Wow I already had three steamboat dinners over the past ten days! You know how steamboat dinners tend to be. People always stuff themselves with more food than their body can take, and that’s exactly what happened during each and every one of those dinners.

The first was a reunion dinner at home on Chinese New Year eve, which I had already blogged about. The second was on Saturday at Tian Tian Huo Guo (Happy Pay Steamboat) along Tan Quee Lan Street, behind Bugis Junction.

As with almost all steamboat places, we could have unlimited food servings including tiger prawns. The corn ribs soup and snakehead fish soup in particular were pretty good. Stay away from the mala soup though. It’s too spicy and oily and didn’t taste nice at all; it’s basically just chilli oil. Not too sure how much it cost per person because it was my brother who footed the bill.

Update: I got the receipt from my bro and found that the total bill came up to an exorbitant $170 for six of us! They charged $19.80 per person, and $10 per steamboat of soup. We had three steamboats altogether so that works out to $30 for soup alone! To charge for soup is utterly ridiculous! They charged 10% service charge, and yet also charged for the towels we used. Total suckers! And they have the nerve to call themselves the “Happy Pay Steamboat Restaurant”. Please boycott this place everyone. I know I’m gonna.

For today, it was steamboat at Chuan Yi Pin restaurant, beside the new funky shopping complex, icon, also behind Bugis Junction. It cost $15++ per person and didn’t have a wide offering of food. They did offer unlimited servings of prawns though. I think I ate over fifty prawns within the last ten days. Anyway, what I like about the place is that they allow diners to concoct their own sauces.

Diners could concoct sauces from a wide variety of ingredients.

I think the sauces I made were rather good! By the way, if you hate the stench of smelly beancurd the way I do, you may wish to stay away from this particular steamboat restaurant, or choose the most indoor or basement table. The Taiwanese snacks restaurant next door sells smelly beancurd, which has a stench that really cannot be underestimated.

One time I was waiting for the lift at the icon shopping complex at least twenty metres away and smelled an awful stench. It was easily the worst smell that had ever entered my nostrils this lifetime. But of course at that time I didn’t realise it came from the smelly beancurd. I thought the plants nearby had all been newly fertilised, or somebody’s dog had taken a dump. I took the lift up to the top level, no problem. One level down, no problem, and so on. But by the time I got to the third floor, the pungent smell came back at full force! And I thought the dog poo had somehow found its way up the building. Only when I chanced upon the smelly beancurd restaurant later on did I realise that’s what’s causing the stench.

Of course, I’m sure there are many people who love smelly beancurd. But to me it really smells much worse than crap! I could never bring myself to eat it! But I am still really curious as to how anyone could like the dish. If you have something to say about how great smelly beancurd is, please post a comment or send me an email.

News updates

February 3, 2007: My list of Best (& Worst) Restaurants in Singapore for 2006
– Tian Tian Huo Guo (Happy Pay Steamboat) is the runner-up for “Worst Restaurant of the Year”