Bountiful Buffets

Bountiful Buffets

Buffets are the go to happy hunting ground for many a glutton looking to maximize their bang for their buck, but alas, there are far too many appalling buffet places that waste both the cash and calories of these gluttons. This list aims to separate the gold from the dross, so tuck in, and get ready for a bounty of blissful buffets.
Russell Leong
Russell Leong

I’m a sucker for all you can eat BBQ & Hotpot buffets, so it comes as no surprise that Chong Qing Steamboat & BBQ is my kinda pot dealer. At $32.80++ for a weekend all you can eat buffet, you can stuff yourself silly on stellar seafood such as Chong Qing’s signature chili, garlic & vermicelli scallops, or their garlic mussels, or their chili oil clams in a little tinfoil bowl. Alternatively, you can kick off #bulkingseason with a bang & max out your protein intake on their marinated beef or pork cubes, a plethora of pork cuts from black pepper pork chops, to spicy pork ribs & cumin pork belly, a bevy of beef, and spicy chicken wings that were low key underrated.

The Google reviews for Chong Qing Steamboat Bar were pretty brutal, and I went in with tempered expectations. However, I found that quite a few of them were unnecessarily harsh after sampling Chong Qing’s seafood offerings for myself. The main complaint was that the seafood wasn’t fresh and it had been left out for too long. Granted, it’s a buffet where you help yourself to the food so you can cook it to your own preference, but the seafood on Sunday night was moving mad fast.

My personal favourite, the chili garlic & vermicelli scallops, were quite fresh, retaining a subtle sweetness without any offensive fishy odour that would indicate a lack of freshness, and it was delicious. The garlic prawns were a little flawed in their execution due to the garlic falling right off the prawns when getting grilled, but there’s no denying that the prawns were still acceptably fresh with the texture to prove it. The mussels fared just as well as the stellar scallops, although they could do with a little more chili oil on them.⠀

The clams in the chili garlic oil was probably the freshest seafood on offer. Pop the little tinfoil bowl over the grill and watch it bubble, then enjoy the sweet little clams with the chili oil & garlic. Yes, all of the clams popped open, not a single one stayed closed. The plain prawns were just as fresh as their garlic coated counterparts, and performed the best when boiled in the spicy mala soup.

Just to keep your stomach plumbing moving smoothly, grab some veg & load it into your bubbling hotpot broth. Protip: put corn into your broth and let it boil indefinitely for better soup. The herbal broth was loaded with strong, heady aromas of the various Chinese medicinal herbs that had been boiled into the chicken stock base, while the mala was plenty vicious to satisfy you hotheads out there.

Thank you for the generous hospitality, Chong Qing Steamboat Bar, and @theprsalon!

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@haolaiwusg has about SIXTY (yes, six zero) options on their impressive buffet spread, which is a nightmare for indecisive folks. Fortunately, Hao Lai Wu has very kindly compiled a selection of their greatest meat marvels into a convenient & well presented BBQ Meat Platter.⠀

The BBQ Meat Platter features their Signature HLW Pork Chop, Signature Chicken Chop, Black Pepper Beef, Special Marinated Pork Belly & Signature Chicken Wings. The Signature HLW Pork Chop was flavourful & tender for a lean cut of meat, and it had been marinated in a mixture of soya sauce, cumin & black pepper for a salty, peppery & herby kick. The Signature HLW Chicken Chop, on the other hand, was marinated very simply with what appears to be soy sauce & sesame oil, and the juicy chicken was the mildest flavoured of the lot. The Black Pepper Beef was intensely peppery, ideal for the pepper heads out there, and the Signature Chicken wings were spicy, savoury and slightly sweet. ⠀

My favourite definitely has to be the Special Marinated Pork Belly, which really lives up to the ‘Special’ in its name. It appears to be marinated in a chili paste of some kind, but the spice levels are surprisingly well moderated. You do get some spice, but it’s well balanced out by a deep delectable umami and a little bit of numbing on the tongue. All the fat rendered from this fatty pork belly imbues this Special Marinated Pork Belly with a pungent, primal smokiness that satisfies the primal part of the brain demanding the smell of searing meat on a grill.⠀

Once again, thank you to @theprsalon & @haolaiwusg for the invite!

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No matter how hot it gets in Singapore, I always love me a good barbecue & hotpot buffet. Of course, good BBQ & hotpot buffets don’t come cheap, but at @haolaiwusg, they’ve struck an ideal balance between affordability & quality. Their BBQ & Hotpot buffet starts at $27.80++ from Mondays to Thursdays, and goes up to $29.80++ on weekends & public holidays.⠀

Although you do need to top up anywhere from between eight to fourteen dollars for either a single soup pot or a split soup pot, paying less than fifty dollars for ninety minutes of stuffing yourself silly is still quite a bargain. Besides, their Collagen Beauty Soup & Authentic Spicy Mala Soup ($7 each in a split pot) were incredibly delicious and I had no qualms paying for the sapid soups. The Collagen Beauty Soup was rich, thick and luscious from all the pork bone & chicken skin boiled into the broth, and had hearty herbal flavours as well. The Authentic Mala is everything a hothead could ever want: it’s spicy, numbing and savoury, ready to breathe fiery life into everything that is cooked in it.⠀

Speaking of things we could cook, oh boy! You are utterly spoiled for choice here at Hao Lai Wu. Choose from my personal favourites of spicy pork ribs, special marinated pork belly and yakiniku beef cubes to baby octopus, flower crab, bamboo clams, a whole load of veggies and the universal hotpot must-have: cheese tofu. If you’re in an adventurous mood, you can even get assorted innards such as pig’s liver & intestines, and beef tripe to channel your inner masterchef. They also have ready to eat braised meats as well, such as braised chicken feet, braised pig’s intestines & even braised pig’s trotter if you can’t wait for your grill & hotpot to get going.⠀

Here at Hao Lai Wu, you roll in hungry, and you roll out absolutely stuffed with your wallet still intact. I think I’ve just stumbled upon a hidden gem, my friends.⠀

Thank you for the invite and hopefully the first of many collabs @theprsalon, and 多谢多谢 to @haolaiwusg for the insanely generous hospitality!

1 Like has absolutely nothing to do with football, but they have everything to do with tteokbokki (Korean rice cakes) & hotpot. In a Singapore that is admittedly over saturated by hotpot restaurants, 90 Minutes is a little different as they are a tteokbokki hotpot buffet place, plus they have a few truly unique hotpot broth bases.⠀

We chose ‘90mins The Best’ and ‘90mins Red Hot’ broth as our bases. The Red Hot, which is ironically the non spicy one, stood out more because the broth contained jajang paste (fermented black bean) and carried the unmistakable pungency of fermented black bean. It does get increasingly diluted the more you refill the pot with chicken stock, so it might be worth it to enquire if 90 Minutes do top off the seasoning mix after a couple of refills.⠀

The usual hotpot suspects are here, from the sweetcorn, to the leafy greens, to the thinly sliced pork belly, and the prawns. The vegetables were surprisingly fresh for a buffet joint, and the protein options, while not the freshest, were well within acceptable limits and they were free flow. Since this is a Korean restaurant, they’ve got the iconic fishcake on a stick, and it’s actually quite addictive after you let it sit in the boiling soup to soak up all the flavours like a sponge.⠀

As for the tteokbokki, which are 90 Minutes’ pride & joy, they come in four variants. The traditional plain one, sweet potato, yam, and cheese stuffed tteokbokki. The yellow sweet potato tteokbokki & the purple yam ones were stunningly sublime, with a delectable sweetness to both that compelled me to finish them all in short order. The cheese stuffed tteokbokki was incredibly unique, but the cheese tasted like butter instead of cheese for some reason. Still, the tteokbokki was good, and I even went back for seconds of sweet potato & yam tteokbokkis.⠀

At $23.90++ for weekday dinners, this is a superb budget buffet spot. Better yet, #burpplebeyond has 30% off lunch & dinner buffets for two! Thanks for the invite, @burpple &!

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While @foodcapital.gcw roast meats, claypot and salad/cold appetiser stations were decent in terms of quality & selection, the much more diminutive tempura station was a true stunner. It sits alongside the satisfactory sashimi station, but it deserves more attention than the perennially popular sashimi. Sure, buffets & fried foods evoke imaginations of grease soaked, limp and tepid fried calorie nukes, but Food Capital’s tempura station is clear of the rest.⠀

While they don’t deep fry everything to order, they do it in small batches. At dinner service, this ain’t a problem, as the steady flow of diners ensure that the tempura is depleted rapidly, necessitating a constant replenishment of the fried goodies. Yes, it’s pretty close to freshly fried, and the quality is not inferior to dedicated tempura joints.⠀

Many restaurants tend to deep fry their less than fresh prawns, a waste reducing move that I agree with, but the prawns that get transformed into tempura at @grandcopthorne Food Capital are remarkably fresh. Each crispy bite through the airy batter gives way into a springy, decently seasoned & subtly sweet shrimp, and it gets even better when you dip it into the hot tentsuyu (tempura dipping sauce). As for the accompanying vegetables, they were no less impressive. The sweet potato & eggplant were fabulously fresh & satisfyingly sweet, while the enoki & shiitake mushrooms were crunchy outside & charmingly chewy inside.⠀

The other item that was served on Lunar New Year’s Eve was a tempura teriyaki chicken maki roll. Well, it’s sushi rice wrapped around a tender teriyaki chicken fillet, wrapped in seaweed, deep fried and garnished with bonito flakes & a dash of tempura sauce. There was no way this was ever gonna be anything other than addictively delicious, and it was a bit of a struggle to not get seconds of this one. However, the pressing need to save stomach capacity for the rest of the brilliant buffet won out.⠀

Food Capital has truly awed me with their first rate buffet, and I’d gladly make a return visit in the near future. Absolutely capital, blud.

This year’s Lunar New Year eve reunion dinner was a considerably more lavish affair than usual thanks to @foodcapital.gcw at @grandcopthorne. I’ve never had a reunion dinner at a buffet restaurant before, so I was slightly amused when we were served a Yu Sheng platter upon getting seated. The Prosperity Yu Sheng was extra fancy with the addition of abalone & lobster to the usual salmon sashimi, and while 年年 may not have 余, this Yu Sheng was full of 鱼.⠀

The plum & mandarin orange dressing gave the preserved fruit & veggie strips an irresistible sweet & sour flavouring, and I had to actively restrain myself from polishing it all off. Next we were served the mini double-boiled Buddha Jump Over The Wall soup (which I forgot to take a photo of ffs), which is so good I’d jump over a few walls for this sumptuous soup.⠀

It’s light, but my good god it’s so stupendously savoury, subtly sweet and just the right shade of herbal & medicinal to make you feel reinvigorated. Better yet, there were lots of gratifying goodies submerged in that sapid soup. Abalone, chicken, scallops & fish maw, to be precise. No shark fin here, Grand Copthorne are doing the environmentally conscious thing here, and for that I applaud them.⠀

And the last of the CNY trio to be served to us was a mini Pen Cai. This was also unexpectedly delicious, and the thick, lustrous sauce breathed even more deliciousness into the roast duck, roast pork, soy chicken, prawns, dried oysters and mushrooms.⠀

I certainly was not expecting to be this impressed by these individual dishes at a buffet, but the attention to detail & painstaking effort to prep these delicious dishes by Food Capital was definitely deeply appreciated by me & my family.

@foodcapital.gcw at @grandcopthorne has one of the most impressive seafood sections. I can’t say if it’s always this excellent all year round, but I can confirm that the Lunar New Year Prosperity Buffet special that runs until 15 February will run these sublime seafood selections.⠀

The oysters only emerge from their shells at dinner, but they are well worth the wait. Tastefully briny and compellingly creamy with a clean & crisp finish, these marvellous mollusks are impeccably indulgent. While the Chilean scallops are less flashy, they are fantastically fresh, boasting a sweetness that’s only possessed by the freshest of seafoods.⠀

The undisputed showstopper here are definitely those colossal Canadian snow crab legs. While I’m pretty annoyed that Food Capital neither provides shell/nutcrackers nor cracks it up for you beforehand, the payoff is well worth the labour. The trick is break the crab at the joints, then jam your fork in and twist against the shell until it cracks. Pry it open to reveal an absolute bounty of stunningly sweet & brilliantly briny crabmeat. I have no idea how it managed to stay this fresh despite being out on a buffet lineup, but I was absolutely besotted with these beautiful long legs.⠀

Besides crabs, oysters & scallops, they have other crustacean options too. Black mussels, flower clams, prawns and sea whelk round out the remarkably varied selection on offer here, and all the shellfish here are sublimely fresh and an absolute delight to devour naked, or with a dash of lemon & Tabasco, or with a delightful dollop of Food Capital’s house-made brandy cocktail sauce. At just $88++ per person for dinner, this is a fantastic feast that should not be missed.

The sensational satay was a truly welcome epiphany, and it’s easily the most succulent and tender satay I’ve ever had anywhere in the world. I was about to pass over this satay due to the distinct lack of charred bits on it, but I’m so glad I gave these competently crafted chicken satays a go. The marinade is as excellent as the texture of the meat it flavours, and the accompanying satay sauce was sublimely sapid. Just needs some char on the meat, and it would be a world beater.⠀

While I’m disappointed that a few of the menu items that I was eager for were absent from the lineup, such as the pork satay, the red wine miso glazed pork ribs, and the steamed barramundi, the remarkable sumptuousness of the food I did have somewhat ameliorated that.

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The clear favourite in @limesingapore Festive Buffet is the luscious lobster laksa. Actually that’s a half truth, as you it isn’t a lobster, it’s a crayfish. Yes, it’s also known as a slipper lobster, but it’s not really an actual lobster.⠀

Semantics aside, there’s no argument that Lime Restaurant’s crayfish laksa is possibly the most heavenly one in sunny Singapore. The slightly spicy and ravishingly rich gravy is thick & supremely satisfying for your senses, unlike many others that are frustratingly thin & inadequate. Toss in some thick noodles and the fresh, slightly sweet slipper lobster, and you’ve got one of the most luxurious laksas in town.


The roast beef was seasoned quite poorly, which is a damn shame because it’s been slow roasted to a mouthwatering medium rare. I mean, just look at that pink, man. While the beef is probably not top quality stuff, it’s still tremendously tender, requiring only a couple of moderate bites to disintegrate in your mouth. ⠀
Other excellent protein options at Lime’s Festive Buffet include the amazing Australian lamb chop, which features tastefully tender lamb accompanied by a minty, savoury gravy that tempers the natural mild gaminess of lamb. The roasted salmon is also cooked perfectly, but does need more of that hearty herb butter that it’s presented in.⠀

While the selection and variety of food on offer at Lime is disappointingly limited, the variety of food that is on offer is extraordinarily excellent and top quality. Perhaps they’re going for quality over quantity, and fair play to them for that for doing it adeptly.⠀

Oh one last thing: Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal.

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Merry Christmas to everyone reading this, and I hope y’all got your fill of turkey & roast meats this feastin-sorry, festive season. I certainly got my fill at @limesingapore, and I was pleasantly impressed by the quality of the meats on the buffet lineup.⠀

Turkey is an extremely fickle protein at the best of times, with an annoying tendency to be drier than Gandhi’s flip flops if the stars don’t align. However, Lime has somehow managed to pull the rabbit out of the hat with this one, as even the finicky breast meat was surprisingly moist, with a nicely roasted skin draped like a velvet blanket over the meat. The thigh meat was a delectable delight, the moist & supple meat slithering down your throat effortlessly, preferably with some gravy & cranberry sauce.

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This past year, the world has definitely not been our oyster, but let these plump oysters from @limesingapore at @parkroyalpickering be your world this Christmas season. Accompanied by a couple of glasses of bubbly too, of course.⠀

I’m glad these oysters of unknown origin are fantastically fat and fresh for the most part, as they possess a charming creaminess that’s flavoured with an understated brininess and a very slight sweetness. Better yet, you can return for seconds, thirds, fourths and even fortieths of these mouthwatering mollusks.⠀

Unfortunately, just like everything else this year, there’s always a cloud obscuring every single lining. And that cloud happened to be a spoilt oyster that I bit into before I hurriedly expelled it back out into its shell. The damage had been done, however, and I had the runs shortly after. Nothing major requiring a physician, just a lot of annoyance, toilet paper and a tinge of disappointment.⠀

Off oyster aside, the rest of Lime Restaurant’s festive buffet ($99++ per pax) was pleasantly palatable. The quality of the buffet is remarkable, so don’t let my little encounter with the one bad oyster put you off a bountiful buffet.

Alcohol may not be good for my body, but my body is good for alcohol. Insta: @okwhotookmyusername

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