Sunday, August 20, 2006

Xiao Ping Hotpot, Temple St, Singapore

When I have a craving for something, I like to try to satisfy it with the best in its genre. After trying a few hotpot places including Chang Chang Lai in the Maxwell Food Alley and a few along the "hotpot" street near Beach Road, I have to say that Xiao Ping at 57 Temple Street in Chinatown still provides the best overall dining experience due to their consistency, predictability, and quality of ingredients. Don't expect fine dining here, it's frequented by mainlanders as well which only serves to enhance the whole "keep-it-real" dining experience, sometimes I almost feel like I'm in China when I'm dining here due to the background heavy accented Mandarin and the ubiquitous Mandarin music being played.

As you can see, their menu is rather extensive. The only thing I wish they would add are pork balls. I'm not really a big fan of seafood and find it too much of a hassle to eat shrimp or prawns unless they're shelled for me which can happen depending on who I'm dining with haha.

The meats are what I'm here for and I normally order up to three rounds of the beef, mutton and pork. Semi-frozen so they can be thinly sliced, this buffet is done a la carte style so you're ensured freshness because your ingredients aren't sitting in a trough for hours. The freshness and quality of the meats are always good. They are cut so thin, you can even cook them shabu shabu style if you so please. They also have a pretty decent range of condiments and sauces which include sesame butter, raw eggs, two types of vinegar and even monosodium glutamate (MSG). Their homemade dumplings are tasty but may often require some reminders before they're served.

I normally order the mixed (yin-yang) version although I think I'll graduate to the pure spicy version soon. This place uses an electric pan to heat up the soup which I think is a good idea because although it takes abit longer for the initial boil, the heat is more consistent and you don't risk bruising your knee against a bulky gas tank.

This place keeps their overheads low by not hiring any workers at all. It's run by a husband and wife team and occasionally their son "helps" out. Not sure about the helping out part because he seems to have a part-time obsession with adjusting the climate by turning down the fanspeed or playing with the air-conditioner (an effort to save electricity??). Those funny quirks aside, this joint is still my place of choice when I feel like a good hit of spicy hotpot. Just get ready for your little own chilli blast in the toilet the next morning (cue all the Richard Pryor toilet humor here).

D

1 comment:

Bwana Clyde said...

I always thought this was the best sichuan hot pot in singapore. I never remembered the exact address but figured I could navigate there by memory. I tried to go tonight, but it didn't seem to be where i remembered it. Is it gone? Gave up and settled for some pretty dreadful hot pot on smith street.