A Mini-Me Hot Pot

Posted on January 15, 2011


“What you eat?” An elderly Singaporean auntie leaned over my shoulder, peering into the dregs of the now-cool pot in front of me. “That one fish, ah?”

Surprised by this unexpected intrusion, I mumbled something about hot pot.

“How much it cost?” she barked. “Last time I order fish steamboat it not nice. Not nice, ah.”

I regain my ability to speak. “This one is chicken. I think it’s nice. I don’t know how much it cost. I didn’t order it.”

“Ahhh.” She gives me an intimidating nod of approval. “Chicken,” she mummers to herself. And then, just as silently and stealthily as she appeared, she vanished.

We had been served a plate of thinly-sliced chicken and another dish mounded high with noodles, leaves, straw mushrooms, sausage strips, seafood sticks, omelette and a funny-shaped egg. There was a bowl of rice and the piece-de-resistance — the hot pot (called a steamboat here in Singapore), complete with a dramatic tongue of flame billowing out one side.

It was almost enough for two, but not quite. The broth had an interesting new flavour that I presume is ginseng. There was also soft white beans, which for some reason I thought could be ginko nuts. But I may just be mentally mixing up my exotic herbs that start with G.

I think we let ours cook for a little too long, distracted by Miss M’s antics. As is usually the case, we ate in shifts. One eats while the other holds the baby, offers food to the baby, then chases the baby up hill and down dale. Or in this case, down the steps and over to the giant dolphin statues.

We are making the most of Singapore’s “winter”. While the locals and a few deranged expats rug up against the chill, I am enjoying a brief reprieve from my usual state of sweatiness and trying a few hotter street food offerings. Any other time of year, sitting in front of an billowing flame in an open-air hawker centre would be unthinkable. But with temperatures plunging to an arctic 24 degrees (73.4 Fahrenheit) at night, a mini hot pot from the Ginseng Mini Steamboat at the G8 Food Hub is quite a pleasant experience.

Ginseng Mini Steamboat
G-8 Food Hub
5 Marine Parade Central

G-Eight Food Hub