Steamboat is not just about cooking fresh ingredients and getting to eat them piping hot with savoury broths; it’s the fun and interaction with loved ones cooking, chatting and crowding around that pot that makes steamboat so enjoyable.
Previously I have featured two types of steamboat we enjoy in Singapore – Traditional Hainanese Style Thien Kee and Shabu Shabu at Shabu Sai. Hai Di Lao offers more of a fusion between the Chinese Mala (麻辣) and our local flavours with broth like Laksa, Tomato (for the non-chilli eating patrons) and lighter broths such as seafood, chicken and mushroom.
The beauty of it all is that you can have 4 soups in a pot! And with 11 ladies in a room it can be quite tough to make a decision from 6 different types of broth. We tried all except the Laksa broth for this lunch at the Clarke Quay outlet.
Tip: Do make reservations two weeks in advance for bigger groups if not you might have to wait or might not get a table at all.
We were really lucky that we got there early at 11am and we didn’t make reservations as we were under the impression that we just got to queue. There was a group arriving much later at 1:30pm so we were showed to this private room where we had to finish eating by 1:15pm. The staff were extremely helpful and attentive, serving us hot towels and drinks as well as offering aprons and hair-ties. They also gave us zip lock bags for cameras / phones and covers for our bags so we don’t dirty our belongings. Really impressed with the service.
We placed our orders on the tablet provided and the food arrived promptly.
The Spicy Mala (麻辣) soup was my personal favourite as it had the right balance of spiciness and oiliness and I do love spicy stuff. The tomato soup broth was a hit with everyone – the sweet, sour and appetising broth went well with the meat and vegetables. The mushroom and chicken soup were decent with rich flavours of morels and chicken respectively, good for those who prefer comforting soup in steamboat. The seafood broth had mussels, prawns and generous ingredients in it that made the broth really aromatic and yummy too. Going for the 4-in-1 pot would be ideal because each soup had its merits. I have heard that the Laksa broth is awesome too – will try it the next time 😀
The key to having a great steamboat meal is having a good dipping sauce – Hai Di Lao offers a great variety of chillies, vegetables, oils and Asian sauces to make our own unique combinations suited to our taste buds. (Note: There’s a charge of $4 per pax for the sauces)
We ordered the staples that majority of my clique loves – beef, pork, chicken, mushrooms and vegetables together with their signature meatballs and shrimp paste.
We are huge fans of lamb and beef in steamboat. The cuts on the platter were better than we expected, just look at that marbling. We also had one plate each of the pork and chicken and they were pretty good too!
We kinda regretted ordering the platter as we all wanted more of that Enoki mushrooms so we ended up ordering like three more portions of just the Enoki 🙂
The hand made balls were rich in flavours and after cooking in the various broths, the balls were oozing with the soup as we bite into them. We also tried the corn and pork ones later on which were just as good.
The ingredients were all exceedingly fresh! We didn’t go for the premium cuts of beef as the meat platter were good enough in our opinions. A special mention to their handmade mashed shrimp paste (sorry no pictures too excited eating) – that was so delicious we had two servings of those. The shrimp paste is tender and so rich in shrimp flavours and when it soaks up the broth – just so yummy!
The highlight of the meal had to be the handmade noodles 手工面 where there’s a short dance performance. The portion of the noodles was small but really springy and delicious in the broth. (Hope the chatter in the background don’t distract you from the act itself 😛 though I think we amused the performer.)
Hai Di Lao also had plenty of fruits free flow to relieve the palate after having a sumptuous steamboat meal. And thanks to my dear Instagram friend, I just learnt something new about fruits! Fruits taken on its own or before meals are actually better for your digestive system.
We spent about $33 per pax for this lunch which is very reasonable considering we ate for 2 hours non-stop. The quality of food, the impeccable service and the variety of ingredients and sauces definitely warrant a revisit.
And if you are craving for steamboat in the middle of the night especially when it rains – fret not, as Hai Di Lao is opened till 6am at both Clarke Quay and 313 Somerset branches (And till 4am for the IMM outlet).
新加坡一店 (Clarke Quay 10:30am-6am)
T: +65 6337 8626 / 6337 8627
Add: 3D River Valley Road #02-04
Clarke Quay, Singapore 179023
新加坡二店 (313 10:30am-6am)
T: +65 6835 7227 / 6835 7337
Add: 313 Orchard Road #04-23/24
新加坡三店 (IMM 10:30am-4am)
T: +65 6896 4111 / 689 4222
Add: #03-01 IMM, 2 Jurong East Street 21