Eating is best when it’s social, that’s why we find Asian hot pot meals so satisfying.
You all sit around a frothy, boiling broth, choose your own raw ingredients and plunge them into the soup. You stir your ingredients, fishing them out when they’re done and spooning steaming soup into your bowl. All the while, you’re chatting, laughing about your day, about the food — it’s a meal and party all in one.
The best hot pot restaurants in Singapore provide the opportunity for this sort of fun. Many have expanded their basic soup bases so not all of them are spicy – some offer coconut laksa soup, for example. Others offer premium ingredients to diners. We’ve found 6 amazing places where you can gather friends, or wow visitors to Singapore.
One of the pioneers of hot pot in Singapore, Hai Di Lao now has 9 outlets, its newest is at the recently-reopened Century Square. With roots stretching back to 1994, this Sichuan-styled hot pot is internationally renowned, and offers up 6 different types of soup bases, including a coconut laksa soup base, as well as chicken, mushroom and tomato. Its variety of ingredients includes duck gizzards, crab, frog and clams.
Famously, these outlets have long lines but it’s amusing to wait because they also offer services such as massages and manicures while you stand in the queue, so you can get the party started while you loiter. Prices start at S$20 for a soup base. Do remember to look out for hidden costs for sauces (S$4) as well.
Beauty Soups are a slightly weird concept if you’re from the West – but it’s a big trend in Asia, especially for women. So if you’re taking a gang of colleagues for dinner, this is a good option.
Basically, the soup is full of ingredients like collagen to improve your skin or hair. Opened by the Paradise Group, Beauty in the Pot is known for nutrient-rich collagen soup (from shark’s cartilage). It offers both meat-based collagen and vegetarian soup bases, and you’re allowed to customize your spice level of Sichuan chili oil.
An extensive menu includes ingredients from the melt-in-your-mouth homemade fish tofu to ebiko prawn paste. This swanky joint even serves palate cleanser shots after your meal. Prices start from S$2 per piece for homemade fish tofu, while broths cost S$20. Pay S$25 for a duo soup pot, if you can’t make a decision on one flavour.
This Singapore-style hot pot restaurant serves soup bases with a distinctly local flair. Chilli Crab, Bak Ku Teh, Fish Head Soup and coconut Laksa, along with Tom Yum, Herbal and Vegetarian broths are on offer at JPOT Hotpot. Ingredients include live lobster, Iberico pork collar, wagyu beef, as well as hand-made items like spinach tofu.
Prices for individual soup pots start from S$4.80 for the vegetarian soup base, to S$23.80 for the chilli crab soup. But if you’re on a cost-saving mission, visit JPot on weekdays, as the lunch set menu costs S$16.80 per person. This includes a soup, a meat, rice or noodles, and a selected range of small delights, like crabstick and cheese tofu. As a side note, this place is right next to the water in VivoCity mall, so it’s a good spot for sightseeing before or after your meal
This one is so often on “best of” lists when it comes to hot pots that it needs no introduction… but we’re going to give you one anyway. Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant makes it’s own soup base, simmering it for hours. The result is a . Here, the soup is rich, tasty broth that comes in chicken or pork flavours.
The signature is the Imperial Drunken Chicken Soup, brewed in Chinese Shaoxing rice wine and with medicinal herbs added, like ginseng and Goji berries – also known as wolfberries. For ingredients, try the Four Treasure Ball Platter, a combination of cuttlefish, prawn, fish and pork balls. This place is a safe option if you need to impress a crowd, or to introduce a foreign guest to the wonders and fun of hotpot. One of the best ways to indulge here is to get a set menu but be prepared — prices start at S$108 for 2 people.
Where: #04-09/10 ION Orchard (2 Orchard Turn). Visit
Upin Hotpot is a relatively new hot pot venture started by folks formerly of Hai Di Lao restaurant, so they know what they are doing. The mid-range eatery offers seven different soup bases, but offers a Three Soup Hotpot, for those who want to try more than one type of soup. Great for the group of friends who don’t agree on flavours!
Prices start at S$16.80 per pax for the weekday set lunch, which is on from 11am to 4pm (includes a free flow of drinks, as well as a free soup base for a minimum of 2 people).
This is soup with a hefty dose of showmanship thrown in. Spice World Hot Pot is known for its Mala soup (Mala roughly translates as “tongue-numbing hot”). This soup comes with a teddy bear or Hello Kitty model ($9.90), made of mala chili butter. You pop it into the pot and pour soup over the top and watch it melt. Only 10 Hello Kitties and teddy bears are served each day, so request one upon reservation before heading to the outlet.
Spice World’s flair for presentation doesn’t stop there — they also dress a blonde doll in wagyu beef slices ($38.90), in what may be a camp homage to Lady Gaga’s infamous meat dress at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2010. So this is a great place to take giggly friends or pals who know a lot of show tunes. Prices start from S$22.90 for the Yinyang two-flavoured broth.
Bonus points: Because this place is at Clarke Quay so you can stroll under the coloured lights afterwards and head to a karoke joint… and sing “Bad Romance” with new words “Ma Ma La La La…”
By Sean Tham and Tara Barker, October 2018
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