Eat Singapore Hot Pot at Hai Di Lao
I’m too lazy to cook hot pot tonight.
Let’s go check out Hai Di Lao.
Hai Di Lao Hot Pot tl;dr
- Very Entertaining Place
- Fresh and Various Ingredients
- Unlimited Soy Bean Dessert
You ever eat hot pot? No, I don’t mean a pot of broth where you throw in a bunch of half cocked, poorly thought out combination of foods! I mean, a table of cooking soul moving liquid warmth that you thoughtfully selected fresh ingredients to go with your personally custom sauce at a venue where they try to tend to you every whim before you even know it?
Snacks on Snacks
Well, lucky for you, I know a place called Hai Di Lao on the very top floor of VivoCity! At the end of the escalator, you’ll learn that this magical restaurant is the culinary vision of a Chinese factory worker brought to life. And after letting them know that you’re there, you can choose to eat before even ordering. After being seated, you’ll get the chance to make some key decisions on how the rest of your meal will proceed:
- Which broth do you want?
- Do you want to make your own sauce?
- Will you want hand pulled noodles?
You’ll also then get to see some noodle acrobatics and maybe even have room for dessert. After everything is said and done you can get some kettle corn to take home; they are just going to throw it away anyways.
Look at all those snacks
Waiting Isn’t Half Bad
Nothing replaces fast service, but sometimes you have to wait for your turn. And waiting can be tiresome and irritating but it doesn’t have to be. At Hai Di Lao, they help you pass the time with all manner of snacks and other forms of entertainment. From what I could tell, there was also a children’s play area for the young hot pot eating crowd.
Yes, you read what I said correctly. You’ll be able to:
- Watch some TV
- Eat some snacks
- Eat some ice cream
- Line up to get your nails done
- and even more!
Getting Your Nails Done
They really take the stress and misery out of waiting for your table. However, with that being said, Nadia has yet to ever actually enjoy the benefit of having a nail salon in the lobby area. The last time she put her name down, they eventually did call her…. That is, called her after we finished our meal and were sleeping off our food coma.
Fresh Food Choices
What to eat? There are so many choices that it makes it hard sometimes. Trying to decide the broth, the noodles, the meats, fishes, balls, and vegetables can be a time consuming process. Perhaps one thing we should have done was look at the menu while we were in the waiting room instead of eating all the free food… But maybe it was a blessing in disguise since I know for a fact that we would have simply ordered everything under the influence of hunger.
I always found that making your own sauce is a self exploration of your taste buds. I don’t think any 2 sauces are the same. Just like with the ingredient menu, there’s so many prepared sauce options that you may find yourself standing their for a while. Sorting and picking between the white pepper, sesame oil, ground up peanuts or cut up dried chilis can be very thought provoking.
Mushrooms on Mushrooms
- Mala broth
- Make your own sauce
- Pork / Beef Cuts
- Seafood balls
Looking over our order, perhaps we weren’t completely free of hunger’s influence after all. That aside, everything came out in orderly fashion.
Surprisingly, the staff took great pains to offer things that would make our experience a better one:
- Rubber bands for hair
- Plastic bags for our phones
- Plastic bibs
It was a nice touch with addressing some possible eating blunders with prevention. Let me tell you, you don’t want to drop your phone in hot broth.
Beef and More Pork
Hot Pot For Both Her and Me
Somethings that we enjoyed immensely was the hand pulled noodle guy doing some fascinating noodle moves. Is it bad that I was secretly waiting for him to hit me or Nadia in the face with an errant noodle? That would have been funny.
Another item on the menu that I didn’t get to take a photo of is the ever so slightly sweet bean curd dessert. I literally ate my body weight in bean curd. I simply would get a fresh bowl of sweet tofu goodness, bring it back to the table, inhale it, and then wash and repeat. I’m glad that Nadia was able to roll me out of there by herself.
When it All Comes Together
Hai Di Lao is a great spot for communal dining with those you love to spend time with, eat with, and compare the merits of which sauce goes better with which ingredient. Suffice to say, Nadia and I had a great time even though it can be pricey ordering so many different options (be sure to eat a lot of the free food before hand) but it is definitely a dining experience not to be missed.
Just be sure to dress appropriately; ie stretchy pants!
On Another Note
I heard that they sell the broth at grocery stores now so I’m going to go check that out and report later!
What’s your favorite hot pot broth?