The warmth you feel when digging into a steamboat comes from more than just the piping-hot soup; it is the intimacy of the occasion when dining with good company (you rarely see people going solo when it comes to eating steamboat). There’s never really a fixed occasion and method for a steamboat – such is its affordability and accessibility. Grab a couple of hungry mates and head down to any of the following steamboat places where you can get a hug in a pot.

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Tian Fu Steamboat
Tian Fu Steamboat Spread

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One of the few steamboat houses serving it Hong Kong-styled, Tian Fu has established a huge following of loyal steamboaters since 2002. With a reputation for having a wide variety of ala carte ingredients, a no-frills steamboat experience, and its wicked tom yum soup base, Tian Fu is also one of the most affordable steamboat places, with a dinner buffet going at $20.12 on weekdays and $22.26 on weekends. No wonder patrons risk a parking summon just to dine there.

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214 Tanjong Katong Road, 437007. Tel: 6345 9272 / 90302202

Shabu Sai
Shabu Sai Steamboat

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It is hard to come by a Shabu Sai outlet and not see a steady stream of customers around the entrance. This authentic Japanese hotpot restaurant specialises in all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu and sukiyaki buffet. A trusty place to satisfy a meat-centric steamboat craving, Shabu Sai’s meat choices include premium wagyu beef for those seeking a slightly fancier experience. Go for the usual soup favourites of sukiyaki and tonkotsu, but look out for their monthly soup bases as well (the Shiitake and Truffle Soup ends this month. Go for it!).

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181 Orchard Road, #08-09/10/11, Orchard Central, Orchard Central, 238896. Tel: 6884 6760

Hai Di Lao

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You’ll have everything to love at Hai Di Lao—the authentic Sichuan hotpot experience, impeccable service, and pre- and post-meal facilities (manicured nails make for a more vibrant table). The popular chain from China takes care of your every whim and fancy, sticking to their “One Pot, Endless Smiles” policy. Don your aprons as you dive right into the square-shaped hotpots and raid their extensive condiments bar. Try different soup bases with the split pot option, with the popular choices being Mala and Tomato. Make sure you order the delectable frozen tofu (goes especially well with mala soup) and handmade noodle, where you are treated to a live noodle-twirling show.

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3 River Valley Rd, Clarke Quay, 179023. Tel: 6337 8627

COCA Restaurant

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Can’t make a decision between Thai and Chinese hotpots? COCA solves this dilemma by combining both in one pot, blending ingredients from both cuisines. The restaurant is also a pioneer of many things, and is credited for sparking the suki-style of cooking hotpot in Thailand. COCA also created the original fish glue, now a staple of the steamboat table, and their insanely piquant signature dip that goes well with almost anything. The perfect steamboat restaurant for a homely, cosy meal.

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26 Sentosa Gateway, 01-215/216 Resorts World Sentosa, 098138. Tel: 6659 2133

Miss Lok

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There is a revival of lok lok steamboats in recent times, which is a hotpot of various ingredients on skewers akin to Japanese oden. At the forefront is Miss Lok, a funky noodle bar and lok lok steamboat restaurant all in one. Cram your table with the many lok lok sticks, and create your own dips from the open sauce bar while sipping an Asian craft beer. Throw in some tasty side dishes like quail eggs and fish cake, which come with signature dips like salted egg yolk and Thai nam tom. After all, “Miss Lok loves you dip dip”, and we are definitely feeling the love.

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5 Magazine Road, #01-01, 059571. Tel: 6604 8814

Tsukada Nojo

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Who knew that beauty and steamboat can go hand-in-hand? Thanks to Tsukada Nojo, which hails from Kyushu, the famous Bijin Nabe, or ‘beauty in a pot’, sees that you can have beautiful skin, good health and a happy tummy all at once. The signature stock is made by painstakingly stewing chicken bones for eight hours before they’re turned into a smooth, silky collagen-packed pudding. A taste of this rich, nourishing broth simmered with the finest local produce makes it an unforgettable steamboat.

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133 New Bridge Rd, #02-37 Chinatown Point, ChinaTown Point, 059414. Tel: 6444 8840

Tom Yum KungfuTom Yum Kung Fu Steam Boat

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With the incessant Thai pop playing in the background and an offbeat interior, Tom Yum Kungfu is a quirky place to indulge in a steamboat. Arriving at your table as a towering, elevated pot and grill, their steamboat set looks as impressive as it tastes, consisting of pineapple chicken chops, scallops, Thai mama noodles and their specialty pork belly cheese rolls.

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2 Maju Ave, 556680. Tel: 65361646 / 62850345

Ah, now look what we’ve done. We even made ourselves hungry while writing this! Well, you know the places and you know what they have to offer. It is about time you dig into some piping hot steamboat fare!

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