Located at a quieter end of Orchard, Hua Ting Steamboat which sits within Claymore Connect, brings hotpot-devotees superb lunch deals that are completely worth it. Diners can prepare to dig in to hassle-free and delicious mini pots made up of scrumptious broths and freshly-picked, quality ingredients.
For those pressed for time, Hua Ting Steamboat offers Casserole Hotpots which are self-contained casserole hotpots that offer the same tastes and experience as a regular hotpot but with a more down-sized, specialized sort of pre-cooked hotpot set lunch. This allows busy office workers to enjoy hotpots with extreme ease.
Hua Ting Steamboat has a rather straightforward get-up – comfortably-cushioned seats and polished, sturdy tables with at least one hot pot cooker. There is more than enough space for you to snugly settle in and enjoy a meal with your friends, colleagues or family. On top of its 60-persons seating capacity, Hua Ting also has two private rooms for those looking to host small get-togethers with business associates or family.
Being a restaurant that prides itself for its fresh live seafood, Hua Ting Steamboat definitely knows how to showcase what is has to offer. Sitting boldly in one corner of the restaurants is a sizable tank filled with different sea creatures like prawns, lobsters and sea perch that seem to morbidly await their imminent deaths.
Right next to the fish tank is an impressive selection of sauces and toppings. Before devouring your hotpot meal, you can come to this colourful station and handpick sauces like soy sauce, sambal chili and mix them in with toppings like crushed peanuts and sesame seeds. The options to entice your taste buds are rather extensive so go crazy.
The first hotpot we indulged in was the Stir-Fried Garoupa with Chef’s Homemade Sauce ($18.90), one of the fantastic “Fragrant Pots 香锅” that Hua Ting serves at lunchtime. This ready-to-eat mini pot of beautifully-sauced up, chewy-skinned fish is sublime and the fact that it comes with a generous serving of rice and add-on ingredients makes it all the more worth it.
While this fragrant pot is usually served with Sea Perch, we had the opportunity to try it with Garoupa which is likewise soft and delicious. Ingredients like spring onions and black fungus are tossed into the mix together with the fish which serves to intensify the flavours of the dish.
This dish came with a generous add-on of ingredients like kway teow, handmade meatballs, glass noodles, golden mushrooms and tofu. There was a sufficient amount of greens to keep us from feeling too indulgent too. For a mere $18.90, I thought this dish was completely worth it and while the stir-fried fish had been cooked beforehand, we could still experience, to some extent, the true blue steamboat affair.
After most of us had devoured the stir-fried garoupa, the friendly waiter serving us came forward and masterfully hurled the remaining ingredients into the hotpot still laden with the chef’s scrumptious homemade sauce and within minutes, prepared a pot full of tasty kway teow. I was very impressed by how none of the ingredients wasted and a completely new and likewise delicious dish was prepared so readily for us.
The next “Fragrant Pot 香锅” we tried was the Tender Chicken with Ginger and Spring Onion ($13.90) which was one of my favourite dishes of the day. When had by itself, one can taste how the chunks of chicken are packed with robust herbal flavours and the taste of ginger comes through quite strongly. I loved how the chicken was slightly spicy too.
After the delicious chicken-based broth had been added to the hotpot, I happily dug into the meal and left all my woes with the wind. Just like the Stir-Fried Garoupa with Homemade Sauce, this hotpot also comes with add-on ingredients like handmade meatballs, mushrooms and lotus. Worth it, no?
Much like how a new dish was whipped up with the Stir-fried Garoupa, the waiter full of his enchantment and brilliant new-dish-creating skills, came with a good serving of crispy rice and cooked a delicious portion of porridge with the remaining broth from the Tender Chicken dish.
The porridge dish was both innovative and highly-appetizing so while I was stuffed, I had no complaints at all as I slurped up the porridge. Filled with crispy rice bits and coupled with the warm broth, this dish left me fully satisfied.
Next, we tried one of Hua Ting’s “Chef Creation Steamboats” – Superior Fish Soup with Winter Melon and Conopy 玉环瑶柱鱼汤锅 ($34). I found this rather fascinating mostly because as the soup simmers over the course of the meal, it becomes sweeter and more flavourful, without having to add more ingredients to it.
At the end of the meal, a server will come to chop up the winter melon and mix it in with the soup within, allowing us to savour the softened and rather refreshing melon. The superior fish soup within the insides of the melon have ingredients like wolfberries, conopy shreds (dried scallop) and Tianjin cabbage that pair nicely with the added meats.
There were several classic meats that we tried, mainly the U.S. Korobuta Pork 1/2 ($6), Fresh Sliced Chicken 1/2 ($5) and Sliced Carp Fish 1/2 ($6). There was nothing too exciting about the meats, the pork was tender and nice when cooked, the chicken succulent and a little chewy and the fish soft and tasty.
One particular thing about Hua Ting which I found to be rather interesting was the fact that their handmade balls, as innocuous as they looked, were fully stuffed with exotic-sounding ingredients.
They have Fresh Shrimp Paste Ball Stuffed with Minced Pork and Chinese Rice Wine 1/2 ($8), Fresh Scallop Ball Stuffed with Goose Liver Paté 1/2 ($12), Minced Pork Meatball with Water Chestnut 1/2 ($7), Dace Fish Paste Ball with Preserved Tangerine Peel 1/2 ($7) and good ol meatball stuffed with cheese. It is a real mouthful ain’t it?
The two meatballs I liked were the Fresh Shrimp Paste Ball Stuffed with Minced Pork and Chinese Rice Wine as the chinese rice wine really packed a punch with the flavours in the shrimp paste ball and the water chestnut filling was very refreshing and it helped in balancing out the textures of the thick pork meatball.
Lastly, we tried one of Hua Ting’s Live Seafood selections – the Live Prawns ($8). The six skewered prawns were still wriggling about and in spite of the beautiful get-up, my squeamish self could not fully appreciate this dish. Irregardless, when cooked, the prawns turned a lovely rosy pink and the meat was sweet and tender. And as an added bonus, the helpful servers helped to de-shell the prawns which worked nicely for me.
To end things off on a sweet note, we tried a few of Hua Ting’s desserts. First off, we had the Chilled Cream of Dragon Fruit with Passion Fruit and Lychee ($6) and the Chilled Cream of Purple Sweet Potatoes with ‘Xiao Wan Zi’ (mini mochi) ($6). I preferred the Dragon Fruit (the more vibrant of the two) mostly because it had a fresher, more zesty taste to it while the former, while still delightfully sweet and nice, was heavier and made me feel fuller than full.
And to draw our meal to a lovely close, we had Hua Ting’s Red Bean Tofu Pudding ($12) which was very refreshing what with the glassy, sweetened chunks of grass jelly and the big red beans coming together to form a nice, candied blend.
I enjoyed my meal at Hua Ting Steamboat because while I am not a huge fan of steamboats and hotpots, I delighted myself in the fact that Hua Ting knew how to add cool new twists to their self-contained casserole hotpots. I was very satisfied came the time to leave the place.
Expected Damage: $25 – $40 per pax