LongQing Hotpot: Hotpot MissinG The MSG That Will Have You Longing For More

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The hotpot culture has been such an integral part of Asian cuisine and this stays true in Singapore. With renowned hotpot restaurants commanding endless queues, it is difficult to argue against the passion that we have for this boiling contraption that cooks almost anything we choose to feed into it.

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Here at LongQing Hotpot, soups differ from many other restaurants as it does not use any MSG at all. The soups rely on hours, more than 10 to be exact, of slow-cooking to ensure flavourful broths derived solely from the herbs, bones and other condiments.

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Our personal recommendation would be the Mushroom and Mala Soups as these two were able to give us the best hotpot experience, which complemented all the ingredients perfectly. Soups are at $15 for a single base and $20 if you choose a mix of two soup bases.

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The mushroom soup is the restaurant’s signature broth and it’s not difficult to see why — the soup was fragrant with the premium mushrooms, codyceps, and other herbs that have been added in.

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Here at the restaurant, you are able to choose from hotpot sets starting from $55 for two pax, or order ala carte. We went for the ala carte so that we could try a greater variety of items from the menu. While waiting for our order, we had some fried fish skins ($2.80) to whet our appetite. The skins were crispy as they should be, you could put it in the soups to soak up the soupy goodness.

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We had quail eggs ($6.80), fish maw ($8.80) and crispy bean curd skins ($6.80) to kick start our feast. All three of these went brilliantly well with the mala soup as they absorbed all that spiciness.

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LongQing fuses familiar Singaporean flavours into its menu offering to. We tried the prawn paste and fish paste. The prawn paste had a bit of crab roe in it and that gave an added level of tang that will make you want more of it after your first bite.

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The Handmade Fish Paste ($12) was similar to the fishballs that we might find elsewhere, but only softer and fresher in taste. Fishball or fishcake fans will love this.

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We also tried some of the Handmade Pork Balls ($12) and Pork Cabbage Dumplings ($10). Both of these are made daily and had a pure and fresh taste to it. It was thoroughly enjoyable to have this homemade style dishes with the hotpot.

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What’s having hotpot without seafood. Prawns are a must-have for us, the Fresh Prawns ($14) were really fresh and had a nice crunch in their bite. A big recommendation as it adds a whole new dimension to the soup bases.

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LongQing serves Fish Slices ($15) but we had their fresh whole fish of the day (price by weight). The fish was sliced by the restaurant’s in-house Japanese chef and the skills put into the cut is evident. The slices were cut evenly and the fish was fillet from the bones perfectly.

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We added a crab to the soup as we felt that it could further intensify the taste of the soup bases. The crab was rather small, so do not expect much meat.

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We had two kinds of pork, the first being the Pork Belly ($12). This was very thinly sliced, hence cooked very quickly in the soups. The flavour of the meat wasn’t strong and is ideal for those who like a light tasting tang to their pork.

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Mangalitsa Pork Collar ($30). Once again as with the belly, this tasted really fresh and clean after cooking in the soup and it did not have any gamey hint to it. However I think it’s quite pricey for the portion.

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Beef is a must have for me when it comes to having hotpot and we tried the U.S. Short Rib ($22). This plate is really eye catching with its hand sliced strips of well-marbled beef. Taste-wise, the meat was tender and fresh but had a taste that was a little too light for our liking.

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We tried the Mushroom Platter ($11) too. This was served as a plate of a mixture of enoki, shitake and king oyster mushrooms. Drop these mushrooms in the mala broth to soak up all that spiciness in the soup.

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There are many kinds of vegetables offered here too. The vegetables are generally fresh and are definitely the best means to increase your fibre intake.

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For desserts, we had the Taro Ball ($7.80). This came deep fried with a crispy outer layer and had a nice sweet blend of sweet potato and yam inside. For those who like orh ni, this is a great rendition of your favourite yam paste dessert that you would want to end your meal with. However, you need to pre-order this beforehand.

Seth: I  liked that the mala wasn’t too oily and just overpowering as with many other spots. The soups are indeed spot-on.

The downside to LongQing was the value and meat portions; I think it’s a waste to use 150 day grain-fed Angus beef for shabu shabu.

When it’s so thinly sliced and cooked in the flavoured soup, the beef quality really doesn’t matter that much.

I’d rather for $20 they add quantity and reduce quality. Same goes with pork belly and the mangalitsa pork where 99% of diners won’t be able to differentiate the quality once it’s in such a form.

The restaurant is pretty shorthanded as well, so you’ll have to wait a little for service. LongQing hotpot has good potential but needs to properly balance quality with value better.

Expected damage: $35-50 per pax

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LongQing Hotpot: 18 Hong Kong Street Singapore 059661 | Tel: +65 6533 1618 | Facebook