Hai Di Lao alternatives for hot pot lovers
I love Hai Di Lao. There’s something about the stellar service that keeps enchanting me. That said, there are days when I desire a quick hot pot fix that won’t burn a hole in my pocket. Listed here are 10 Hai Di Lao alternatives that rival Singapore’s favourite steamboat franchise.
1. Spice World Hot Pot
Spice World Hot Pot moulds beef fat and ma la stock into an adorable Hello Kitty ($9.90++) block. This is left to melt slowly into the stock, pimping up your soup with flavours. An array of seafood and meats is also available to be cooked in the steamboat.
I’d pick the Australian M8 Wagyu beef ($38.90++) as my meat of choice. Thinly sliced wagyu are delicately draped onto a Barbie doll. When bathed in the bubbling stock, the beef’s rich marbling confer a buttery and unctuous mouthfeel.
Address: 3B River Valley Road, #01-06/07, Clarke Quay, Singapore 179021
Opening hours: Sun-Thur 10:30am to 4am, Fri-Sat 10:30am to 6am
Tel: 6265 9777
2. Guo Fu Steamboat
When you dine at Guo Fu Steamboat, you get to choose from a buffet ($23.90++) selection of 60 different dishes. Select different cuts of meat like beef, pork, and mutton. They even have options like duck’s gizzard and hog’s skin.
Guo Fu Steamboat also serves piping hot xiao long bao in their buffet. Upon biting into the dumpling, the soup gushes into your mouth, leaving you feeling wholly satisfied.
Check out our full review of Guo Fu Steamboat!
Address: 20 Cross Street, #01-31, China Court, China Square Central, Singapore 048422
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 11:30am to 10:30pm
Tel: 6557 0906
3. Long Qing Hotpot
Image credit: @longqingsingapore
Dining at Long Qing Hotpot makes me feel like a crazy rich Asian. The dishes are intricately plated and even the soup pot looks like it came out of a Qing dynasty historical museum.
I would recommend cooking your meat shabu-shabu style, as most of them, such as the Pork Belly ($12++) and U.S Short Rib ($22++), are thinly sliced.
Address: 18 Hongkong Street, Singapore 059661
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 11:30am to 2:30pm, 5:30pm to 11pm
Tel: 6533 1618
4. Upin Hotpot
Image credit: @myw11myw
Rumour has it that the owners of Upin Seafood were once part of Hai Di Lao. I understand the reason for this hearsay. The ambience, service and food at Upin bare an uncanny resemblance to the popular restaurant.
What’s different, however, is the Upin Three Soup Hot Pot ($14++), where you get to choose three different stocks. The Meat Balls Combo ($18++) is a great idea if you’re looking to enhance the taste of your soup. Another good bet would be the Black Pork ($10++). It has a stronger flavour profile that goes well with other dishes.
5. Hai Xian Lao
Image credit: @mselainehengdines
Hai Xian Lao’s buffet ($34.80++) serves over 70 different dishes. The quality of meat and seafood is comparable to that of Hai Di Lao. For instance, the beef slices are equally melt-in-your-mouth tender and the seafood is fresh and plump.
The staff are also friendly and attentive, evocative of Hai Di Lao’s standard of service.
Address: 8 Wilkie Road, #01-21, Singapore 228095
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 11am to 5am
Tel: 6509 6194
6. Da Miao
Image credit: @damiaohotpot
Da Miao is known for entertaining diners with traditional Chinese bian lian performances. Lovers of ma la will enjoy the Da Miao Special Spicy Soup Pot ($22++), which has pods of chilli swimming in a dark spicy broth.
Premium meats like Australia Prime Beef ($32++) are also available. I would, however, be adventurous and opt for their Beef Tripe ($16++), which has a chewy consistency.
Address: 3C River Valley Road, #01-11, The Cannery, Singapore 179022
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 11:30am to 5am
Tel: 6250 9969
7. Jiu Gong Ge
Large mounds of seafood brim the huge pot at Jiu Gong Ge Steamboat. Order their Seafood Steamboat ($118++ for two, $148++ for three to four) for an impressive selection of crabs, lobsters, prawns and scallops.
The seafood is fresh and plump, imparting sweetness into the chicken stock. They also have a ma la stock, but the heat may mask the delicate flavours of the seafood.
Check out our full review of Jiu Gong Ge Steamboat!
Address: 470 North Bridge Road, #01-02, Bugis Cube, Singapore 188735
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11am to 12am
Tel: 6338 3405
8. Jin Shang Yi Pin
Joining the ranks of halal hotpots in Singapore is Jin Shang Yi Pin Buffet Hot Pot. A plethora of dishes such as beef, mutton, toman fish, cheese tofu and udon are available at $35++.
You can choose from a variety of five soup bases: ma la, salted vegetable, herbal chicken, mushroom and tomato. They are currently applying for a halal certificate, and this is a great Hai Di Lao alternative for Muslim friends in the future.
Check out our full review of Jin Shang Yi Pin Buffet Hot Pot!
Address: 3 Simei Street 6, #01-20, Eastpoint Mall, Singapore 528833
Opening hours: Daily 11am to 3pm, 4pm to 10pm
Tel: 6909 7355
Jin Shang Yi Pin Buffet Hot Pot has applied for halal certification.
9. Shabu En
Shabu En features Kyushu Taki Nabe, a style of hot pot that’s similar to mookata. It stars a 40cm ring-shaped pot with meat surrounding a broth of your choice.
There is a wide selection of meats, and the Miyazaki Wagyu & Iberico Pork Belly combination sets you back $38.80++, while the Premium Beef & Iberico Pork Belly costs $28.80++.
Check out our full review of Shabu En!
Address: 80 Marine Parade Road, #01-11, Parkway Parade, Singapore 449269
Opening hours: Daily 11am to 10pm
Tel: 6348 6171
Shabu En is a not a halal eatery.
10. Beauty In The Pot
At Beauty In The Pot, their Beauty Collagen Broth ($20++) is made of shark cartilage that has been boiled down to a thick, collagen-rich soup. Get the Fried Beancurd Skin ($3++), which remains crispy even after soaking up the hearty collagen goodness.
The Sliced US Short Ribs ($8++) is sliced to a good thickness, retaining a slight pink hue in the centre when cooked.
Address: 176 Orchard Rd, #05-15/16, The Centrepoint, Singapore 238843
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 11:30am to 6am
Tel: 6235 3557
Hai Di Lao alternatives without the wait
Steamboat is the best way to bond with family and friends. What’s even better is having great quality food and service without the crazy two-hour wait.