The recent bout of torrential rain in Singapore means it’s sweater weather and a good excuse to warm up with a hearty hot pot meal.
If you’re in the Chinatown vicinity, Guo Fu Steamboat is the place to warm your belly and heart with an assortment of broths that aren’t only tasty but beneficial to your health too. The boss, Neo, told us that some flavours are specially concocted in consultation with a Chinese medicine practitioner, who is one of his regular customers.
The interior of the restaurant follows a simple oriental style, reflecting a menu that is heavily influenced by Northeast China.
You can choose from up to 10 broths, and since the Northeastern region of China is nearer to Korea, don’t be surprised to find Kimchi Soup as one of the options. Other unique soups include the Male Vitality Soup, Beauty Soup, and Curry Beef Soup.
We opted for the A la Carte Hotpot Buffet ($23.90++ for Lunch / $25.90++ for Dinner / $27.90++ for Weekend Dinner) and soups are at an additional cost ranging from $3 to $7. You can choose to have an individual small pot to yourself or opt for a larger pot to share with a friend.
Simply place your orders by stating the number of portions you’d like to have directly on the menu.
In no time, our table was packed with plates of sliced pork, beef, fish, pig liver, fresh seafood, and vegetables all lined up neatly, waiting to be thrown into our pots.
But, before you gobble down all the food, have a look at the menu again — there’s xiao long bao (XLB) included, which means free-flow XLB throughout your meal! Honestly, this was quite the highlight of our visit.
Plump and juicy, the soup concealed within was naturally sweet and the skin was just the right thickness; definitely better than those you’ll find at the regular restaurant chains. Go on and order a basket or two to have before the feasting begins.
While your hot pot bubbles away, head over to the condiment station to concoct a sauce according to your preference. The seafood pastes (spicy and non spicy) are specially homemade to complement the beef slices.
We opted for individual pots, and while the Spicy Soup ($3) may look intimidating at first with its dark, fiery hue, it had a strong herbal aftertaste and wasn’t as spicy and we thought it would be. If you’d like it spicier, just “call” for the friendly staff via the buttons near the table.
The Beauty Soup ($7) is rich in collagen, encompassing a broth made by boiling black chicken, cordyceps and other Chinese herbs. It was a light and tasty soup option if you’d like to retain the natural flavours of the ingredients.
The Sliced Pork and Sliced Beef came in generous portions, and were thinly sliced to soak up the flavour of the broth it was cooked in.
There’s even beef tripe and ox belly, which I reckon would go well with the heavier soup bases. Now that you know what Guo Fu Steamboat has to offer, it’s time you head down to try the different hot pot soup bases so that you can let us know which one you liked best.
Neo explained that they’ve been in the business for 11 years now, and they’ve experimented with both gas and electronic hot pots. Returning customers have requested to have these good ol’ metallic hot pots that are fuelled by gel fire starters, which apparently makes the soup tastier.
If you’re looking for a hot pot buffet that will not only fill you up but is nourishing at the same time, Guo Fu Steamboat will keep you coming back for its delicious broths that aren’t anything like the MSG laden ones out there. Plus, there’s free-flow xiao long bao…need I say more?
Expected damage: $23.90++ – $30++ per person