Alden Boon

Hai Di Lao Hot Pot: An Upscale Restaurant That’s Earned Its Price Point

25/10/2015

Mention steamboat restaurant and the thought of mosquitoes flitting from ingredient to ingredient, and death traps in the form of slimey oysters strewn on a slippery floor conjures to mind. But Hai Di Lao Hot Pot, a restaurant that doles out Sichuan-style hot pots, bucks this trend. Opulence and sublimity are the hallmarks of this stalwart. The bill adds up quickly, but the dining experience is worth every cent.

The visceral pleasure is immediate. The sophisticated grandeur of the interior recalls that splendid feeling of stepping into a luxury hotel. At Hai Di Lao, what eclipses the exceptional food is the first-rate service. The waitresses are only eager to flash not perfunctory but megawatt smiles. After you’re seated, they will hand out hot towels  — and will continue to do so throughout the course of the meal. Ziploc bags are also readily furnished to protect your precious phones. How thoughtful is that?

Knowledgeable and quick to dispense advice on the food, the waitresses are always ready to meet your every whimsical request. They will even help immerse the ingredients into the simmering pot, and any unctuous layer of foamy scum does not go unnoticed by them.

Hai Di Lao Sembawang Sun Plaza Steamboat Singapore Hotpot
Hai Di Lao Sembawang Sun Plaza Steamboat Singapore Hotpot
Hai Di Lao Sembawang Sun Plaza Steamboat Singapore Hotpot
Hai Di Lao Sembawang Sun Plaza Steamboat Singapore Hotpot
Hai Di Lao Sembawang Sun Plaza Steamboat Singapore Hotpot
Hai Di Lao Sembawang Sun Plaza Steamboat Singapore Hotpot
Hai Di Lao Sembawang Sun Plaza Steamboat Singapore Hotpot
Hai Di Lao Sembawang Sun Plaza Steamboat Singapore Hotpot

Hai Di Lao’s moniker paints the imagery of scooping treasures from the deep sea. Of course, you’re not going to find pigs or cows or mushrooms  in the depths of the sea, but the name hints at the superb freshness of the ingredients. Its calling cards are the moreish, invigorating soup bases. Look at the copious spices and high-quality soup-base ingredients: it’s obvious Hai Di Lao does not cut corners.

Tackling the piquant Sichuan Mala broth requires an almost military-precise acuity. Tread carefully — as if you’re navigating a minefield: just a bite of the peppercorns numbs your entire tongue. If not vigilant, the searing hotness could trigger a choking episode! The Herbal Chicken soup base brims with flavours. Start off with hunks of yam: when they’re cooked through and through they are just wonderfully soft and delectably sweet.

Hai Di Lao offers a smorgasbord of ingredients, from black angus beef to pig’s intestines, mutton to duck gizzards as well as an assortment of mushrooms to handmade cuttlefish cakes and beef balls. Order the noodles and a young master will present a spectacle of dough swinging and flinging — the dough swirls and zips right above your head!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alden Boon
Alden Boon is a Quarter-finalist in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. When he's not busy writing, he pretends he is Gandalf.

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