Guo Jin Hotpot: MasterChef finalist opens “Home-style” old-school hotpot with handmade Prawn Paste

Do you remember the simplicity of a hotpot you enjoyed at a loved one’s home? Opened by 2018 MasterChef finalist Aaron Wong, Guo Jin Hotpot at Bukit Merah replicates just that.

Guo Jin Hotpot - Storefront

Serving “steamboat that you eat at your grandma’s house during reunion dinner”, the no-frills hotpot place offers a delectable spread of hand-sliced meats and handmade ingredients like housemade Prawn Paste and Minced Pork.

In case you didn’t know, the hotpot store isn’t Aaron’s first rodeo.

The ex-MasterChef is the master behind Singapore’s popular Mee Hoon Kway hawker chain Jiak Song, which has garnered loads of loyal fans islandwide. Located next to Guo Jin Hotpot, Aaron’s Legend Wanton Mee boasts fragrant slices of “EPIC char siew” only in the daytime! Wow, I wonder what his next venture will be. 

Guo Jin Hotpot - Pork Broth & Ingredients

Stepping away from modern Collagen, Mala, and Tomato broth soup bases and hot favourites such as Wagyu Beef or Kurobuta Pork, the store has a straightforward menu with 2 platters Guo Jin Platter A (S$39) and Guo Jin Platter B (S$57) that both feature a secret Pork Broth.

According to Aaron, the ingredients in both platters are identical and the sole difference lies in portioning. Of course, you can order a la carte from a range that includes premium Snow Crab Legs (S$4.50), signature Shabu Shabu (S$5.20) and ready-to-eat Drunken Prawns (S$8.80).

Guo Jin Hotpot - Hainanese White Chicken

If you’re lucky, your favourites may be one of Guo Jin Hotpot’s seasonal specials! Shhh, their May specials are White Hainanese Chicken (S$6.50) and White Pomfret (S$10).

I had my colleague Dean in tow and we tried Guo Jin Platter B that is enough for 3 pax. Sure enough, the colourful platter had a generous variety of leafy greens, succulent meats and hotpot staples that I was extremely eager to try (’cause the camera eats first).

Guo Jin Hotpot - Pork Broth & Ingredients

The best way to determine the quality of a steamboat? Its soup base. And the store’s only one did not disappoint. Rich and aromatic, the Pork Broth that has been simmering since morning was light on the palate and insanely addictive. I could drink it with a straw!

Despite Aaron’s multiple reminders that this old-school veggie was either a hit or miss, the seasonal Tang Oh (S$4.50) was earthy and not overpoweringly pungent like coriander. As for the meats, the Prawns (S$6.80) had a slight brininess with a firm bite while the savoury Minced Pork (S$5.20) had a delicate consistency yielded from hours of toil.

Guo Jin Hotpot - Shabu Shabu

My personal favourite would definitely be the Guo Jin Speciality Shabu Shabu. Unlike the thinly shaved shabu shabu that is commonly found in hotpot franchises, here, the well-marinated meat was thick and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Yums.

What’s a steamboat without condiments? The store also has a range of complementary sauces and toppings such as Seafood Chilli, Vinegar, Coriander and Garlic. They also have Housemade Chilli that is comparable to Thai chilli with its citrusy tang!

Curious to know more, I asked Aaron what the most important ingredient in his Pork Broth is. His reply: bones and time.

With the brevity of a lifetime, I will do anything to experience the carefree days as a child when I celebrated Chinese New Year with my family. Can Guo Jin Hotpot deliver the same comfort for you?

P.S. The store is pet-friendly too. BRB, I’m bringing my dog over.

11 best hot pot & electric steamboats for CNY at home

Price: $ $

Guo Jin Hotpot

1002 Jalan Bukit Merah, Maddox Canteen Bar, #01-3752, Singapore 159456


Guo Jin Hotpot

1002 Jalan Bukit Merah, Maddox Canteen Bar, #01-3752, Singapore 159456

Telephone: +65 8399 1390
Operating Hours: 5pm - 10pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon
Telephone: +65 8399 1390

Operating Hours: 5pm - 10pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon