Hotpot restaurants are a dime a dozen in the food scene in Singapore but the Yanxi Palace Steamboat brought nuances to the concept not seen in other competitors. Drawing inspiration from the renowned palace drama back in 2018, their menu provides a decadent spread fit for a king, or in this case, princesses!
Located on the hill right below Hotel RE!, Yanxi Palace Steamboat is a rough 700m walk from Chinatown MRT station. While it can be a little inaccessible for now, there are upcoming plans to introduce a shuttle bus service to transport diners to and fro from Outram Park MRT station.
Enter into the ‘palace halls’ and be greeted by a charming oriental decorated dining area. Featuring red silk chairs, carpeted floors and jewelled lighting fixtures, the interior design was reminiscent of traditional Chinese restaurants in Singapore.
There are 9 soup bases at Yanxi Palace Steamboat to choose from, and we were recommended to go with Buddha Jumps Over the Wall ($10.50++), Imperial Elixir Youth Soup ($11.50++) and Tomato Soup (++$9.50). Made with the highest quality ingredients, all their soup bases are made from scratch daily, doubled boiled and simmered for 6 – 8 hours over the stove.
One of our favourites is the Buddha Jumps Over The Wall, where you see the soup refill being poured in the above image. Cooked with over 10 herbs along with premium ingredients such as Ginseng, Kampong Chicken and Fish Maw, the soup is slow boiled for hours so that flavours are thoroughly infused.
But if we want to talk about flavour then the Imperial Elixir Youth Soup is the unparalleled champion. Featuring ingredients such as Shark Cartilage, Dry Scallops and Kampong Chicken, the soup was equal parts flavourful and nourishing. If you like your soup to pack a Collagen punch then we would recommend you try the Imperial Elixir Youth Soup base.
The Tomato Soup base is also a champion of its own, where its strong and savoury broth is surprisingly light on the tang and easy to consume without leaving you thirsty. In between the other 2 herbaceous soups, the Tomato Soup base was great for appetising your palate again to enjoy the myriad of dishes!
We could very well be content with the soup bases and call it a day, but that was before the Rose Beef Tongue ($18) made its theatrical entrance on a bed of dry ice with curtains of smoke cascading down the bowl. For those unfamiliar with this cut of meat, Beef Tongue has an intense flavour and nice texture with a high fat content.
While the cut looked a little too thick for Shabu Shabu, the meat surprisingly cooked perfectly with a quick boil in the broth. After soaking in the broth, the base taste of the meat was further enhanced by the flavours of the soup, making for a very delicious slice of meat. We soon found ourselves gorging down rose after rose.
We had many delectable dishes that went with the flavourful broths. Each had merits of their own which will leave you wanting to try more and not tire of the selections. With timely refills of soup from the attentive waitstaff, it made for a delightful dining experience that leaves you feeling like royalty indeed! Here are some of the dishes we partook in that are noteworthy:
Minced Shrimp with Fish Roe ($10)
We were served a variety of seafood balls, but the standout has to be the Minced Shrimp with Fish Roe. Delicate to the touch and once cooked, the sweetness of the shrimp paired with the crunch of the tobiko created a fine balance for taste and texture in a seafood dish.
Is it really a steamboat if there were no sliced shabu shabu meats? The meats were fresh, had good marbling and were thinly sliced. We were served the U.S. beef slices and pork collar slices, although there were other meat varieties including fish, gizzards, lamb and crab on the menu. We also had the Wagyu U.S. sliced beef that was adorned to look like a volcano! You could see the delicious marbling on the beef slices, which were gobbled up pretty quickly at the start.
This extravagant seafood platter consisting of a range of shellfish, prawns and crayfish, was masterly laid upon a bed of crushed ice and zested with lemon slices. Seafood enthusiasts can expect to enjoy freshly cooked seafood that is not only creamy but also, naturally salted to perfection. Besides leaving a satisfied palate, this platter will elevate the soup base by transforming it into a sweeter and richer broth.
One of their dishes, Rose Tofu ($8), was aesthetically pleasing and exquisite. Presented in a bowl swirling with mystical dry ice fog, it comprises 4 colourful rose-shaped tofu pieces, all naturally coloured in pastel shades. Each to their unique flavours such as shrimp paste and otah, this tofu is not only light but leaves a lasting memory on the palate with its soft custardy texture. If you’re looking for one that’s both insta-worthy and has a unique twist to a common tofu dish, this sure is a perfect choice!
Lower these pieces of tofu art into your luscious bubbling steamboat and be mesmerised by the beautifully crafted rose bloom.
We were instantly drawn to this next intriguing dish. Not to be confused for a mooncake on a stick – the Seafood Lollipop ($12) captured first, our imaginations and then, our taste buds. Don’t let its pale colour deceive you of the novel treat at the end of every skewer. Each lollipop contains a delicate mix of squid and prawn paste that paired well with every decadent broth we bathed it in. Despite the duality of seafood paste, we could clearly discern the richness of the prawn and sweetness of the squid in each bite. If you love having seafood pastes in your hotpots, this, you mustn’t miss.
Feeling in need for some carbohydrates, we delved into the handmade Lucky Dumplings ($8) coloured organically with fruit or vegetables. You can clearly see the generous portions of meat. The dumpling skin was thin and tender when cooked, yet strong enough to hold the juicy meat within even when they were left stewing in the hotpot. The three colours represent 3 flavours with the purple holding minced pork and chives, the normal white one with just meat and the black dumplings holding minced pork and pickled cabbage. At first bite, you could tell the meat was well-marinated and juicy, complementing the various soup bases well.
Similarly organically coloured, we had the Handmade Rainbow Noodles ($12) to go with the hotpot for the carb-lovers, and yes they do taste different! While the noodles naturally went well with the soup base, they somehow stood out more when they were paired with the Premium Nonya Laksa Soup (from $11)
This is sure to overwhelm all laksa lovers because just look at the soup. Instead of large oil puddles clinging to the sides of the bowl, you get an enveloping, silky consistency. While most would describe laksa broth to be rich due to the coconut milk, the rich flavour here seems to have equal contribution from the dried shrimp, the spices and the coconut milk. That means you could drink bowls of it and not feel the coconut milk is overpowering and jelak. Every sip brought about some sort of exclamation from us all, and when it was down to the very last spoonful, we were almost sad that it had to come to an end.
To tie up the meal in a sweet ribbon, we indulged in 3 beautifully crafted bowls of dessert – the Rose Ice Jelly, Osmanthus Ice jelly, and Signature Ice Jelly ($5 each). Every distinct bowl of ice jelly looked like an art piece torn from the walls of the French gallery. Our unanimous favourite was the Rose Ice Jelly – a palace’s chalice scattered with rose petals. It had the unmistakable fragrance of your favourite Bandung drink, but in place of an expected cloying aftertaste was a gentle and refreshing sweetness. Each spoonful invited the next. Truly a perfect way to round off an already extravagant experience.
Overall, this hotpot dining experience is something not found in any other steamboat restaurants. What we found intriguing was that every dish was made to please the senses. Nothing was compromised in terms of quality, presentation, texture and service. Most steamboats in Singapore may just be there to fill our bellies, but Yanxi Palace Steamboat outdoes their competitors by ensuring each bite you take aims to please — making you want more.
Yan Xi Palace Steamboat
Location: 175A Chin Swee Road, Singapore 169879
Operating Hours: 12PM – 12.30AM (Sun – Mon), 12PM – 2AM (Fri & Sat)
Make A Reservation By Phone: 8858 9711
Make A Reservation Online: click here