Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shanghai's Chicken Hot Pot in Singapore

Beef Behemoth

That was unexpected. After walking around the basement of the newly renovated Temasek Tower tonight to see if there were anything interesting to eat, I was nearly ready to give up. But then I spotted a "Chicken Pot" sign in the distance with a chili pepper in the middle (8 Shenton Way #B1-21, 6220-8048). Hmm...what was this? Closer inspection revealed some kind of a spicy chicken restaurant from Shanghai that had allegedly attained all sorts of praise over the past few years. OK - I figured that it was worth a try.

Now, normally the words "spicy hot pot" conjure up images of a bright red Sichuan broth swirling around in a big metal pot. But this was nothing of the sort. What came out instead was a burner-supported claypot containing what appeared to be meat cooked in a dark soy sauce. Uh oh - for a guy that doesn't really get too excited about food stewed in soy sauce, that didn't look too encouraging.

But I didn't mind the taste as much as I thought I would. The soy sauce wasn't as heavy as it looked, and as long as one specified that he wanted the spiciest version possible, then it actually got a bit more interesting. Finding cuts of daikon and cloves of garlic inside the pot were welcome surprises, and the salty/spicy mixture ended up making a great accompaniment to a couple glasses of cold beer. Once the meat was finished, they came by with a clear broth and poured it into the pot to make a soup out of the leftover spices. A quick walk on over to the refrigerator provided the opportunity to pick out some veggies for dunking.

Despite all of this, I won't make any huge effort to come back, in part due to my aversion to soy-sauce-stewed food. But if this place is really as big as it is in China, then I'm glad I tried it. Note: if you don't like gnawing on bones, I'd suggest skipping the namesake chicken version and going straight for the beef, even if the latter was a bit dry and tough.


dionne said...

hello, great blog! i am inspired to go forth & devour!

Anonymous said...

Hello Hungry Boy,

I too am a Californian (San Jose) who discovered the best kept secret in the world (Singapore) about 5 years ago. Haven't been back home since.

I was planning a blog post on food in Singapore. Not one of my normal topics as you will see if you visit but in an effort to "lighten up". I was doing a Google image search for some of my personal favorites and noticed that several pics were from the same place. Here!

So I read thru your profile and a few of your posts and like this alot. I agree with another commenter who said you should be getting more attention and commments than you are. Perhaps I can help.

Most of my readers are US, Europe but when I post anything with Singapore in the title I get lots of local visits. I hope you don't mind me using a few of your pics and linking to your blog. I may post this as early as today.

In the meantime, if your interested in a couple of recommendations, I find the Yong Tau Foo at Bras Basah Complex the very best place for Laksa. They have a good selection of ingredients and the sauce is perfect. The Biryani at the same coffee shop is also very good. The place is open 24/7 which is nice.

I know several other places, including the best place for mutton soup but will post those. Great to see a fellow California Ang Mo enjoying Sing.

BTW, I live in Tiong Bahru.

Anonymous said...

I think you didn't really try the the shrimp or beef pot.

They are splendid. nothing like what i have tasted in Singapore.

Thumbs up!