Last Updated: November 7, 2016
Nan Hwa Fishboat has been satisfying the appetites of customers since 1927 at its original North Bridge road outlet. Since rebranding from Nan Hwa Chong (Ah Chew) Fish head steamboat, to simply Nan Hwa Fishboat, this old name offers the traditional steamboat – one of Singapore’s prized dining experiences. After a whooping 88 years of its single flagship store being at North Bridge Road, the second outlet has finally been established along Owen road.
Contrary to popular belief that restaurants which serve steamboat are hot, cramp and stuffy, Nan Hwa’s new outlet along Owen Road promises its customers a very comfortable setting with full-house air-conditioning. Cool yourself down as you prepare yourself for your piping hot meal!
Of course, for those who prefer to sweat it all out while digging in, outdoor seats are available for you crazy folks.
Claypot Drunken Rice Wine Clam ($15.80/$20.80)
We started our meal off with a bowl of hot, soupy clams. The broth was infused with rice wine which gave this dish a dash of sweetness. The clams were fresh and sweet and that went very well with the alcohol-based soup.
Claypot Prawn with Glass Noodle ($7.80/100g)
The prawn meat was chunky and fresh and the broth that accompanied it as its base was very flavourful. Move the prawns aside and slurpy-licious glass noodles await you from down under.
In spite of its rather frightening blazing exterior, this dish should be bearable to even those who cannot take spice. The sambal was very mild and not too spicy, while the sotong was just the right amount of chewy.
And now, for the real reason any patron dines at Nan Hwa Fishboat – The Live Dragon Grouper Fish Head Steamboat, a Nan Hwa speciality. The Live Dragon Grouper comes from a species of Tiger and Giant Grouper family and is farmed in an aquaculture recirculation system. The fish meat boasts a firmer texture and thicker skin as compared to its fish counterparts.
I could not keep myself from refilling my bowl multiple times over with the tasty, hot broth. The broth included other ingredients like seaweed and taros which gave it extra seasoning.
This traditional style steamboat also uses charcoal to fire up the soup, believed to give a mellow smokey flavour and better heat distribution.
Creamy texture as the luscious golden pumpkin sauce is drizzled all over the de-shelved prawns. This is easy to eat as you can just pop the entire piece (if you are greedy) into your mouth. This is pretty similar to the common salted egg sauce prawns visually wise, but taste wise this is a little sweeter. Slight spiciness due to the chili bits added, crunch on a piece of chili or two with your prawns for a more enhanced flavour. If you would.
Champagne Pork Ribs ($12.80/$18.80)
It is almost commonplace that in every tze-char meal, pork ribs are compulsory. Nan Hwa has an interesting twist to their pork ribs, with the added flavour of champagne. I felt that this flavour of pork ribs was similar to the caffeinated version but this was definitely packed with more fragrance. The zesty champagne flavour will explode in your mouth with each juicy bite into the tender ribs.
Stir-fry Vegetables with Dried Shrimp and Chye Poh ($9.80/$14.80)
It is always essential to try to have greens with every meal, of course. The long beans we had were not overly stir-fried and were thus not oily in excess. The greens were well-seasoned with the conventional dried shrimp, chye poh (preserved radish) and a subtle tinge of spiciness.
Nan Hwa Fishboat will indubitably make the most ideal meal on a cold rainy day or for a get-together meal with family and friends. Don’t give the bowls of steaming hot soup and flavourful dishes a miss.