It may seem counter-intuitive to eat hot and spicy soup-based meals while in equatorial Singapore but hot pots are actually one of the most popular types of food you’ll find around the island. The popularity of the hot pot arises from its communal nature, which is the traditional way of eating in many Asian countries, and the fact that it can be customized per family—or even per person in some restaurants.
Restaurant, Chinese, Steakhouse, $$$
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JPOT - TAMPINES 1, Singapore | Courtesy of JPOT
JPOT rates highly for many reasons, one of them being their practice of serving individual hot pots, which, besides being more hygienic, also allows everyone to order a broth suited to their own preferred spice level. JPOT offers a variety of Singapore-style soup bases, ranging from Laksa to Bak Kut Teh, and even offering a healthier vegetarian option. With a large selection of succulent meats, live seafood, and fresh greens to add into the hotpot, this meal is highly customizable. Be sure to also check out the DIY condiments bar where you can mix your own ingredients to create personalized dips to complete your hot pot experience.
Singapore’s most successful hot pot chain got its start in China before moving to our sunny shores. They have multiple locations around the island, but the best one is at Clarke Quay. Hai Di Lao offers one of the spiciest hot pots around the island, the super spicy Sichuan Pepper Hot Pot, which is not for the faint of heart but has an interesting numbing effect. The Clarke Quay location is open til 6 a.m. so you can get your spicy hot pot fix well into the night.
The Magic of ChongQing opened in 1994, one of the first restaurants in Singapore to serve spicy Sichuan hot pot. The restaurant offers both buffet and a la carte options with over a hundred meat, seafood, and veggie items to choose from to put into your hot pot. The Magic of ChongQing maintains the magic through a three step system that involves serving diners small sweets between ingredient courses, complementing all hot pots with a special dipping sauce, and drinking Chinese Tea to help with the spiciness of the food.
Head to Guo Fu Hotpot when you want to get your hot pot fix without breaking the bank. Served in individual or twin-flavour pots starting at just $9, Guo Fu is much easier on the wallet than some of the other options on this list but still delicious. Located in China Square Central, this restaurant offers a relaxed dining atmosphere where your neighbors are just as likely to be marketing execs from the nearby agencies as Chinese aunties and uncles. You can choose a set meal, a la carte or buffet style and then have your pick from ten different soup bases. If you select the buffet option, there are also a few cooked options, including Xiao Long Bao (dumplings with soup in them).
Hua Ting Steamboat, tucked away in Claymore Connect Way at the end of Orchard Road, is the lunchtime hot pot king in Singapore. With excellent set lunch deals featuring their custom-made broth and fresh ingredients, Hua Ting Steamboat makes taking your hot pot to go easy with their Casserole Hotpots, which is essentially a small container that offers the same quality hot pot as having it in the restaurant itself.
Seoul Garden takes Korean culinary favorite bibimbap and gives it a twist, serving it in a traditional Chinese hotpot. Different options include Beef tendon, chicken ginseng, and of course, seafood. At Seoul Garden, the broth is made using a kimchi stock that gives it a spicy kick that is completely different from the Sichuan Mala flavor.
Located just outside VivoCity, this always busy restaurant has an old-school Kopitiam atmosphere and is considered a favorite among laksa lovers across the island. Laksa, a traditional Malay soup, is made with lemongrass, spices, and most importantly, coconut milk which gives it its rich, silky texture. San Laksa only offers a la cart service. Try the sea cucumber if you’re feeling adventurous and definitely go for a big plate of prawns—they’re perfect for absorbing the flavorful broth.