Hai Di Lao Steamboat Restaurant (海底捞火锅)
Address: 3D River Valley Road, Clarke Quay, #02-04
Opening hours: 10.30am to 3.00am daily
Reservation hotline: 63378626
Everyone is probably familiar with the name Hai Di Lao by now. It’s a steamboat restaurant originated from China and they are famous for two things – The quality of their food and their service. Hai Di Lao first opened their door in 1994 and so far has expanded to 72 restaurants in China and they opened their first branch in Singapore in 2012.
I visited their Clarke Quay branch, which is at level two and it’s accessible by a lift. Upon coming out from the lift, i was guided by the staff to occupy a table at the waiting area while I wait for a table in the restaurant. Drinks like Winter melon tea and Herbal tea were served together with snacks like dried banana and pop corn and all served items are refillable.
There’s also a playground area to keep your little ones entertained during the wait. They even allocated a staff to be stationed at the play ground to watch over the kids. Hai Di Lao also provide complimentary manicure for their customers however note that there is only one manicurist so probably she can only serve up to two customers at one time. Hai Di Lao Menu
After searching high and low for a menu with indicated price, I still failed so I thought I will share these information here. The ordering is done through ONE ipad, which it find it laborious especially if there is a big group. Seems like sometimes the traditional paper and pencil work better.
The price that you are looking at is for one portion. Also note that there is half portion available (except for the soup base) and likely it’s good enough if there are only two diners. All of my orders are half portion except for the Kurobuta Shabu Shabu Pork. It’s no surprise that the price of their dishes are more pricey, for example $8.00 for one portion of luncheon meat, $10.00 for a portion of fried bean curd skin and $16.00 for a plate of Kurobuta Shabu Shabu Pork.
The Food Experience
I ordered their Tomato and Chicken Soup as the base and it cost $22.00, so needless to say, it will be more economical if you visit in four instead of two. Unlike most steamboat restaurant, Hai Di Lao’s soup base is already fully flavoured. If you like tomato stuff, I can assure you that you will love their tomato soup base.
This tomato soup is thick, very rich in tomato taste and only slightly sweet. On the other hand, the chicken soup is lighter in flavour with a slight herbal taste. Towards the end whereby the tomato soup became too thick, i mix the two soup bases and it’s perfect.
I also like to highlight on their condiment counter. Note that you have to pay $4.00 for it but I think it’s quite worth the money. Apart from the thirty kinds of sauce, this $4.00 also includes free flow of fruits like water melon and honey dew, there’s also Lao Ban Style Bean Curd Dessert which i like it very much.
Part of the fun in having Hai Di Lao is to come out with the perfect concoction of sauces using the different kinds of condiments and this is my favourite blend of the day – one portion of beef sauce, soy bean sauce, coriander and half portion of garlic and spring onion, drizzle with sesame sauce. I almost can gobble this down like a bowl of rice.
These are some of the condiments available: Thai Chilli, Chilli Oil, Crushed Peanut, Sesame Oil, Crispy Soy Beans, Special Chilli Sauce, Soy Bean Sauce, Minced Beef, Sesame Sauce, Seafood Sauce, Mushroom Sauce, BBQ Sauce, Korean Style Chilli Sauce, Beef Sauce, Chinese Chives Sauce, Fermented Bean Curd Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Chopped Garlic, Preserved Pickles, Coriander, Chopped Celery, Chives, Vinegar, Dark Soy Sauce, Pepper and many more.
As for the items that I ordered, my favourites are the Kurobuta Sliced Pork and the Fried Bean Curd Skin as i thought they taste the best when paired with a good soup base.
The beef ball (潵尿牛丸) is actually disappointing, with two of them having no fillings at all, and i thought the filling is not a big deal. Give me a Xiao Long Bao, or Sukiya’s Chicken Cheese Ball anytime.
This time round, i am not going to write about each and every dishes but instead will give a final verdict to the question “Is Hai Di Lao worth the money?”.
I am going to sing praises about their soup base. Judging on just the tomato and chicken soup base, I have to agree that it’s really good and one of the best that i had. The service is very prompt with almost zero delay in every requests. The place is well decorated and it’s definitely a good place to bring your parents or loved one for celebration on special occasions. To a certain extend, Hai Di Lao is even considered as a trophy steamboat restaurant to bring someone for a treat due to it’s high price.
If you are someone who don’t appreciate junk food (or simply processed food) and you are willing to pay more for good service, Hai Di Lao is the place for you. Most of their items are made from fresh ingredients, including their beef ball and prawn ball, that are made mainly from real beef and prawn.
No doubt Hai Di Lao’s selling points are for their quality ingredients and great service, personally, I do not see a compelling reason to visit Hai Di Lao on a casual basis. I would say Hai Di Lao is the place that i will bring my loved one for a pampering treat. I get satisfaction not from premium ingredients but from ordinary steamboat ingredients like Luncheon Meat, Cheese Tofu, Golden Mushroom, Fried Bean Curd Skin or a normal NTUC sliced pork collar.
Ultimately for a steamboat meal, price is a main consideration for me, regardless of how good the food is. However, if you ask me should anyone try Hai Di Lao for at least once, i can’t find any good reason to say “no”.
My damage for a meal for two
Soup base $22.00, Golden Mushroom $3.50, Dang Oo $3.00, Fried Bean Curd Skin $5.00, Beef Ball $7.00, Handmade Shrimp Ball $8.00, Crispy Fish Skin $4.00, Sliced Cod Fish $7.00, Kurobuta Pork $16.00, 02 x Condiments Bar $8.00, 01 x Beverage Free-flow $3.00.
Before Tax $89.50 and After Tax $105.34