It’s no surprise that Singaporeans are die-hard foodies. We take eating seriously and pride ourselves in finding the best version of our favourite dishes. The hotpot craze has long been part of many Singaporean’s pastimes with long queues outside hotpot restaurants like Hai Di Lao and Beauty In The Pot being a common sight. However, nothing beats organising a hotpot gathering at home. Besides avoiding the monstrous queues, you even get to enjoy more time with family and friends without worrying about seat-hogging.
If you’re new to cooking and have no clue how to prepare a hotpot at home, we’re here to help! Here are some tips to organise your own Singaporean hotpot gathering in just five easy steps.
1. Getting the right hotpot cooker
Finding the right steamboat pot is the most important step to organising your hotpot party. Die-hard steamboat fans love using a portable gas stove that allows you to control the flames at specific intensities. Plus, you can use it even in the outdoors! However, if you want to avoid the fuss of replacing the gas canisters after every meal, then get yourself an induction cooker. This Mistral induction cooker ($188, available on Mistral Official Store) allows for fast cooking, is easy to clean and a multi safety protection system which traditional gas stove does not have. If you’re still unsure of which steamboat pot to buy, fret not, here’s a guide to the best steamboat pots in Singapore for your hotpot party.
2. The soul of the hotpot: A good broth
The sheer variety of hotpot broths always keeps people coming back for more. Restaurants such as Hai Di Lao have even pre-packaged their Hai Di Lao soup base for sale. With one of these, you can now easily add their flavoursome soup in your hotpot at home! Their bestselling broth is undoubtedly the Hai Di Lao mala soup ($4.90, available on Savour Enterprise). Singaporeans love spicy food so it’s no surprise why we have fallen for the numbingly hot broth. However, if spicy is not your thing, try the sweet and tangy tomato broth ($4.90, available on Savour Enterprise) instead.
Other common broth flavours include Japanese Suki-Yaki, mushroom, shrimp and salted vegetables.
3. The body of the hotpot: The ingredients
- Meat: The heart of the hotpot ingredients lies in the meat and seafood. Sliced meat such as beef, pork belly slices, chicken or even lamb shoulder slice ($7.90, available on GrocerKing Official Store) is often used in hotpots. Sliced fish ($6.80, available on GrocerKing Official Store) is also common but might be at odds with certain broth flavours such as Suki-Yaki (or at least, that’s our personal take). You can include other seafood as well, such as clams, prawns, abalone or mussels ($7.28, available on The Seafood Company Official Store).
- Mushrooms: You should pick mushrooms based on the texture you like to chew on. For example, if you prefer a noodle-like texture you can go with the enoki ($0.70, available on GrocerKing Official Store) or if you want something thicker and with some flavour of its own, you can go for the shiitake. Other common mushrooms include button, straw (our personal favourite), and king oyster mushroom ($2, available on GrocerKing Official Store).
- Vegetables: Common hotpot vegetables include napa cabbages, baby bok choy, carrots, spinach, winter melon, and corn ($1.30, available on GrocerKing Official Store). These will be enough to get you started with a decent meal but if you want more variety of hotpot ingredients, you could include stronger flavours such as pumpkin ($4.60, available on GrocerKing Official Store) and taro.
- Pre-Cooked Seafood: Like most soupy Asian dishes, fish balls ($2.40, available on MingFa Fishball Official Store) and other pre-cooked seafood are a regular feature in hotpot. Fish balls with fish roe and cheese tofu ($2.35, available on BoBo Fishball Official Store) are popular hotpot ingredients that are worth a try! Still unsure of which one to choose for your hotpot at home? DoDo has a good selection of common fish cakes.
- Noodles: Noodles come in many shapes and sizes but only a few go well in a hotpot. Singaporeans tend to prefer instant noodles, glass noodles ($6.90, available on Hanguk Kitchen SG) and udon noodles ($7.80, available on Oriental Food & Services Official Store) to go with their soup and ingredients.
4. Sauces for the extra zing~!
The broth is enough to make the ingredients taste good but if you are looking for extra zing, you could try some of the common hotpot dipping sauces like chilli padi sauce ($18.80, available on Green Earth Organic SG Official Store) or roasted sesame sauce ($7.80, available on FirstShoppie). Make your hotpot experience at home more legit by creating your own sauces like how you usually do at restaurants! Here’s an easy dipping sauce recipe for you to perk up your hotpot at home. Simply top up your regular sesame sauce with some green onions, cilantro and sesame oil for a fragrant yet nutty taste. You can even chop up some chili padi into the sauce to spice it up!
5. Let’s not forget the drinks!
No hotpot experience is complete without a good selection of drinks. All the heat is bound to get you sipping on a nice cold drink to cool down your taste buds. Love alcohol? Go for Asahi with the Japanese Suki-Yaki soup base or get a Taiwan beer ($69, available on S-Mart by Shopee Official Store) to soothe the spiciness of the mala broth. If you don’t fancy alcohol, opt for green tea or winter melon tea ($24.70, available on Food People Official Store) to cleanse your palate so you can have more appetite to continue feasting!
If you are looking for a quick and easy way to stock up on beverages for your hotpot at home, Shopee has a good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at attractive prices.
6. (Bonus): Quick, fuss-free hotpots for busy or lazy days
Don’t have the time to prepare all the ingredients for steamboat? Introducing the Instant Noodles of Hotpot: The Self-Heat Lazy Mala Hotpot ($13.99, available on ilove_eat). It comes with a heat pack and a few condiments to prepare your mini-hotpot within a matter of minutes! Take note this hotpot is just right for one person so order more if you have a bigger group!
Psst! We would still advise trying the actual thing for the unique flavours only a genuine hotpot can provide.
Ready to organise your own hotpot at home?
Don’t forget to invite your closest pals for your hotpot party. Having a hotpot at home can be intimate and lively depending on the who you’re dining with. Bonus points if you find someone who loves the same flavours as you do!
Armed with the above guide, it’s time to set forth and plan a hotpot gathering with your friends! Don’t live near a supermarket? Fret not, these meat delivery services and seafood vendors deliver fresh ingredients right to your doorstep! Alternatively, if you just can’t decide on the ingredients to buy for your hotpot at home, these steamboat delivery restaurants offer hotpot packages and platters for various group sizes and taste buds. Enjoy!
This article was updated on 11 September 2020. Additional research done by Justyn Toh.
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