Alden Boon

Yue Long Men Hotpot, Pagoda Street, Heats up Singapore’s F&B Scene

15/07/2018

The next time you enjoy a hot pot session with your friends or loved ones, you may want to offer up a thank you to Genghis Khan. More known are his conquests and remarkable military tactics, though the warrior is also largely accredited with inventing hot pot. While traversing the northern plains of China, Genghis Khan and his Mongolian horsemen would, come mealtime, upturn their helmets, and over fires cook their rations of meats in simmering broths. After the invasion by the Mongolians, the Chinese learnt of this dish, took it and adapted it for themselves. The most famous variation to come of this experiment has got to be the Sichuan-originating mala, which calls for a myriad of spices.

On this particular Sunday, I moseyed along the busy Chinatown, and arrived at Yue Long Men Hotpot, which opened a couple of months ago. Interestingly at the restaurant, instead of the large communal pot that we are all accustomed to, each diner gets his personal pot, perhaps a fitting tribute to the rudimentary habit of Genghis Khan. Diners who have obsessive compulsive disorder or who cringe at double dipping should welcome this practice.

A sublime hot pot requires good soup — it really is not rocket science. A good soup that only serves to accentuate the natural flavours of the ingredients, just happy to be the supporting actor in this presentation. In this regard, Yue Long Men Hotpot scored high. The Mala Soup (S$6/pot) came chock full with floating spices, launching a relentless blitz on the tongue, searing and numbing it all at once. Less intense in its colour but equally moreish, the Tomato Soup (S$5/pot) was as such the perfect foil, bright and tangy. There are also four other flavours to enjoy at the restaurant: Curry (S$5/pot), Clear (S$4/pot); Tom Yum (S$5/pot); and Mushroom (S$4/pot).

Yue Long Men Hotpot Pagoda Street Mala Steamboat
Yue Long Men Hotpot Pagoda Street Mala Steamboat
Yue Long Men Hotpot Pagoda Street Mala Steamboat
Yue Long Men Hotpot Pagoda Street Mala Steamboat
Yue Long Men Hotpot Pagoda Street Mala Steamboat
Yue Long Men Hotpot Pagoda Street Mala Steamboat
Yue Long Men Hotpot Pagoda Street Mala Steamboat
Yue Long Men Hotpot Pagoda Street Mala Steamboat

The ingredients were commendable as well. Delightful were the Mushroom Balls (S$6/ten pieces), perched on sliced cucumbers that ultimately got lost in the deep red seas. The Fresh Tiger Prawns (S$16) came embedded in ice: after some simple arithmetic I realised I had probably overpaid for each piece. Going at the same price as its cousin, the Prawn Paste was a better investment — there was no deshelling hassle, for one. When cooked, the scooped-out portions were springy. A surprising standout was cooked dish Yang Zhou Fried Rice (S$6), which could rival most restaurants’ renditions, tinctured with eggy fragrance, though it was a tad oleaginous.

Where hot pot restaurants are concerned, Hai Di Lao has long been the gold standard in my mind, offering the trifecta of superb broth, ingredients and service. Service excellence is also a tenet of Yue Long Men Hotpot, whose waitstaff were attentive, polite but never intrusive or obsequious like Wu Lao Guo’s. So, if you love hot pots like Genghis Khan and his horsemen did, give Yue Long Men Hot Pot a try.

nedla does not receive any monetary compensation for its food reviews; all visits made are incognito. 

Yue Long Men Hotpot

Address: 75 Pagoda Street Singapore 059234

Operating hours: 12pm to 10pm, daily

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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