Last Updated: September 10, 2019
Every once in a while, when a group of friends get together, the question of “What to eat?” pops up.
Having that problem right now? Don’t worry! Introducing Friends Hotpot 老友火锅, located in the heart of Upper Thomson. This is a spot not to be missed.
Friends Hotpot 老友火锅’s dining area has a constant flow of fresh air throughout its space, which ensures that diners get to enjoy their hotpot meal and leave without smelling like hot fumes and essence of broth.
I was introduced to the Buffet menu. The price point varies depending on the day you visit. From Mondays to Thursdays, it’s S$23.90++ for adults, while children need only to pay S$12.90++. From Fridays to Sundays and public holidays, however, adults have to fork out S$25.90++, and children will need to pay S$14.90++.
It offers a variety without a doubt, ranging from beef rolls to pork meatballs. They also offered an a la carte option in addition to the Buffet, which had a wider selection of ingredients, including my favourite, Beancurd Skin Roll (S$4).
Unsure of what it looks like? Beancurd skin roll is a must-have when it comes to hotpot. So I was disappointed that it’s not included in the buffet menu.
The a la carte menu showcased a plethora of hotpot ingredients, including Wagyu beef and abalone and many more. I was ecstatic to order the Wagyu beef, but to our dismay, it had already sold out! It just goes to show how popular this menu item is.
Nevertheless, I proceeded to browse the rest of the a la carte menu. If you are not a picky eater like me, the Buffet menu is definitely worth every penny!
I proceeded with normal US beef slices (S$12.90), which did not disappoint. Even though it did not possess the quality of Wagyu beef, it still managed to satisfy. I was impressed by how tender it is; every slice melted in my mouth like butter.
Meatballs, in my opinion, are a necessity for a hotpot. I ordered a combination of Mushroom And Pork Meatballs (S$9.90), and I have to say, that was the best ingredient at the table yet. Although it was only made up of humble ingredients like pork and meat, it packed so much flavour and was absolutely mouth-watering.
As a huge fan of mushrooms, I had to get the Mushroom Platter (S$12.90). Needless to say, I was a very happy diner, being able to get a healthy amount of assorted mushrooms into the hotpot.
Another common ingredient one orders for hotpot is noodles. Unlike the conventional instant noodles, Friends Hotpot 老友火锅 offers an alternative for you. 刀削面 (S$4), also known as knife-cut noodles, is a popular dish in China, especially in the Shanxi province.
This noodle, as it turns out, is significant to the boss. That is because the boss, Fiona, is actually from the Shanxi province of China.
It seems like I have introduced every single ingredient except for one of the most important ingredients—the hotpot base! For my dining experience, I ordered the Yuan Yang Hotpot (S$18.90), which is a combination of two different soup bases. I chose the Mala soup base along with another unique soup base, Pork Belly Chicken Soup.
Why do I say it’s unique? Most hotpot shops only serve a pork bone soup base, or a chicken soup base.
This is an overview of what I ordered. Although it seems like a lot, it was easily demolished by three hungry adults.
Another dish that is popular in store is a meat platter served in a beautiful Barbie plate. Featured is a platter of Pork Slices (S$11.90). Here’s a catch, if you have three or more customers indulging in the Buffet menu, and you like and share their Facebook page, you’ll get this pork platter on the house!
Of course, we had to end off our hotpot meal with a sweet treat—Fried buns With Condensed milk (S$5). This is another well-known dish in China as a dessert. I adored this dessert as it was not too heavy as a finishing touch to our delectable hotpot meal.
If you are heading over to Friends Hotpot 老友火锅 some time soon, they are having a promotional Summer drink (S$2.50). On the left is Pink Lychee, and Fresh Lime on the right.
Another drink included in the promotion is Green Apple, which is my favourite!
It was such a hearty meal, and I felt like I made new friends through this hotpot experience. It was definitely an enlightening conversation with Fiona. I could sense her passion for food through our talk.
According to Fiona, Friends Hotpot opened on 8 December 2018, with the aid of one of her friends. “I was tired of doing my job in HR, so I decided to open up a hotpot shop,” she elaborated. Fiona was a lovely person; she was really friendly and engaging and on a side note, I was so glad to be able to keep up with her in Mandarin. Shout out to my Chinese teachers!
I was curious as to how her hotpot restaurant sets itself apart. “Many hotpot shops these days have their soup bases pre-packaged. Unlike them, we make every single stock in-house. From the basic tomato base stock, to the complex mala stock. I want to retain the authenticity of hotpot, and give customers a more unique experience”, Fiona happily explained.
Having grown up in Shanxi, Fiona definitely has her Chinese cuisine nailed. She brought Shanxi influence to her hotpot dishes, which uses ingredients like red dates, Goji berries, and herbs like dang gui.
Even though herbs are used, she ensures that the broth doesn’t exude too potent a herbal note, as it may sit well with diners’ preferences.
Friends Hotpot 老友火锅 certainly shines a new light on hotpot experience for me. I was impressed with both the quality and the quantity of the ingredients. The cordial servers also made the entire encounter a memorable one.
I would highly recommend you to check out Friends Hotpot 老友火锅 if you have not! For all you know, you may make new friends there as well.
Expected Damage: S$28 – S$35 per pax
Price: $ $
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Friends Hotpot 老友火锅
244R Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574369
244R Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574369