The restaurant is actually measuring customers’ dresses for discounts
A Shandong hotpot restaurant is reportedly offering discounts based on how short its customers' skirts are.
In an attempt to drum up publicity and fill its dining room with attractive women, a hotpot restaurant in Shandong, China, is reportedly offering special discounts for female customers who arrive wearing mini skirts, and the discounts get bigger as the skirts get smaller.
According to Shanghaiist, female customers at the hotpot restaurant who are willing to wear a super-short skirt and let the restaurant’s staff hold tape measures in front of their legs are entitled to significant discounts on their meals, provided they can find skirts that are short enough.
The restaurant is reportedly offering up to a 90-percent discount, but the discounts are based on just how short the skirts are, so to get the maximum discount a woman must either have a very, very short skirt or extremely long legs. To get the maximum discount of 90 percent off, a woman must wear a skirt that is 33 centimeters, or 13 inches, above the knee. A hem that falls three inches above the knee nets its wearer only a 20-percent discount.
As of yet, the restaurant has not encountered any male customers who showed up in mini skirts demanding discounts of their own.
How To Hot Pot From Home
I LOVE hot pot. I also miss hot pot. With the pandemic and restrictions, dining in a hot pot restaurant is effectively non-existent. Honestly I’ve been wondering if the pandemic will shutter a lot of local hot pot spots.
I hope that’s not the case because going for hot pot is a lot more convenient than cooking it at home, BUT if you want to (er—well, have to during the pandemic) do it from home, it’s really not that hard!
Mike and I chose to do Home Hot Pot for our New Year’s Eve and in typical Mike and Linda fashion, we miscalculated the amount of ingredients we’d need so we ended up doing hot pot for two additional lunches and dinners (lol! I’m a proponent for too much food and leftovers than not enough food and no leftovers).
I realized I had never blogged about home hot pot before, and ended up getting a fair bit of questions about what hot pot is after I posted on social media, so what better thing to do than to blog about it!
How to Hot Pot From Home
A useful and not overly complex guide for what it is and what you need in order to have it at home.
What is Hot Pot?
For simplicity’s sake, I often describe hot pot as “Asian fondue” and better than regular fondue (lol). While regular fondue I feel tends to be more dessert-y, and you wouldn’t really eat or drink the fondue sauce, with Chinese hot pot you can very much (and should) slurp up the soup-based broth that cooks the meats, seafood, and vegetables! Hot pot is a more savoury-focused cook-your-own meal in a pot than fondue!
Simply put: hot pot is cooking your own ingredients in a pot that is hot. The name for the meal describes a cooking method as well as the food experience you’re going to have. The pot is filled with broth that boils and it’s that boiled broth that cooks different ingredients you add to the pot throughout the meal.
There’s a lot of interesting history to Chinese hot pot. For instance, it is said to have originated over 1,000 years ago. created by Mongol warriors who “camped outside and had dinner together circled around a pot on the fire—it was a way to keep warm, while eating at the same time” (source: Hot Pot Ambassador).
It may also be referred to as ‘steamboat’ or ‘shabu shabu’—which are similar concepts (cook ingredients in a hot soup-based pot) but have slightly different techniques and origins.
Chinese hot pot is also considered a communal, community-focused meal . Growing up, my family would go for hot pot and as a child, I’d often share my pot with my parents and siblings. It’s common in hot pot dining to cook your ingredients in a communal pot. That’s how it started, though modern hot pot and restaurants these days offer individual hot pots. Individual pots make a lot of sense because you can really individualize your hot pot experience—the sauces you use, the meats, seafoods, and vegetables you put into your pot, these are all aspects of hot pot that should be very unique to each person.
At This Restaurant, the Shorter Your Skirt, the Bigger the Discount
If the term ‘offensive’ was to be pictorially represented, most people would instantly point at this picture. In a move tagged controversial by some and sexist by others, a hot-pot restaurant in China is offering heavy discounts to their female customers who show up wearing skimpy skirts, reports Sina News.
Customers whose hems are measured to be 33 centimeters (12 inches) above the knee are offered a whopping 90% discount on their food. Women wearing skirts revealing a modest 8 centimeters (3 inches) are only given 20% off their meals.
A spokesman for the restaurant said: "We wanted to do a promotion on our hot-pot and we came up with this. Girls like showing off their legs anyway, and now they can get more than just admiring glances from passersby - they can get cheap food too."
Dream Job: A guy measures hemlines at the restaurant
This isn’t the first time a restaurant controversy has rocked China, in the past too, a restaurant offered a special deal in which women who achieved the highest beauty scores got a free meal. The level of beauty was judged by a panel of plastic surgeons. Another restaurant offered customers discounts or free meals depending on their weight. In the case of males, the greater their weight the greater the discount.
Although the restaurant is full to the brim with girls in short skirts and it may be benefiting because of all the PR that's coming their way, a lot of people feel the restaurant has fell 'short' of gaining their respect.
The Shorter the Skirt the Bigger the Discount at This Restaurant
The establishment, Yang Jia Hot Pot Restaurant, had employees measure women&aposs skirts before coming into the restaurant. Women wearing skirts that revealed three inches of skin above the knee received 20 percent off their meal, while wearers of skirts that showed off 13 inches got a 90 percent discount.
The well-known restaurant chain offers a special promotion every month, Daily Mail reports. "This is the low-season for hot pot restaurants. We wanted to start a promotional campaign that could attract our core audience," the restaurant&aposs founder Eason Yang told Daily Mail. "The promotion brought us around 50 tables of customers on Sunday."
Women have been surprise recipients of these types of sexist discounts before. A restaurant in Texas doles out randoms discounts for things like "best butt" or "best looking."
Pak Kian Buffet House @ My Town : ONLY FROM RM 33.80 HOTPOT BUFFET WITH FREE LOBSTER !
Pak Kian Buffet House is indeed a great place for hotpot. Located in MyTown Shopping Mall, Pak Kian offer you with a versatile buffet experience where they have hotpot and also cook food in one goal.
During this Ramadhan time, Pak Kian offer you with the wide over 90 items to go for at affordable price which is from RM 33.80 nett per pax only! Start your meal here with their selection of appetizer where they have the Leafy Mixed Gardens, together with the Cucumber, Corn Kennel, Assorted Pickes, Kerabu, Ulam Ulaman, Telur Masin and many more.
In Pak Kian, they offer you with 6 choices of the soup. This include tomyam, chicken, curry, herbs , tomato, and asam laksa. Personally, I love their tomyam and herbs, while the curry is one of the best seller here.
Eat as much as you can here where they brings you with wide variety of items from the Peking Dumpling, Imported Squid, Sliced Beef, Chicken and Lamb, Fish Ball, Fish Paste, Fish Noodles, Squid Ball, Beef Balls, Salmon Balls and Chickuwa too.
Not just that, one can also try their seafood ball, sea urchirin ball, lotus roots, Chicken Ham, and wide variety of mushroom selections.
You can also enjoy your hotpot with some greenies as they have siew pak choy, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, black fungus, mee hoon laksa, yee mee and many more.
While waiting for your hotpot to cook, do grab some selection from their buffet spread too. They will me choices of Ayam Masak Merah, Daging Rendang, Ikan Kari, Dalca, Lala Masak Pedas, Taufu Sos Tiram,Seafood Sambal, Nasi Briyani and many more.
Dont miss out their meat selections as well. They do have side dishes to go along with your hotpot too where you can grab some mini buns, spring roll, samosa and lemang. After a nice and pipping hot steamboat, time to grab some fruits, jellies, cakes, and bubur manis as well. They do offer syrup, cordial, coffee , tea and ABC too.
Asides from the buffet selection, one can enjoy premium ala-carte meals which is really worthy. One can go for the Baked Lobster with Golden Garlic which comes superbly good with the chunky meat just at RM 28.80 nett / portion.
You can go for a more premium steamboat selection too where they do have ala-carte items to go with it. This includes Canadian Lobster, Sea Prawn, Shell Scallop, Mussels and many more at affordable price.
And now, you can have FREE LOBSTER or SEAFOOD PLATTER ( depends on availability) with 4 adults dining in ( One Table)
Morning : RM 33.80 |Night : RM 42.80
Morning : RM 37.80 |Night : RM 46.80
Food wastage will charge (Rm3/100gm)
Ramadhan Menu will be available from 16 April 2021 till 9 May 2021 (10am–10pm ( Daily))
15 Must-Try Hotpot Restaurants In Singapore – From Hai Di Lao, Beauty In The Pot, COCA, To Taikoo Lane
Friends kept jio-ing me out for hotpot. Also because they know I am a soup person.
When the months hit December and January, the combination of the cool weather and festive period makes the cravings insatiable.
Interestingly, some Singaporeans also call hotpot the “battleship”.
This is because PM Lee Hsien Loong once shared a personal nugget of family life, in which Mr Lee Kuan Yew used the word “BATTLESHIP” to mean “steam boat” in a telegram to save the number of words and cost.
It was a lovely story that reminded us of the importance of thriftiness.
As we meet for hotpot / steamboat gatherings, let’s not just focus on the food, but the togetherness and fellowship as well.
Here are 15 Hotpot Restaurants in Singapore to have your ‘battleship’.
Hai Di Lao Hot Pot
Various outlets including Clarke Quay, [email protected], Plaza Singapura, VivoCity, IMM, Bedok Mall, Seletar Mall, Sun Plaza, Paya Lebar Quarter, Century Square Marina Square
One pot, endless smiles. Hai Di Lao can be known more for their gimmicks more than their food itself – not that it is any bad.
“Have you heard about the hotpot place with FREE manicure service? Oh and FREE fruits and popcorn while you are waiting for a table?”
Good service generally, something that may even put Singaporeans ‘uncomfortable’. Recommended food include Aorta (pork/beef), handmade balls, and house made noodles for the server to do those acrobatic pulls in front of you. #forthegram
The tomato and laksa soup bases are some of my favourites. Hai Di Lao is indeed all about the entire package and experience, and certain satisfying.
Price is on the high side, and some may not be happy with the extra $4 charge on sauces. People are quite willing to pay more for the attentive service, and its fresh ingredients and variety.
The newest outlet at Marina Square continues to capture attention with its AI-technology, futuristic looking projected walls, and customisable tomato and mala soup bases. Hai Di Lao (Marina Square)
Beauty In The Pot – The Centrepoint
The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Road #05-15/16 Singapore 238843 (Somerset MRT)
Tel: +65 62353557
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 6am (Mon – Sun)
Branches at JEWEL Changi Airport, KINEX, Star Vista, VivoCity, Westgate
Beauty In The Pot is known for its Beauty Collagen Broth. There are six different nourishing soup bases with rich flavours and nutritional benefits, including Signature Beauty Collagen Broth, Vitamin C Tomato Sweet Corn Broth, Signature Spicy Nourishing Soup (Pork Bone Soup), Herbal Drunken Chicken Broth, and Cooling Coconut Broth.
Diners can choose between a single pot, twin pot or a quart pot. The price of a single pot starts from $14 a quart pot starts from $5 each.
Whether you are picking a twin or quart, one of the soups should contain the Beauty Collagen Broth, since it IS the signature and tastiest of the lot.
Just a note that the broth used to be shark collagen, but it has been replaced with a concoction of pork trotter, chicken feet, compoy, chicken and pork bones. I would personally prefer the older version, but this makes a worthy replacement with its semi-thick, creamy and nourishing flavours.
Some of the must-try items include the melt-in-your-mouth Signature Homemade Fish Tofu ($13.20), Ebiko Prawn Paste ($18.80), Assorted Balls Platter ($12.80), and Fried Beancurd Skin ($10.00). Beauty In The Pot (Jewel Changi Airport)
COCA Restaurant – Suntec City
3 Temasek Boulevard #02-440 Suntec City Singapore 038983 (Esplanade/Promenade MRT)
Tel: +65 6259 7176
Opening Hours: 11.15am – 10.30pm (Mon – Sun)
The concept of COCA Restaurant marries authentic Thai cuisine with traditional elements of Cantonese home-style cooking, creating distinctive flavours.
There are also now 7 enticing COCA broths to look forward to, from Hua Diao Phoenix which would ignite your love for hotpot, to Over The Top Coriander – the first of its kind in Singapore.
The Hua Diao Phoenix broth is concocted with the Chinese rice wine, and other condiments to further enhance the aroma and taste of Double Boiled Treasure.
P.S. Watch out for the blazing “Phoenix” as the serve lights up the bowl of tender chicken with fire, before adding the mix into the broth.
With this explosive combination, you get an aromatic pot of drunken goodness that could ignite your taste buds. COCA Restaurant (Suntec City)
Spice World Hot Pot (香天下火锅)
Clarke Quay Block B #01-06/07 River Valley Road Singapore 179021
Tel: +65 6265 9777
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 4am (Sun – Thurs), 10:30am – 6am (Fri – Sat)
Reserve Online Now – Spice World Hot Pot
Spice World Hot Pot is known as one of China’s top global hotpot brands, with no artificial flavours, MSG or flavour enhanced used. Soup bases are first prepared in Sichuan China, then airflown to Singapore.
You can choose from 7 different soup bases. Most would go for the signature Mala which comes in three varying degrees of spiciness (mild, medium, hot), pork belly and chicken, three-delicacies (pork, chicken, duck), wild mushroom, tomato, tom-yam, and curry.
The Teddy Bear Mala Hotpot is one of the most fun (and strangest hotpot) I ever had, with mala soup shaped into a teddy bear (or Hello Kitty). Watch the cute bear slowly melt into a pool of appetizing broth to cook your meats and handmade balls.
The only thing to take note it: there are only 10 bears and 10 kitties per day. Remember to reserve them as they are limited.
Most will also order the Australian M8 Wagyu beef ($38.90), draped like a meat dress over a doll. Lady Gaga will approve. Spice World 香天下火锅 (Clarke Quay)
112 Middle Road #01-00 Midland House Singapore 188970 (Bugis MRT)
Tel: +65 6255 5744
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:30am – 3:00pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon Lunch
Dinner: 5:30pm – 11pm (Mon – Thurs), 5pm – 11pm (Fri – Sun)
Reserve Online Now – Captain K Middle Road
Captain K at Middle Road, known to be the first to introduce the Korean Seafood Tower in Singapore, has also started to offer hotpot.
Steamboat-lovers would be happy to know that there are a total of 6 variations of soup bases, in which you can select a dual “ying-yang” pot for a double soup option.
A Single Soupbase is affordably priced at $16.00, while a Double is $20.00.
The original 3 soup bases – Kombu Dashi, Korean Kimchi and Ginseng Chicken (extra $4), are Korean inspired. Newly introduced are the Szechuan Mala, Tomato and TomYum Mushroom Soups to cater to local regular diners who kept requesting for them.
The Mala broth at Captain K is actually very drinkable and appetising – I finished bowls on my own.
Added with Szechuan peppercorn, dried chillies and other spices, there was still that slight numbing effect which provided that kick without overpowering. Captain K (Middle Road)
Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant ION Orchard, #04-09/10, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801
Great World City, #01-37, 1 Kim Seng Promenade , Singapore 237994
Tel: +65 6235 6008
Opening Hours: Lunch 11.00am – 3.00pm, Dinner 6.00pm – 11.00pm Daily
Tel: +65 6636 9339
Opening Hours: Lunch 11.00am – 3.00pm, Dinner 6.00pm – 11.00pm Daily
ION Orchard, #04-09/10, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801
Imperial Treasure’s soups are simmered for hours, their Ginseng chicken soup tasting rich and nourishing is my favourite. If not, there are always the Traditional Pork’s Bone, Seal & Kelp, Parsley & Century Egg, Sichuan Spicy and the intriguing Satay Flavoured Soups for choices.
We loved the fresh and bouncy handmade prawn and pork balls, and tender pieces of sliced marble beef and kurobuta pork belly. Set course of 2 at $98++ onwards.
The highlight of the entire meat has to be its condiments and sauces, ranging from peanut sauce, green and red chills, spring onions, plum sauce, chopped garlic, sambal chili and chicken rice chilli … All 12 of them. Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant (Great World City))
Crystal Jade Steamboat Kitchen
#02-32, Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238839
Tel: +65 6336 2833
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 10pm (Mon – Fri), 11am – 10pm (Sat, Sun and PH)
If I talk about Imperial, I cannot not talk about Crystal Jade right? Crystal Jade Steamboat Kitchen offers steamboat buffet at affordable prices in a restaurant setting along with the traditional Cantonese favourites.
The 90-minute buffet includes more than 35 ingredients such as fresh chicken, pork and beef slices, mussels, mushrooms and vegetables. I wished duration was more than 90 minutes though.
The 6 different soup bases include Pork’s Bone, Tomato, Curry, Miso, Superior, and Spicy Mala Soup.
Weekday dinner buffet is at $24.80++ for adults and $17.80++ for children aged 12 years and below. On weekends and public holidays, dinner buffet is $30.80++ for adults and $22.80++ for children aged 12 years and below.
If not, go for the Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao branch at Holland Village which offers free flow Xiao Long Bao with steamboat. There are 3 seating at 5:00pm, 6:45pm, and 8:30pm.
Da Miao Hotpot 大妙火锅
Clarke Quay Block C #01-11, 3C River Valley Road Singapore 179022
Tel: +65 6250 9969
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 5:00am Daily
Good news for those craving for authentic Sichuan style Mala hotpot, the popular Da Miao Hotpot from Chengdu China can be found at Clarke Quay.
The highlight is its Mala soup base, said to contain more than twenty spices, added with special plant oil and herbs. Therefore, it is not that greasy, yet still quintessentially Sichuan.
If you fear for your tickling tongue, you can always opt for a “modified to local taste” option, or have it the “original Chinese way” if you are up for the challenge. You decide.
Of course, there are also choices of Pig Bones, Tomato and Mushroom soup bases.
Ingredients-wise, get the Beef or Fresh Shrimp Paste ($18) – a flat block of freshly-minced meat paste, made without additional starch so that you can still savour the original favours after being cooked in the soup bases.
Come at night, and you will be entertained by traditional Sichuan performances of “Bian Lian” (literally meaning mask changing), and Chinese long-sprout tea pouring ceremony by professional “Stage Artists”.
Long Qing Specialty Hotpot
18 Hong Kong Street Singapore 059661 (Clarke Quay MRT)
Tel: +65 6533 1618
Opening Hours: 5:30pm – 11:00pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Long Qing is one of those not-so-commercial brands that I would have liked to give my support to.
Located at Hong Kong Street opposite Clarke Quay MRT, the interior of concrete wall and wooden furnishing makes it kind of ‘hipster’ as a hotpot specialty restaurant.
Its soup bases is kept fairly straightforward with 4 to choose from – Signature Clear Broth, Ma La, Tomato and Wildroom ($14.00 for one soup base, $18.00 for dual).
The Clear Broth soup is recommended, MSG free, cooked for more than 10 hours, with a light herbal taste due to dang gui added. Suitable for those who would like soup bases that are not too heavy.
I wondered if it was due to the CNY period, but the meat slices weren’t as impressive as I imagined – had that ‘frozen’ bite in them, and could have been fresh.
Taikoo Lane Hotpot 太古里火锅
Chinatown Point, 133 New Bridge Rd, B1-16, Singapore 059413
Tel: +65 6970 0966
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Famed for its deliciously numbing Sichuan cuisine, Taikoo Lane which is under Chengdu Restaurant has tapped its culinary team to craft a menu of broths in different flavours, and a bevy of unique ingredients – not quite the usual stuff you would find in a typical hotpot restaurant.
At Taikoo Lane Hotpot, diners can have a choice of either individual pots for a more customized experience, or share a large pot among family and friends.
Whether you prefer to dine solo or as a group, you can find the best arrangement here.
Go for the Chengdu Green Pepper Broth. If you are bored of the usual mala and want to try something different, this would be a refreshing change.
Inspired by the Fish with Green Peppercorn Soup, a best-seller from Chengdu Restaurant, the broth takes two Sichuan-specialty ingredients (peppercorn oil and green peppercorns) and makes them the soup’s bedrock of flavour. Taikoo Lane Hotpot (Chinatown Point)
Upin Hot Pot
Clarke Quay Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen St, 03-87, Singapore 059817 (Clarke Quay MRT)
Tel: +6221 5550
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 3:00am Daily
I read somewhere that the owner of this restaurant used to be a chef of Hai Di Lao, thus there are some similarities.
Perhaps some components such as the soup bases and sauces but the service *cough cough*. Not that it is any bad, it is just not THAT over-the-top.
There is a variety of soup bases such as Herbal, Seafood, Chicken, Pork Bone, and Mushroom. There is an interesting Upin Three Soup Hot Pot ($14) with inclusion of Three Delicacy Soup, Spicy Soup and Tomato in the middle.
The Tomato was my favourite, sweetish in a way that reminded me of minestrone.
Get the Meat Balls Combo ($18.00), a platter of fresh, bouncy and tasty assortment of balls.
CompassOne Mall #03-05, 1 Sengkang Square, Singapore 545078
Tel: +65 6386 4838
Opening Hours: 11:15am – 10:00pm (Mon – Fri), 10:30am – 10:00pm (Sat – Sun
You should like Paradise Hotpot as well, which is a Hong Kong style steamboat concept that offers each diner an individual hotpot with choice of a desired broth.
There are 14 different soup bases to choose from, such as Authentic Pork Bone, Century Egg with Coriander, Tomato with Sweet Corn, Teochew Style, Spicy Szechuan, Chicken with Wild Mushrooms, Thick Beef Bone, Tom Yum, Kelp and Bonito to Korean Kimchi Soup.
Prices are considered wallet-friendly, starting from $3.50 for a Teochew Style Soup Base, $4.00 for Authentic Pork Bone Soup Base ($4.00) to $9.80 for Chicken with Wild Mushroom Soup Base. Paradise Hotpot (Compass Point)
Tong Xin Ru Yi Traditional Hotpot
6 Lorong Telok, Singapore 049019
Tel: +65 6536 8058
Opening Hours: 11am – 10.30pm (Mon – Fri), 12pm – 10.30pm (Sat, Sun)
Depart from the usual hotspot joints and go for the interestingly unique variety of soup bases at Tong Xin Ru Yi Traditional Hotpot 同心如意传统铜火锅.
What’s the difference between this and other hotpots?
I am talking about Golden Chicken Soup, Golden Frog Soup (!), Stewed Marinated Beef with Spicy Soup, Tomato with Oxtail Soup, Pickled Chinese Cabbage with Pork Rib Soup, and Catfish with Spicy Soup.
The recommended is the Golden Chicken Soup / Golden Frog Soup. the Golden Soup is composed of different ingredients added in at the right moment – a medley of black fungus, yam, konjac, pineapple chunks, sliced cucumber, brown shimeji mushrooms, fresh parsley, and sweet golden pumpkin swimming in a pool of liquid gold.
Hours of slow cooking produced a robust flavoured soup that harmoniously blends with fresh hotpot ingredients – your choice of succulent chunks of chicken and a nourishing chicken broth or some plump frogs.
Here you will find a wide range of different beef cuts from around the world, from New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and USA. There are also unique and specially-sourced vegetables like the Gracilaria (龙须菜) and Pea Sprouts (豌豆尖) to be discovered. Tong Xin Ru Yi Traditional Hotpot (Boat Quay)
Da Long Yi Hotpot Singapore
Orchard Central #08-06/07/08
Tel: +65 6509 0002
Opening Hours: 11am – 6am (Mon – Sun)
Feast together with friends and family over a special steamboat meal at Da Long Yi, a prominent Chinese hotpot brand. Its first outlet opened in 2013 in Chengdu, China and swiftly grew to more than 200 restaurants in Mainland China.
Conveniently located on the 8th floor, Da Long Yi is on the left side as you step out of the elevator. Occupying 3 units, it is quite spacious with impressive interiors.
If you are after an authentic Szechuan experience, the quality of food here will not disappoint.
Pick the Butter Mala Soup Base as this is the signature of Da Long Yi. I thought this was more ‘la’ (spicy) than ‘ma’ (numbing), and may make some break out in sweat. Quite shiok.
The Shrimp Paste ($16), Mountain Marble Beef ($24), Kongfu Potato Chips ($7), Spicy Pork Ribs ($24), and Rose Beef Tongue ($20) are other recommended items.
You can find a variety of hotpot spices and sauces from the sauce station ($2.50 per person). Check out their own customised sesame oil, which is the hallmark of an authentic Chengdu hotpot restaurant.
Did I mention hotpot till 6am?
Shi Li Fang
Various branches: Star Vista, Orchard Central, Icon Village, J-Cube, Chinatown Point, City Square Mall, Tiong Bahru Plaza, Hougang One, Bedok Point, West Coast Plaza, Compass One, Eastpoint Mall, KINEX, Junction 10, Tiong Bahru Plaza
Taiwanese hotpot restaurant Shi Li Fang is one of the wallet-friendly hotpot restaurants you may want to consider, with more than 10 branches in Singapore and counting.
It prides itself in its MSG-free soup bases, non-fried cuisine, with over 20 dipping sauces (sauces offered free of charge).
They have different promotions going on at different times and branches, so it is best to check with the restaurants (if they answer your call).
Recommended items included Japanese Kurobuta Pork ($13.00), Japanese Wagyu Beef ($24.50), Specialty Beef ($6.10), Pork Tenderloin ($5.40) and Crab ($9.80).
First things first, I know some of my friends would give me *that look* if I were to suggest Shilifang.
I think this largely has to do with their tacky décor more than everything. That bright purple walls, Pokemon toys which look fake, and staff having to wear those (fake) Pokemon caps inviting people to come in.
Soups include Specialty Mala Soup, Tonic Chicken Soup, Beauty Collagen Chicken, Nourishing Fish, and Tasty Mushroom Soup.
Try their Tomato Base soup for light tanginess and sweetness in the broth, which would become more flavourful after addition of the meats. So actually the soup base was not that bad, though you know the meats are not of the highest quality.
* Follow @DanielFoodDiary on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube for more food news, food videos and travel highlights. Daniel’s Food Diary paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.
HAIDILAO: TAKING CHINESE HOTPOT TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Twenty-three years after opening its first restaurant, China’s Haidilao hot pot chain is hotter than ever. With its special business model and service creativity, people happily wait in line for two hours to get a table. At Haidilao, even the lonely eaters never eat alone – they get a teddy bear to dine with them.
I t has been over two decades since Zhang Yong, the owner of Haidilao (海底捞), set up his first hot pot restaurant in Jianyang, Sichuan, with a mere investment of 10,000 yuan (±1470$). Now, 23 years later, it has become the dominant hot pot chain in the country. The restaurant is popular across China, where it has an annual turnover of approximately 450 million dollars.
In Beijing alone, the chain has 36 locations. From Shanghai to Shenzhen, Haidilao has 176 outlets in 53 Chinese cities. The chain allegedly opens 20 new restaurants every year. By now, Haidilao has over 15,000 people working for them and has also gone international, with more restaurants opening up in Singapore, the USA, and Seoul.
How did a restaurant serving such a traditional and ubiquitous Chinese dish become such a success? Hot pot restaurants, where fresh meat and vegetables are dipped in simmering broth, are extremely common across China. But Zhang Yong chose to market Haidilao and its authentic Sichuan hot pot with an innovative strategy: high-service, high-tech, and high-quality.
High-Service Hot Pot: “Brainwashing” Staff
Except for the tasty hotpot, anyone who has ever visited Haidilao will surely remember one thing: here, you can get a free manicure while you wait. The restaurant has become so popular that waiting in line for one or two hours to get a table is no exception. But with an entertainment area that provides customers with board games, free snacks, drinks, manicures, massages, and even shoe polish services, queuing has become part of the Haidilao experience.
The ‘entertainment area’ is just of the many ways in which Haidilao accommodates to its customers’ desires. There is ample staff for every table. Customers with longer hair get free hairbands to tie their hair back while eating. Customers with glasses are provided with eyeglass cleaning tissue. There are special aprons to avoid stained clothing, and even handbags get their own protection. At the Haidilao toilets, staff will hand out hand towels and provide customers with any toiletry items they may need.
Anyone working at Haidilao is thoroughly trained. On question-and-answer platform Zhihu.com, former Haidilao servers shared their experiences of working at the restaurant. They explain that all Haidilao workers have to follow a compulsory training after they are accepted to come work at the restaurant.
The training is provided by people who have worked at the chain for at least 3 to 5 years, who teach new workers about corporate culture and Haidilao food. The staff learns how to welcome guests, how to make small talk to set a good atmosphere, and learn about the restaurant rules (always smile, never quarrel with customers, etc).
According to some former workers, working at Haidilao is a bittersweet experience. Since the staff works, lives, and eats together, their whole lives basically revolve around their work, except for the 4 days off they have per month.
Although there are some who applaud the company for setting the work ethic and for its relatively luxurious common dorms and good canteen, there are also those who say that Haidilao “brainwashes” its staff by creating its own community with “ridiculous rules” (staff cannot use customer’s toilets, all workers have to turn in their mobile phones before their shifts, working very long hours, etc).
Haidilao’s staff management and training have become a popular topic for marketers and scholars in China. Over recent years, many Chinese academic books and articles have been published that focus on Haidilao’s business model innovation, its service creativity, and customer satisfaction.
High-Tech Hot Pot: Ordering through iPad
Although Haidilao is not as digital as ‘newcomer’ Wodi Huoguo, it does fully incorporate China’s digital developments into its restaurants.
All tables are equipped with a charge station for mobile phones (iPhone, Android), and a personal tablet for customers to go through the menu to order the hot pot and all ingredients and drinks. Items ordered through the tablet arrive at the table within minutes. The restaurant also provides free Wi-fi in all areas. Needless to say, they accept WeChat and Alipay as payment methods.
Haidilao also provides online reservation and ordering services. Customers can order the Haidilao hotpot to their home – they’ll even bring the pot itself. Afterward, they will come to pick up the dirty dishes.
The Haidilao Wechat app has several features. One especially fun one is its online gaming area, where gamers can compete and win discounts on their next hot pot bill.
High-Quality Hot Pot: Outstanding
No matter how good the service is, eventually it all comes down to taste and quality in order to make customers come back. The Haidilao chain has strict rules on quality control, and carefully selects its suppliers. This is something that is especially important to Chinese customers, since China has seen ample food scandals over the last decade.
Haidilao offers new variations on standard hot pot recipes, adding new recipes and dishes every year.
Haidilao also offers a condiment bar with over 20 dipping sauces, from sesame dip to spicy oil, as well as side dishes such as cucumbers, peanuts, and fresh fruit.
The restaurant consistently gets good reviews, also from the expat community. In the restaurant awards by magazines such as Time Out and Beijinger, Haidilao has often won prices throughout the year, including those for “Best Hot Pot,” “Outstanding Service,” or “Outstanding Chinese Restaurant of the Year.”
You Never Eat Alone
On Weibo, Haidilao is also praised by many netizens, although some say that “the service is so good that it actually becomes embarrassing.” (“I just needed a band-aid but the servant personally came and helped me put it on.”)
Recently, netizens find Haidilao’s latest service addition especially funny whoever eats alone at Haidilao is now provided with a teddy bear to accompany them at the table. “I am happy with this new friend Haidilao picked out for me,” one netizen posted.
Many netizens post pictures of their Teddy friend on Weibo.
There are also those who post pictures of guests at other tables, saying: “So it really is true that people at Haidilao dine with teddy bears!”
One Haidilao story especially attracted attention when this WeChat conversation surfaced online. “I went to eat at Haidilao by myself (..) and I asked the waiter if it was true that I would get a teddybear to eat together with me. They said their restaurant didn’t have teddies and I said never mind. After a while they came up with this one [picture of a cat], and they asked me: ‘Is a cat ok too?‘”
Homelypot Has Individual Hotpot Delivery With Over 80 Ingredients And A Free Electric Pot
Nothing quite compares with the joy of having a hotpot meal with family and friends. The communal cooking and dining experience fosters a sense of togetherness that’s hard to beat. As with all group situations, compromising on a single soup base can sometimes be a prickly issue. Cue Homelypot , a hotpot delivery service that brings us individual hotpots─the first of its kind in Singapore.
The basis of any good hotpot is the broth, and Homelypot has got that settled with their collaboration with CHU Collagen . This partnership brings you three options: the frozen soup brand’s highly raved-about Premium Chicken Collagen Soup ($15) , Premium Laksa Soup ($11) , and Premium Prawn Mee Soup ($11) .
Simply defrost, pour your choice of soup base into a pot, and flip the switch to get started. These broths come in 500ml packages that are just right for one of Homelypot’s electric pots. They’re also sufficiently rich that you can add water as the meal progresses, without losing flavour.
New to Homelypot’s menu of more than 80 items is a limited edition Dumpling Kit ($13.80) that is being launched on 4 May , in conjunction with the upcoming Mother’s Day . The kit includes minced pork, seasonings, dumpling wrappers, and even a disposable knife so the family can wrap your own dumplings, together .
Pop the dumplings into your soup base of choice we went for the CHU Premium Chicken Collagen Soup. This soup is a great neutral-tasting broth that’s sticky with collagen, and creamy, reminiscent of the Beauty Collagen Broth at Beauty In A Pot, but made without preservatives and MSG.
Hotpot isn’t complete without some meats, and we had the Iberico Pork Collar Slice that’s currently on discount, at $7.84 for 220g, rather than its usual price of $9.80. If you’re a Citi Cardmember, get a free portion of this when you spend $50 on Mondays to Thursdays, and enter the code ‘ GETZCITI ’ at check out.
If you’re a beef lover, Fatty Beef Slice ($3.84) is also on discount, down from $4.80 a portion. Get it as part of the Beef Set Meal ($38.80) , which comes with both Fatty Beef Slice, and Beef Thigh Slice. You’ll also get an assortment of ingredients, including Chicken Slice, Lobster Ball, Cheese Tofu, vegetables, mushrooms, and a full set of condiments.
What’s more, any order of the Individual Set Meals gets you a free electrical pot, worth $25.80, and utensil set.
Do note that you’ll have to pay a top-up of $12.80 for the CHU Collagen Premium Chicken Collagen Soup, and $8.80 for either the Premium Prawn Mee Soup, or the Premium Laksa Soup.
Otherwise, they do have a series of other broths that you don’t have to top up for, including Herbal Chicken Soup ($6.50 for 1000ml) , Spicy Mala Soup ($6.50 for 1000ml) , or Wild Mushroom Soup ($7.50 for 1000ml) .
I enjoy ordering seafood ‘noodles’, or pastes, when I have hotpot, simply because it saves me the fuss of peeling prawns. Here at Homelypot, the pastes come in three variations: Premium Tiger Prawn Paste ($5.44, U.P $6.80) , Fish Paste ($2.24, U.P $2.80) , and Sotong Paste ($2.24, U.P $2.80) .
The Premium Tiger Prawn Paste cooks to springy, sweet ends, evidence that fresh prawns are used. I recommend having this in the CHU Premium Prawn Mee broth, just to heighten that umami flavour.
Of course, if the real seafood deal is what you prefer, Homelypot also has Tiger Prawns ($5.80 for 220g) . These come frozen for freshness, and are sizeable.
Otherwise, luxe up your hotpot with Wild Caught Abalone ($11.04, U.P $13.80) . Each serving comes with two abalones, still on their shells. It’s best to watch these, and not overcook them, or they get tough.
Another decadent item on the Homelypot menu is the Japanese Scallop ($6.24, U.P $7.80) . It comes in servings of 220g, which is perfect for a single diner. If you’ve tried buying these from the supermarket, they only ever come in 1kg bags─a problem if you’re the only one eating them, so this is a nifty solution.
Unique to Homelypot are the Mini You Tiao ($3.04, U.P $3.80) , and Salted Egg Youtiao ($8.64, U.P $10.80) . There are two distinct teams on this: one dunks the you tiao for a jiffy so it retains its crunch, and the other allows it to soak up the broth.
It’s pretty much the same toss-up when it comes to the quintessential Beancurd Roll ($2.24, U.P $2.80) , which Homelypot also has on its menu.
Other than the fresh foods, processed food junkies will be happy to know that these guilty treats are also available. Choose from Cheese Tofu ($1.80) , Seafood Sandwich Tofu ($1.80) , Crabmeat Stick ($1.80) , Japanese Snow Crab Leg Stick ($2.24) , Fishball (.80) , Lobster Ball ($3.80) , Pork Luncheon Meat ($2.80) , and Cheese Cocktail Sausage ($2.80) . They’re strong-tasting, so we tossed these into the CHU Premium Laksa Soup─sufficiently gao with dried shrimp, yet not too lemak.
Complete the Homelypot experience with their Condiment Set ($3.80) , included in any Individual Set Meal. It comes with vinegar, soya sauce, oyster sauce, flavoured oil, coriander, chilli powder, fresh chilli padi, and so on.
Whether you’re looking to have a hotpot meal on your own, or a socially responsible hotpot session with friends and family at home, Homelypot is a comprehensive, one-stop hotpot solution, elevated with premium soup bases through their collaboration with CHU Collagen . Delivery fees are chargeable, and range from $7 to $15 , depending on location and weather conditions.
13 Freebies At Hai Di Lao Singapore To Take Advantage Of During Your Next Hotpot Feast
When we Singaporeans think of having hotpot, the household name Hai Di Lao probably pops up immediately in our minds. And regardless of whichever outlet you check out, there’s always a long queue. That’s no surprise though, as not only is their food mouth-watering, they’re also extremely generous with their freebies.
If you’re new to the Hai Di Lao scene or a loyal customer who has yet to uncover the full list of perks to be had, check out these freebies that all Hai Di Lao Singapore outlets offer, and make sure you tick them off your list during your next meal there.
Check out our video on HDL hacks:
1. Free-flow snacks like popcorn and ice cream while queuing
The queues at Hai Di Lao can get crazy long and to stop your stomach from growling, they offer up all types of sweet and savoury treats while you wait for your seats. These options range from popcorn to watermelon slices and even ice cream.
These are refillable, so be sure to pop by their snack counter for seconds
2. iPhone screen protector replacement
Image credit: ZGXoff
Getting a new phone screen protector isn’t always cheap, but at Hai Di Lao, you can get it replaced for free. And it’s not of some flimsy low-grade quality either, we’re talking tempered glass.
Do take note that their screen protectors are only available for iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S and 7.
3. Gel manicure and gloves
Image credit: HaiDiLao Singapore
Yes, ladies, this is probably one of the reasons why Hai Di Lao’s queues are extraordinarily long. They sure know how to pamper their female customers who’re waiting for their seats by providing them with free gel manicures . Children who are yearning to get their nails done too are more than welcome.
Customers can choose between having simple single-coloured nails or themed nail art designs during festive occasions. To protect your freshly done nails, the restaurant also provides you with plastic gloves.
*This service is currently unavailable until further notice due to COVID-19.
4. Prawn peeling service
Image credit: HaiDiLao Singapore
We all know one person who only eats prawns if they’re peeled, and whether you’re that pampered person or the one who ends up doing the peeling, you’d be glad to know that the restaurant offers up free prawn peeling services .
Simply wave to any friendly staff and state your request and voila, you got it. Say goodbye to dirty hands and just sit back and enjoy your meal.
5. Side dishes when you solve puzzles
This sudoku puzzle given out by HaiDiLao is impossible to solve
Image credit: @Apocsky_
For those looking for more than just walking to and from the snack counter to pass time while queuing, give Hai Di Lao’s quizzes and challenges a shot. Solve them, and you’ll get a free side dish worth $6 .
We recommend trying out the origami challenge to fold paper cranes and stars. Under this category, you’ll get a free side dish for every 30 paper cranes or 100 stars folded. Redemptions for origami activities are unlimited so jia you!
Those who prefer something more analytical can try solving a Rubik’s cube or sudoku puzzle while waiting. However, the side dishes under this category are limited to 1 redemption per table.
6. Charging ports and wifi
You’ll need some juice and Wifi to IG story your spread of meats at HDL
Yas, charging ports and WiFi . The charging ports are built into every table so just whip out your USB and refuel your phone’s battery juice if you’re running low for that perfect flat lay shot.
The username and password for the free WiFi are as follows:
7. Birthday fruit platter and longevity buns during birthday month
One year older, one year healthier. To celebrate your birthday, Hai Di Lao will give you a free fruit platter during your birthday month. And we’re not looking at just a small plate with only 1 type of fruit. We’re looking at a huge spread including mangoes, kiwi, tomatoes, and seedless grapes.
The elderly get something a little different – longevity buns , which represent health and long life in Chinese culture. In addition, the restaurant also loans all birthday peeps a giant LED-light display signboard with the words “Happy Birthday”
8. Children’s playroom
Image credit: HaiDiLao Singapore
Hai Di Lao is a family-friendly place thanks to the restaurant’s playrooms for children . These spaces can be found across all outlets and contain toys, games, and slides to keep the little ones entertained.
Parents can also request for the baby cot to be brought directly to their table so they can keep a closer eye on their toddlers.
*This service is currently unavailable until further notice due to COVID-19.
9. Side dishes when you flash your GV ticket at Hai Di Lao Plaza Singapura
Golden Village moviegoers, here’s a deal for you. Whip out your movie ticket and you’ll get a free side dish ($6) of your choice. Note that free side dishes are limited to 1 per customer, no matter how many tickets you might have on hand, and this deal is only limited to the Plaza Singapura outlet.
10. Hair ties
Image credit: Ebay
Ladies (and gentlemen) with long hair will understand how it always gets in the way when eating. Once again, Hai Di Lao comes to the rescue with their FOC hair ties so you don’t have to borrow from your friends. Aside from helping you keep your hair in place, the restaurant will also provide you with aprons to protect your clothes from stains.
11. Ziplock bag to protect your phone from soup splashes
You can also request smaller zip lock bags to protect other personal belongings like jewellery
Image credit: Wander In The Raine By Sherraine YQ
Placing your phone anywhere near boiling water is pretty precarious, but many of us take the risk anyway. But to give our phones extra protection, the restaurant provides free ziplock bags in case of any soup or drink spillage.
12. Free Hai Di Lao membership to chalk up points to redeem branded gifts
Image credit: HaiDiLao Singapore
Loyal fans of Hai Di Lao, here’s an extra excuse for you to continue dining there. If you sign up for Hai Di Lao’s membership program, you’ll receive points for every dollar spent ($1=1 point), which can be used to redeem attractive branded prizes such as Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryers. The gifts change every few months, so you’ll always be surprised by what’s offered next.
Image credit: HaiDiLao Singapore
It’s completely free to be a member so just notify any of the staff of your request and you’re in the fam.
13. Zero corkage fee
Image credit: @valnyang
We know how particular restaurants can be sometimes, with all their rules about not allowing drinks purchased from other stores to be brought in. Well, that’s something you won’t have to worry about at Hai Di Lao Singapore since they don’t charge you corkage . Yep, feel free to bring your bubble tea into the restaurant without having to worry about it getting confiscated.
Hacks and freebies at Hai Di Lao Singapore
And there you have it, an extensive list of freebies to look out for apart from just Hai Di Lao’s manicure services. We hope that this list will make your next visit extra memorable as you nab every one of these good steals.
For more Hai Di Lao hacks and tips:
Originally published on 22nd July 2019. Last updated by Josiah Neo on 5th January 2021.
Tianjin Airlines flies direct from London Gatwick to Chongqing twice a week, from around £420 return.
The Regent Chongqing, which opened last year, is a well-located hotel with killer views over the Jialing River and the downtown skyscrapers. Doubles from RMB 1,385 (£160), B&B.
Chengdu Food Tours offer foodie tours of Chendgu from 400RMB (£45), and can arrange bespoke Chongqing tours (price on request).
You’ll find Lin Jiang Men on Ba Yi Lu Road. Hot pot costs about £8-10 per person.