Steamboats are a hearty meal of choice, particularly during the Lunar New Year celebrations. Apart from the dizzying variety of ingredients and ease of cooking, a steamboat meal is the perfect opportunity for long conversations and interactions as your food bubbles and cooks in a hot pot.
While modern favourites like ‘Hai Di Lao Hot Pot’ and ‘Beauty in the Pot’ are the present go-to establishments for steamboat in Singapore, there are other popular classics that are equally worth a visit. Some of these establishments may even have been around during your Grandparents’ time.
Here are 3 traditional steamboat restaurants that still draw the crowds even after decades of existence.
1. Tian Tian Seafood Restaurant
With almost 20 years of history, Tian Tian is an iconic establishment around the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood. The casual roadside joint is popular among families due to its reasonably priced dishes and fresh ingredients.
Well-known for its signature seafood fish head steamboat, the yam that is added to the broth gives it a sweet and nutty taste, and will have you craving for more. While there is a wide variety of fresh ingredients available for you to add to your steamboat, you may also opt for the more economical combo plate. This includes typical steamboat fare such as squid, prawns, chicken and vegetables.
The restaurant also offers sumptuous ‘zi char’ (which literally means ‘cook and stir-fry’ in Chinese dialect) options, a communal dining concept where various dishes are laid out on the table and shared amongst one another. Dishes such as the steamed bamboo clams with garlic, and salt and pepper squid are a must-try if you decide to go for this option.
Address: 239 Outram Road
Phone: +65 6324 1082/3
Opening Hours: 1700hrs to 0330hrs (Daily)
2. Golden Mile Thien Kee Steamboat
Golden Mile Thien Kee Steamboat has been around since the 1950s and is a well-loved Hainanese restaurant known for its traditional steamboat and chicken rice.
Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it uses a traditional yet extremely delicious chicken soup as the steamboat base, a taste that hasn’t changed after all these years. The restaurant offers a smorgasboard of additional ingredients for your steamboat, with sliced beef, sea cucumber, prawns, clams and fish maw as distinct favourites. In fact, the soup gets increasingly tastier with more ingredients added in!
Besides its steamboat and chicken rice, the restaurant is also popular for its authentic Hainanese pork chops.
Address: 6001 Beach Road, #B1-20, Golden Mile Tower
Phone: +65 6293 5910
Opening Hours: 1100hrs to 2200hrs (Daily)
3. Nan Hwa Fishboat
Satisfying the appetites of generations of customers since 1927, Nan Hwa Fishboat is one of Singapore’s oldest and well-known steamboat restaurants.
This Teochew-style steamboat restaurant uses charcoal to fire up the soup. This is believed to provide better heat distribution, resulting in a broth with a mellow smoky flavour.
Its signature ‘zi char’ dishes are also highly sought after, with the Nan Hwa Signature Oyster Omelette, Four Heavenly Kings Vegetables and Yam Basket with 8 Treasures among the restaurant’s bestsellers.
Address: 812/814/816 North Bridge Road
Phone: +65 6297 9319
Opening Hours: 0400hrs to 0100hrs (Daily)
With the Lunar New Year fast approaching, why not gather family and friends for a reunion over a delicious steamboat meal? Or, if you prefer a traditional ‘zi char’ feast, here are some recommendations! As tables fill up fast during this period, do make your reservations early.