This is one of our default family dinner places, because one of my aunts is friends with the owner. We had an extended family dinner here on Saturday night, in appreciation of family and friends who rallied round and provided amazing support when my paternal grandfather passed away last Friday after 94 long years. As a short tribute to a wonderful man, he'll be missed by many, but at the same time I'm grateful that until a couple of days before he left us, he was nothing less than completely healthy and independent, because he wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
If you like steamboat, this is the place for you. It may not be the cheapest, but it’s an a la carte buffet with really good quality ingredients, and a wide variety of them too. The luncheon meat there is superb, as is the belly pork. They also have very good side dishes like beef tendon, gyozas, spring rolls and xiao long baos, for those that are too impatient to wait for the soup to heat up to cook the food.
You get a choice of soups – traditional chicken, chicken and preserved vegetable, and Szechuan mala. Usually at family dinners we just have the chicken, but at an extended family dinner today, we had half and half of the chicken and mala. While I’m all for spicy food, now I realise why we usually just go with the chicken soup. The food tastes much better and much cleaner when it’s cooked in the chicken soup. The mala just messes with it a little, and with such good ingredients it’s a shame to mask their natural sweetness and taste with the mala soup.
The desserts here rock as well. There’s a lot to choose from – ice cream, fruit cocktail, fried niangao with icing sugar, water chestnut cake, and arguably the best, fried mantou with a condensed milk dipping sauce.
Unfortunately, A’s never been a steamboat fan, and this place hasn’t changed his mind (although why he can eat shabu-shabu, and not steamboat, is beyond me. Atas!!!...). So I can pretty much with certainty that we won’t be coming here on our own, and I have to rely on more family dinners to come back here and pig out.
The food’s okay but not really my thing. I do like the sauces they give though. And the desserts are great.
The Magic of Chongqing Hot Pot
19 Tanglin Road
#04-06/07 Tanglin Shopping Centre
Open daily: Noon to 3 pm; 6 pm – 11 pm