I love steamboats! Freshness, quality, clean comfortable environment are the few most important factors to me when it comes to rating a steamboat meal experience. What about you?
Recently-opened Hotpot Kingdom 鼎鼎香 at Marina Bay Sands encompass all of the above positive attributes, but prices are inevitably higher than those run-of-mill steamboat joints. So, the next question would be: Are you willing to pay?
It is definitely one of the more classy steamboat establishments in Singapore, along with Hai Di Lao 海底捞火锅 and Imperial Treasure, two of my favorites too. I can't help but compare.
At first glance, the tray of dipping sauces reminded me of Imperial Treasure, but condiments such as Ikan Billis Chilli and Dried Shrimp Chilli soon stood out with their distinct flavors. I especially like the Chilli with Garlic slices and Fried Garlic Bits.
For the Soup Bases, there is a good mix of spicy and non-spicy Asian flavors, with a total of 10 variety available: Spicy (Mala), Macanese Pork Bone, Pickled Vegetables with Fresh Fish, Bak Kut Teh ($15 each) and Beef Consomme, Pork Tripe with Pepper, La-La Seafood, Korean Kimchi, Herbal Chicken, Chicken ($25 each).
The ala-carte hotpot menu offers a usual selection of Live Seafood (Prawns $9/100g and onwards for Lobster, Geoduck Clams, Garoupa etc), Handmade Meatballs ($12-$16 per 6/8pcs platter), Sides such as Wantons, Dumplings ($6-$12) Vegetables ($4-$15), Noodles & Handmade Noodles ($5-$12).
An order of Sliced Chicken is at $10, Lamb at $14, while the more premium sliced meats such as Kurobuta Pork Belly starts at $14 per portion, and goes up to $32/100g for USA Black Angus, $35/100g for Japanese Wagyu Ribeye and $75/100g for Japanese Wagyu Striploin.
As I have a tendency to over-order, I thought it's better to stick to the Hotpot Premium Set Menu B ($49.80++ per person) so that our eyes don't pop in surprise when the bill comes.
Another advantage of ordering the set: We have a choice of 2 Soup Bases, and get to try a bit each of the more popular items, making it a balanced combination of Premium Meat (sliced Japanese Wagyu Beef & Kurobuta pork), Seafood Platter (lobster, prawns, cuttlefish, garoupa & scallops), Three Treasure Ball Platter (handmade prawn, cuttlefish, pork & daced fish balls), Mixed Seasonal Vegetables & Variety of Mushrooms, Noodles and Dessert.
Our choice of Macanese pork bone and spicy mala broth were decidedly good. Though not spectacular at initial taste, but it slowly gained traction as we progressed into the meal with the sweetness of added ingredients.
I prefer my meat sliced rather than made into balls, so while the handmade balls were enjoyable, they were not exactly memorable. My favorites were the seafood (ooh so fresh with fantastic succulent mouthfeel), slices of pork belly (ooh so lusciously fat and tender), and instant noodles (ooh so SHIOK in the spicy broth)!
We rounded up with our choice of dessert, a very pleasant and refreshing Cream of Mango, Sago & Pomelo.
It was rather quiet when we visited on a weekday evening, with just a few tables filled in the main dining hall, and the private rooms seemed unoccupied. Service was relatively efficient.
The dining experience at Hotpot Kingdom was a good one, certainly worth the visit but I would not rank it as number one on my steamboat personal preference list. It lacked the pampering top-notch service and convivial atmosphere that Hai Di Lao radiates, Imperial Treasure's set menu's pricing falls within similar range but is comparatively a tad more substantial in portions.
Perhaps you'd like to give Hotpot Kingdom a try and let me know what you think :)
Hotpot Kingdom 鼎鼎香
Address: 2 Bayfront Avenue, #B1-01B, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018972
Contact: +65 6688 7722
Opening Hours (Daily)
11am - 2.30pm Hotpot & Dim Sum & Tzu Char (火锅，煮炒和点心)
2.30pm - 5pm Dim Sum (点心)
5pm - 11pm Hotpot & Tzu Char (火锅和煮炒)