With Singapore headed into the cool season, there’s no better time to settle for some fuss-free, wholesome hotpot with your friends or family. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding Rochor district on the ground level of Wilkie Edge, Hai Xian Lao is a hidden gem, compared to many other hotpot places.
We spotted several photos of celebrities plastered on Hai Xian Lao’s walls, including local director Jack Neo – a seeming testament to their understated popularity. The black marble topped tables also lent a sophisticated touch, with rounded dining chairs providing privacy for those looking for a more intimate experience.
Hai Xian Lao’s menu is an extensive one, ranging from homemade specials like stuffed tofu and seafood paste, to hotpot staples including noodles, seafood, meats, vegetables, and fried finger food to whet diners’ appetites.
Those who wish to sample a little bit of everything can opt for Hai Xian Lao’s dinner buffet, available from 5pm – 10pm daily at $34.80++ for adults and $15.80++ for children (minimum 2 pax to dine for 120 minutes).
We had a plate of Salted Egg Fried Fish Skin ($15.80) to start. Not the run-of-the-mill kind, every plate is cooked a la minute, and generously caked with salted egg yolk.
Diners can choose from 7 soup bases, including the Healthy Collagen (add $3.00 for buffet dinners), Tom Yum, Sichuan Spicy, Tomato, Laksa, Chicken, and a unique Prawn SoupBase, which is limited to 10 pots per day. Soup bases are priced at $18.80 – $20.80, with an additional $5 charge for the third.
Of the three soup bases we tried, the Healthy Collagen Soup Base was the most appealing in taste. Even before adding the ingredients, the soup yielded a comforting, nourishing taste that left me wanting more. A pity it got a tad oily as the night went on.
The Prawn Soup Base will definitely appeal to those who appreciate intense flavours, while we could not resist dipping our food continuously in the Sichuan Spicy Soup Base.
The meats were delicately sliced and very tender; the US Wagyu Beef Striploin ($26.80) was no doubt our favourite of the night, with the flavours of the meat and the soup melting simultaneously and sending our tastebuds to heaven.
Not to be missed is the Pork Belly Platter ($14.80), a trio of Spanish fruit-fed Pork Belly ($8.80 ala carte), Duroc Pork Belly ($12.80 ala carte), and the Mercedes Benz of pork bellies – Japan Kurobuta Pork Belly ($17.80 ala carte)!
Needless to say, we were thoroughly stuffed with the seemingly endless cuts of meat, and that was just the beginning of our hot pot feast!
No meal at Hai Xian Lao is complete without their Homemade Specialties ($18.80), a smorgasbord of homemade dumplings, meatballs, and prawn paste. Aside from the visually attractive plating, what won me over was the incredibly fresh ingredients used. The mixture of mushrooms, vegetables, and meat in each ball yielded a delightfully chewy texture with every bite, while the prawn paste injected some momentary DIY fun for us before the friendly staff took over.
Speaking of seafood, we also loved the Live Tiger Prawns ($16.80), which tasted fresh and sweet after cooked.
Balancing out our feast of meat and seafood, we finished off with the Farmer Favourite ($13.80), a selection of greens, corn, and sliced lotus root. Like the meats, the vegetables in our basket were very fresh, and the softened leaves made for a great accompaniment to all that meat.
Efficient staff and fresh, wholesome food make Hai Xian Lao an ideal place to cave into your hot pot cravings minus the arduous waiting time. With over 80 ingredients on the menu, you’ll never run out of things to try!
Reservations can be made via Quandoo!
Hai Xian Lao
8 Wilkie Rd, Singapore 228095
Daily: 11am – 5am
Words and Images by @chuepachups
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