Steamboat a class above the rest.
Nothing warms the soul better than a good session of steamboat, complete with a good bunch of people to chit chat with. Just thinking of all the bubbling ingredients makes me crave for one now, with an egg and some prawn heads of course. But what really grinds my gear is how starchy certain ingredients can be and how inconvenient a communal pot can be.
At Fu Lin Men Dou La, you’ll never have to worry about that. Nestled in the Central Business District on 16 North Canal Road, Fu Lin Men Dou La is the classiest steamboat joint ever. With a slick interior that mimics a three tier painting, with the first level being more earthy, second portraying a floral impression and the third a mountainous surrounding.
Clean, white and spacious, Fu Lin Men Dou La definitely exudes refined elegance from within and that’s very in line with the quality of food they serve. Simon, the co founder, explained how Fu Lin Men Dou La’s concept was conceived.
The other co founder, an orthopaedic specialist and senior researcher, Professor Zhang Ming, that is the head of two hospitals back in Mainland China, was extremely appalled at how heavily dosed with MSG our local steamboats were when he was on his medical symposiums.
Together with Simon, he wanted to introduce quality ingredients that are best brought out by a light and healthy broth, hence birth of the collagen rich broth that is highly recommended here.
With over seven private rooms, Fu Lin Men Dou La is definitely a chic and healthy joint for a comforting steamboat meal. In the mainland, Dou La is a notch higher than the usual steamboat, with it being healthier at the same time.
They offer five different kinds of soup with each representing the wood, water, fire and earth element. Ladies listen up, here’s some good news for you. The clear and light broth is made up of whole chicken, duck and oxtail, which is extremely nutritious and rich in collagen.
Rather than having the robust and spicy mala broth, which masks all the flavours of the ingredients, this clear broth acts as a complement to the fresh seafood, locking in the essence. Most of the Dou La ingredients here comprises of seafood and premium beef, highlighting the quality of their joint as opposed to other steamboat stalls.
In addition to the line of healthy eating, Fu Lin Men Dou La doesn’t add in anti-bubbles chemicals into the broth, which causes effervescence in the broth after awhile. Though it might not be the prettiest to look at but I’d rather that than having to kill my body slowly with chemicals unknowingly.
Fret not anyway for their friendly service staff is always on the ball, filtering away the bubbles whenever they start to appear.
Fu Lin Men Dou La wants to promote eating and drinking at the same time so they stock a good variety of wine, beers and other spirits, do ask in store for recommendations. Simply top up two dollars for unlimited access to all their starters and combination of sauces, which I highly recommend because they spicy sesame sauce is amazing and I’m in love with their preserved vegetables.
Fu Lin Men Dou La’s consultant chef is masterchef Nian, who has won the Man Han Quan Xi competition twice. I’ve had the honour to meet him in person and he has absolutely no airs, very dedicated and friendly. All of the ingredients here are handmade and curated by masterchef Nian himself.
六六大顺滑丸(全家福丸滑) Family Bliss Freshly Handcrafted Dou Lao Meat Balls ($7). First up on the list was hand made balls and no, we are not looking at those starchy and bland prawn balls we get at usual steamboats. These chewy and tender balls are all finished by hand, with no machines involved, hence the texture.
Made sweet with the broth, each balls contain a secret filling and no, I’m not going to spoil the surprise, head on down and have the balls to know what they each have. Psst, they’re catered to locals’ tastes and preferences.
啤酒牛肉 Beer Marinated Marbled Beef ($28). The beautifully marbled slices of beef were served with a side of beer for the intention of tenderising the meat further, making it more deliquescing, more fragrant. When cooked in the sweet broth, it enhances the flavour while retaining the aroma of the beer. Do remember to not overcook the meat, if not it will spoil the entire experience.
极品海参鲍⻥花菇捞饭 Fortune Chalice ($38). A terribly comforting and hearty dish, this contains premium sea cucumber, abalone and mushroom with a handful of rice to match the sweetness of the broth. Extremely umami (savoury), I really liked how there are occasional bursts of extreme sweetness coming from the goji berries.
养生牛尾骨 Premier Oxtail ($10). This is the dish that you’ll want to be attacking if collagen is your thing as oxtail is especially rich in that department. Exceedingly tender and sweet when boiled, feast on it and age gracefully.
富贵乾坤袋 Fresh Beancurd Pockets with Fresh Seafood Paste ($10). The pockets are savoury and the fillings are tender and chewy. Have a sip of the broth as you eat it, you’ll probably feel a sense of bliss wash over you.
田园什锦蔬菜拼盘 Fresh Oriental Greens and Wild and Cultivated Mushrooms ($10). Order yourself a plate of greens that are fresh, adding that bit more nutritious value to your meal and of course work towards a healthier one.
金丝极品肥牛凤尾虾 Freshly Cultured Sea Prawns with Marbled Beef ($18). Because it’s the year of the Monkey, this dish comes with a clay figurine of a Monkey, that is absolutely adorable.
The prawns are fresh and this is further complemented by the light and nourishing broth that locks in the essence of the sea. Definitely dip it in the spicy sesame sauce, both flavours combine really well.
经典野生竹荪虾滑 Wild Bamboo Pith with Fresh Prawn Paste ($18). Auspiciously shaped, the prawn paste will start floating when thoroughly cooked. Immediately dish it out before it overcooks, this way, it will remain chewy and bouncy.
金目鲈 Live Sea Bass ($38). The fish served is based on first come first serve basis. Simmer it slightly in the broth and you’ll get sweet slices of fresh fish.
吉祥三宝(羊肚菌、松茸菌、猴头) Bountiful Blessings of Three Treasures ($28). These mushrooms are seasonal and extremely rich in antioxidant, having a handful of them is equivalent to a huge serving of all the berries you’ll have to take in for the same amount of antioxidants.
These mushrooms, namely morel, matsutake and lion’s mane mushrooms have varying textures, albeit crunchy and soft altogether. They’re seasonal so thank you lucky stars if you’ve got some of them in store.
刀削面 Handmade Knife Cut Noodles (complimentary). Masterchef Nian himself came into the room and sliced it for every single one of us. He told us how he prepared the flour base himself as he skilfully slices thin strips of noodle strips into our individual pots.
We tried our hands at it and we reiterated the point there’s a reason why we are not chefs. The noodles are chewy and bouncy, combining well with the broth, sending warmth straight to our happy little tummies.
菠萝菠萝蜜 House of Gold Pineapple Glutinous Rice ($9). Other than the unlimited servings of soy beancurd and mango pudding you get at the sides table when you’ve topped up two dollars, you can opt for the pineapple glutinous rice for dessert.
It is exceedingly aromatic, soft and viscous in texture, complete with sweet pieces of pineapple. It is a rather indulgent dessert, so I’d suggest leaving a larger than usual space in your stomach for these. But then again, desserts are always welcomed in a different compartment, aren’t they?
Fu Lin Men Dou La redefines steamboat with its nutritious broth and premium ingredients. I definitely did enjoy myself and I can safely say the same for my tummy. The soup base was exceptionally rich in flavour without being overly laden with MSG and the fresh seafood complements that. So yes, I’d recommend choosing Fu Lin Men Dou La if you’re in the mood for some steamboat.
Expected damage: $50 – $60 per pax