot of goodness. From super shiok prawn broth hot pot to a steamboat buffet with freeflow xiao long baos, we've rounded up all our favourite spots for steamboat into this week's guide.
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Tucked away on the third floor of Clarke Quay Central, this is an underrated spot for a la carte steamboat. According to Burppler Tay Brenda, the chef here used to be from Hai Di Lao, which explains the similiar concept and menu items albeit at more affordable prices. For starters, choose the thickness of your broth, along with the oil and spice level if you're going for the mala soup base. Burpple Tastemaker Wei Zhi Chiang went for the Twin Pot ($14-$16, depending on broth type) and loved how both the mushroom and mala broths started out light yet got increasingly flavourful. Ingredients are really fresh and come in generous portions — they don't do half portions, so take Wei Zhi's advice to visit in a group to stretch your dollar. Some recommendations include Black Pork ($10), Prawn Paste ($12), Indian Lettuce ($4), Kelp ($4) andd Wide Vermicelli ($5). Beverages are free flow at $3 per person, while access to the sauces, seasonings and fruit table costs $4 each.
Pro tip: Upin takes reservations till 6.30pm before dinner crowds peak, and also opens till 3am for supper daily.
Avg price: $35
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Wei Zhi Chiang

This Hong Kong Street restaurant is our pick for Chinese mala hotpot with class. Elegantly decked out, it is perfect for an intimate dinner with a spice-loving date. For a fuss-free meal, order one of the three hotpot set menus (from $55, serves two) to share. Each set comes with a variety of meat and vegetables, along with a divided pot for two MSG-free broths — we highly recommend the tongue numbing mala as well as the rich and concentrated wild mushroom. If you're really specific about what you want though, consider ordering everything a la carte, from broths to ingredients. That's what Burppler Veronica Phua did, filling the table with tender Premium U.S Short Rib ($22) and Mangalitsa Pork Collar ($30). For best value, visit on a Tuesday, where you can enjoy their one-for-one promotion on all meats, except luncheon meat. You're welcome.
Avg price: $40
Photo by Burppler Sam Chua

A favourite on Burpple's Hawker Hot 100 list last year, this Old Airport Road Food Centre prawn noodle stall serves up one shiok hotpot. Boosted with the sweetness of prawns and robustness from the pork ribs, the base broth is without a doubt one of the winning points here. The heavenly broth is filled generously with seafood (prawn, clams and a whole crab) and fall-off-the-bone pork ribs. What we also appreciate is that we get to bring our own ingredients to further fill the pot — think mushrooms, fishballs and all the vegetables you fancy! The Prawn Broth Hot Pot (from $55 for two people) is not listed on their menu, so call ahead to let friendly owner Richard know to prepare it in advance for your party.
Avg price: $25
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Zhihui Lim

Tsukada Nojo has won over legions of fans with their Bijin Nabe ($25 each, minimum two people). The wholly popular hot pot features a stock that's painstakingly prepared by stewing Jidori chicken bones for over eight hours, which they present at your table as a soya beancurd like pudding to melt down. Each set comes with a platter of vegetables, skewered prawns and chicken pieces, plus a choice of noodles.
The menu now offers two additional choices of soup base — spicy chilli and curry. Burppler Dex Neo tried the spicy chilli, and describes it be a mildly spicy, mala-type base peppered with Szechuan peppercorns. It's good if you like the heat, but his advice is for purists to stick with the original collagen-rich chicken broth, which he says is a lot easier to slurp down.
Also new to the menu are the Bijin Shabu Shabu ($32 per person, with Iberico pork slices) and Beef Sukiyaki Collagen ($38 per person, with a special collagen sukiyaki base) options, which are great alternatives if you're not a big fan of the default poached chicken parts that the original set comes with. Consider ordering the Spicy Chicken Nanban ($9) to share. Expect four pieces of addictively tasty deep-fried chicken, slicked in spicy hot egg mayo.
Avg price: $30
Photo by Burppler Muriel A

An institution in Golden Mile Tower, Thien Kee offers the unique experience of pairing steamboat with chicken rice. The food here is simple but tasty, with some Burpplers describing it to be homey Hainanese cooking at its best. The Steamboat (from $36) looks basic, but dig in and you'll find a generous variety of ingredients including sliced beef, pork, prawns, squid, sea cucumber and cockles. The broth gets increasingly tasty as it boils on, and makes a good accompaniment to their Chicken Rice (from $10 for half chicken). The chicken is tender and faultless, and the rice super fragrant. Dip everything in the zingy chilli sauce!
Pro tip: The place is usually packed, but the turnover time is decent, so be patient. You're bound to smell of food after leaving the place, so leave your Sunday best for another day.
Avg price: $25
Photo by Burppler Veronica Phua

This is our go-to for reasonably priced hot pot and affordably priced beer; the industrial chic setting of brick walls and cement floors is a nice plus. Along with standard ingredients like sliced meat, seafood and veggies, the Steamboat Buffet ($29.80) also features lesser provided ingredients like pig intestines, prawn paste and beef omasum (a part of cow stomach). The latter is especially delicious having soaked up all the flavours in the mala broth. Like Guo Fu Steamboat, the price here excludes the broth base — expect to pay an average of $18 for two soups, so come in a group to keep the cost down. Some favourite broths among the Burpple community include the Sichuan mala, the pork-based bone soup and sweet tomato. Beer lovers would appreciate that the beer here averages at $6 a serving, with four big bottles of Qingdao going for $20!
Avg price: $40
Photo by Burppler Jason Yeo

At times you don't mind going old school — think ceaseless crowds, rustic environs and slightly gruff service — then this Serangoon stalwart is the place to visit. The dinner crowds never seem to end, so be prepared for the off chance you'll be seated at a table set up along the back alley. In return however, you'll be treated to a seriously tasty Fishhead Steamboat (from $22), featuring a broth that's been simmering over charcoal for hours. The Burpple community highly recommends the Pomfret Steamboat (from $25), with many commending the fish's delicate, velvety flesh. The piping hot broth also comes filled with vegetables, seaweed and sliced yam, which is soft yet retains a good bite. Don't stop at the steamboat when you're here though, for the zi char dishes here are spot on too. The eggy and super flavourful Tofu Prawn (from $15) is a must order, and so are the Har Jeong Gai ($8) and Salted Egg Pork Ribs (from $10).
Avg price: $15
Photo by Burppler Jasmine Teo

For a feast, consider this casual chic steamboat restaurant in China Square Central. Smart enough for a business meal yet laid-back enough for gathering with friends, Guo Fu Steamboat one-ups the competition with free-flow xiao long baos! Priced at $23.90 for daily lunch, $25.90 for weekday dinners and $27.90 and weekend dinners, the steamboat buffet is perfect for large appetites, but bear in mind that the soup bases are charged separately (prices start from $3 for a personal portion, or from $9 for a split pot of two broths to share). That said, the quality and variety of the ingredients are commendable — expect the likes of sliced beef, pork and chicken alongside prawns, scallops and mussels.
Pro tip: The xiao long bao takes awhile to be ready, so order that first before you start piling your table with food.
Avg price: $25
Photo by Burppler Jervois Chong

It's clear what most, if not all, patrons at this Joo Chiat steamboat eatery are here for — the broth. Made from a combination of quality ingredients including chicken and shark bones and boiled for over five hours, the milky-white soup bursts with natural sweetness and is clean-tasting yet flavourful. The Soup Base (from $30) makes a wonderful, lavish base for the steamboat items. Apart from regular meats and greens, they also have several handmade signatures: Pork Dumplings ($5), Fish Kuey Tiao ($5) and Chef's Recipe Squid Ball ($8). This is a favourite among families, and a great place to head to for large extended family meals — service is quick and the food is bound to be a hit with the elders!
Pro tip: There are outlets in Outram and Sembawang too.
Avg price: $30
Photo by Burppler Lem Cheong

Head to this Serangoon establishment (a short stroll from NEX) for steamboat with a twist. By that, we mean the laksa broth, which is fragrant and full on flavour, yet light enough to slurp on right till the end. The Laksa Steamboat Buffet ($21.80 weekday lunch, $26.80 for weekend lunch and daily dinner) is great value, and the price includes two soup bases — the laksa is a no brainer; pick something mild like the chicken soup for your second to counter the richness. The standard selection of ingredients are decently fresh; keep an eye out for the super fresh prawns and fish slices. The buffet also includes cooked food, free flow drinks and ice cream — don't miss the tasty, fried-to-order chicken wings.
Avg price: $25
Photo by Burppler Raine Liu

Located within Japan Food Town in Wisma Atria, Shabu Shabu Gyu Jin serves pretty quality meats in a reasonably priced buffet setting — perfect for ravenous appetites! You can choose to have the meats shabu shabu, sukiyaki or yakiniku (barbecue) style. Burppler Siming T really enjoyed the Sukiyaki (from $31.90 for American beef, prices vary according to type of beef chosen), which sees thinly sliced meat cooked in a pot of umami-rich sauce heavily seasoned with soy. It's delicious but rather rich, so pace yourself. Apart from the beef, there are other meats including pork belly, chicken thigh and pork loin, along with a selection of fresh vegetables from the bar, Japanese curry rice and ice cream. It's good enough a deal for us to set aside the fact that there's a time limit on on our meal — the standard course allows diners 70 minutes to dine.
Pro tip: If you're lucky enough to steal out for a long lunch, come by for the 60-minute lunch buffet (from $24.90, daily from 11am-3pm).
Avg price: $35
Photo by Burppler Siming T

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