Chuan Jiang Hao Zi Steamboat Restaurant
On Smith Street, across from Hometown Restaurant, lies this Sichuan hotpot (not Singaporean steamboat) establishment. More upscale than another hotpot competitor down the street, this place serves you dishes (rather than you walking up to the fridge) in much nicer decor, although they still only charge S$20 (US$13) for all you can eat. The food quality is slightly better too, with good tasting beef slices and a cleaner, more elegant spicy broth.
So why don't I think I will return? For one thing, the beef slices are so small (not much bigger than blinis) that it's too easy to lose all your slices in the broth. You can imagine how frustrating this gets when you are hungry. The clear broth in the middle also features a ginseng flavor, which I absolutely despise (it tastes like dirt to me, literally). Finally, their condiments are too basic (mainland style), without my favorite Taiwanese sa cha sauce.
But not all is lost. Their homemade noodles are pretty good, especially in the spicy broth. The quality of the ingredients and spicy broth are better than the lady down the street. And I sure don't mind the fresh fruit juices that - amusingly - they get from their next door neighbor. This place is good to try for these reasons alone. And if I'm ever forced to come back, I'll be sure to stay away from the ginseng broth.