Last Updated: May 4, 2017
Conveniently located within NEX shopping mall in Serangoon, Charcoal Thai serves a very unusual kind of steamboat: the King Durian Steamboat.
While the exterior of this unpretentious Thai restaurant does not seem very different from its neighbours, you can identify this place from the two flat screen televisions mounted outside the restaurant, displaying mouth-watering photos of what’s in store for customers.
The mookata restaurant (Thai BBQ and steamboat) boasts a well-ventilated and spacious interior. When asked about the inspiration behind creating the King Durian Steamboat, the store manager explained that the idea came from durian juices that are sold in Thailand.
Charcoal Thai uses good quality XO durians in the steamboats, which really maximises the flavours.
The king of fruits is known to have various health benefits such as improving cardiovascular health, reducing risks of constipation and lowering cholesterol.
I love having steamboats and durians, so the idea of mixing both of them into one dish is actually quite genius.
Priced at $19.95, this King Durian Steamboat comes with free chicken soup refills and a sprinkle of goji berries and sweet dates.
While it looked intimidating at first glance, I took a spoonful of the soup and surprisingly, the sweetness of the chicken soup complements the flavour of the XO durians, which are known to be slightly bitter with soft, fleshy meat.
The Durian Steamboat wouldn’t really be filling by itself, so we decided to order some additional ingredients that range from $1.95 per plate for vegetables to $6.95 for prawns and meat items. Although the portions seem to be on the smaller side, the prices are really affordable and it’s quite a good option for light eaters like myself.
There are three different kinds of sauces for you to dip in; (from left to right) sesame, sweet chilli sauce and chopped chilli with fish sauce and lime juice.
Towards the end of the meal, the durian pieces fully “melted” and turned the broth into the texture of an egg drop soup, with sweetness coming from the corn and the prawns. Yet it does not lose its signature durian flavour.
Unlike other durian-centric dishes, this one certainly does not leave a sharp pungent aftertaste in your mouth. The creative addition of a daring ingredient into a local family favourite definitely makes this place stand out a lot more than other places that serve Thai steamboat.
Although Mao Shan Wang is is not everyone’s favourite, this steamboat is quite worthy of a try for fellow durian lovers. If NEX is not near your hood, the Durian Steamboat is also available in Charcoal Thai’s outlets in Vivocity and Clementi Central.