Hai Di Lao

August 05, 2018 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Hai Di Lao
3D River Valley Road
#02-04 Clarke Quay

313 Orchard Road
#04-23 313@Somerset

2 Jurong East Street 21
#03-01 IMM

1 Harbourfront Walk
#03-09 VivoCity

311 New Upper Changi Road
#01-13 Bedok Mall

103 Irrawaddy Road
#06-01 Royal Square

68 Orchard Road
#04-20 Plaza Singapura

33 Sengkang West Avenue
#03-36 The Seletar Mall

30 Sembawang Drive
#02-01 Sun Plaza

10 Paya Lebar Road
#03-11 Paya Lebar Quarter

2 Tampines Central 5
#02-22 Century Square

6 Raffles Boulevard
#01-19 Marina Square


http://www.haidilao.com/sg/


Hai Di Lao Meal
Hai Di Lao Meal



Excellent Premium Ala-Carte Hot Pot

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 8
Ambience & Setting: 9
Food & Beverage: 7
Service: 10
Value for Money: 8
Spent about SGD $43 per person.


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I've fond memories of excellent dining experiences at Hai Di Lao in Beijing, China, so when Hai Di Lao opened in Singapore in September 2012, I was keen to see if they maintained the same standard of excellence. They did. And, they still do, even after expanding to several outlets in the last few years.

Ambience at Hai Di Lao exudes an elegant opulence. The fittings appear luxurious in shades of black, wood, white, red, and gold, the neatly lined comfortable cushioned booths with privacy screens being warmly lit by elegant chandeliers overhead. Intricate oriental artwork adorn the walls. For those visiting on weekends, there are scheduled Chinese operatic performances that occur during peak hours for your entertainment. Befitting of a premium hot pot restaurant. In addition, they also offer free snacks and drinks while waiting, and free manicure services, as queues can stretch up to 1 - 2 hours or more.

Service at Hai Di Lao remains excellent. In fact, their service is the best component about dining here, more so than the food or ambience, which is easily replicated. The warm, friendly, engaging, and attentive service is what keeps us, and most diners, coming back time after time. It's the personalised attention that staff display, along with good product knowledge, efficiency in fulfilling orders or clearing tables, proactiveness in meeting needs, or just making diners feel really comfortable and welcome.

Food at Hai Di Lao is Chinese steamboat / hot pot cuisine, where you cook a variety of ingredients, including meat, seafood, vegetable, and staples, in a steaming bowl of soup / broth base. Quality of ingredients is above average, and more importantly, fresh. Delicious and tasty too. While portions are nicely sized for sharing between 2 - 4 people, everything is ala-carte here, there is no buffet option, so prices tend to be higher than usual. Budget about SGD $43 per person for a meal here.


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Hai Di Lao Signage
Hai Di Lao Signage


Hai Di Lao Signage


Hai Di Lao Exterior
Hai Di Lao Exterior


Hai Di Lao Interior
Hai Di Lao Interior


Waiting Area
Waiting Area


Waiting Area


Seating
Seating


Seating


Seating


Table Setting
Table Setting


Free Manicure Area
Free Manicure Area


Breath Mints & Toothpicks
Breath Mints & Toothpicks


Sauce Recipes
Sauce Recipes



Sampled the Soup Base Duo - Chicken & Mushroom (SGD $23) on a visit. The Soup Base Mushroom is thin with an earthy sweet herbal flavour, while the Soup Base Chicken is light with a sweet savoury salty herbal flavour. Both are good, but I prefer the chicken soup / broth.
On another occasion, we got the Soup Base Quadruple - Seafood, Tomato, Chicken, Sichuan Mala. The Soup Base Seafood is creamy with a sweet oceany flavour, the Soup Base Tomato is fragrant with a fruity vegetal sweet flavour, and the Soup Base Sichuan Mala has a sharp but short savoury peppery spicy burn that entices the palate.


Soup Base Duo - Chicken & Mushroom (SGD $23)


Soup Base Duo - Chicken & Mushroom
Soup Base Duo - Chicken & Mushroom


Soup Base Quadruple - Seafood, Tomato, Chicken, Sichuan Mala
Soup Base Quadruple - Seafood, Tomato, Chicken, Sichuan Mala


Soup Base Mushroom
Soup Base Mushroom


Soup Base Chicken
Soup Base Chicken


Soup Base Tomato
Soup Base Tomato


Soup Base Sichuan Mala
Soup Base Sichuan Mala


Soup Base Seafood
Soup Base Seafood



The DIY Sauce (SGD $4 per person for all sauces & desserts) allows you to customise your own dipping sauce from a range of 25 different ingredients. My personal sauce mix includes the sesame sauce, sesame seeds, bird's eye chili, spring onions, and paprika powder. Sometimes, I also add garlic, chili oil, or crushed peanuts.

DIY Sauce
DIY Sauce (SGD $4 per person for all sauces & desserts)



While water is complimentary, any other drinks and beverages, like the Winter Melon Tea (SGD $3 per person, refillable), is chargable per person.

Winter Melon Tea
Winter Melon Tea (SGD $3 per person, refillable)



For ingredients, my personal favourites include the Raw Sliced Fish (SGD $8.50 half portion), the Raw Marinated Beef (SGD $16 full portion), the Raw Pork & Corn Meat Balls (SGD $4 half portion), and the Raw Fish Balls With Roe (SGD $4 half portion).

Raw Mushrooms - Shiitake, Straw, King Trumpet, Golden
Raw Mushrooms - Shiitake, Straw, King Trumpet, Golden (SGD $9 half portion)


Raw Corn
Raw Corn (SGD $3 half portion)


Raw Spinach
Raw Spinach (SGD $6 full portion)


Raw Lettuce
Raw Lettuce (SGD $6 full portion)


Raw Pumpkin
Raw Pumpkin (SGD $3 half portion)


Raw Sliced Fish
Raw Sliced Fish (SGD $8.50 half portion)


Raw Pork Belly
Raw Pork Belly (SGD $15 full portion)


Raw Black Pork
Raw Black Pork (SGD $19 full portion)


Raw U.S. Beef Slices
Raw U.S. Beef Slices (SGD $22 ful portion)


Raw Marinated Beef
Raw Marinated Beef (SGD $16 full portion)


Raw Pig's Intestines
Raw Pig's Intestines (SGD $6.50 half portion)


Raw Salmon Cheese Sausage
Raw Salmon Cheese Sausage (SGD $5 half portion)


Raw Luncheon Meat
Raw Luncheon Meat (SGD $4 half portion)


Raw Hand Made Shrimp Cakes
Raw Hand Made Shrimp Cakes (SGD $8 half portion)


Raw Hand Made Cuttlefish Cakes
Raw Hand Made Cuttlefish Cakes (SGD $7 half portion)


Raw Pork Meat Balls
Raw Pork Meat Balls (SGD $6 half portion)


Raw Pork & Corn Meat Balls
Raw Pork & Corn Meat Balls (SGD $4 half portion)


Raw Fish Balls With Roe
Raw Fish Balls With Roe (SGD $4 half portion)



Staff will offer to assist in cooking and serving, though you can also do it yourself. While it's ala-carte, the sharing portions are sufficient enough, and will fill you up quickly.

Cooked Mushrooms - Shiitake, King Trumpet, Shrimp Cake, Cuttlefish Cake, Pork Meat Ball, Pork & Corn Meat Ball


Cooked Spinach, Sliced Fish, Marinated Beef, Luncheon Meat


Cooked Fish Ball With Roe, Pig's Intestine, Salmon Cheese Sausage


Cooked Fish Ball With Roe Inside


Cooked Mushrooms - Straw, Black Pork, Hand Pulled Noodles


Cooked Corn


Dessert Watermelon
Dessert Watermelon (SGD $4 per person for all sauces & desserts)


Dessert Lime Sorbet
Dessert Lime Sorbet



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Update Sep-2020: Returned to visit everyone's favourite premium hotpot steamboat restaurant, Hai Di Lao. It's no surprise they've grown over the years in Singapore, with their consistently excellent ambience, service, and food, making the boss of Hai Di Lao the richest person in Singapore this year. Even the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic doesn't seem to have dampened business at Hai Di Lao, as it still draws crowds, with waiting times of up to 1 hour or more during peak meal periods.

The Beer Heineken (SGD $12) is a popular Dutch brand of pale lager beer, brewed by the company of the same name. It has a light straw golden colour, with aromas and tastes of hops, barley malt, wheat, and steel. The body is thin, lively, and watery, with a delicate grainy sweet bitter flavour, with almost no aftertaste, and a dry finish. Inoffensive and drinkable, this is an entry-level, beginner's brew.

Beer Heineken
Beer Heineken (SGD $12)



Got the Spicy Beef Tallow Soup Base & Three Delicacy Soup Base (SGD $23) dual soup base on this visit. The Spicy Beef Tallow Soup Base is spiced with Szechuan / Sichuan peppercorn and chili, resulting in a bright fragrant spicy savoury salty numbing flavour. The Three Delicacy Soup Base has a mild earthy sweet flavour, with a medium milky creamy texture that is so enticing. Staff helped serve the Three Delicacy Soup With Spring Onions to start, and it was lovely.

Spicy Beef Tallow Soup Base & Three Delicacy Soup Base
Spicy Beef Tallow Soup Base & Three Delicacy Soup Base (SGD $23)


Three Delicacy Soup With Spring Onions
Three Delicacy Soup With Spring Onions



Served with the soup order, the Fish Ball Cooked (SGD $Complimentary) was bouncy with a light chew. The fish ball holds mild sweet savoury flavour, but being complimentary, there's only 1 per person. The Fish Ball With Roe Cooked (SGD $6 Half Portion) was as excellent as always, with its light bouncy texture, releasing the sweet briny salty filling of fish roe within in a juicy burst. Can be messy, so take up staff's offer of a dining bib if ordering the fish ball with roe.

Fish Ball Cooked
Fish Ball Cooked (SGD $Complimentary)


Fish Ball With Roe Cooked (SGD $6 Half Portion)


Fish Ball With Roe Cooked
Fish Ball With Roe Cooked



The Assorted Vegetable Platter Raw (SGD $10 Half Portion) is perfect for the undecided, with a fresh, healthy medley of crisp crunchy vegetables; including crown daisy, spinach, cabbage, black fungus / wood ear fungus, golden mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and oyster mushrooms. All these lend lovely vegetal earthy sweet flavour.

Assorted Vegetable Platter Raw
Assorted Vegetable Platter Raw (SGD $10 Half Portion)


Assorted Vegetable Platter Cooked


Assorted Vegetable Platter Cooked
Assorted Vegetable Platter Cooked



The Crispy Dough Pancake (SGD $6 Whole Portion) is essentially Plain Prata / Roti Prata. This Indian style flatbread pancake is crisp and flaky, with a buttery sweet savoury flavour. Pairs especially well with spicy soup / broth base, not unlike dipping it in curry.

Crispy Dough Pancake
Crispy Dough Pancake (SGD $6 Whole Portion)



The Pork Luncheon Meat Raw (SGD $5.50 Half Portion) features thick cut slices of pork luncheon meat / spam, that turn soft and tender when cooked. The Pork Luncheon Meat Cooked Original has a mild savoury salty flavour, while the Pork Luncheon Meat Cooked Spicy has a deeper herbal spicy flavour.

Pork Luncheon Meat Raw
Pork Luncheon Meat Raw (SGD $5.50 Half Portion)


Pork Luncheon Meat Cooked Original
Pork Luncheon Meat Cooked Original


Pork Luncheon Meat Cooked Spicy
Pork Luncheon Meat Cooked Spicy



So rare to have good quality Black Pork Slices Raw (SGD $12 Half Portion) in Singapore. The Black Pork Slices Cooked have a light tender moist meaty chew to texture. The Black Pork Slices Cooked Original has a delicate savoury sweet flavour, while the Black Pork Slices Cooked Spicy holds savoury spicy flavour.

Black Pork Slices Raw
Black Pork Slices Raw (SGD $12 Half Portion)


Black Pork Slices Cooked
Black Pork Slices Cooked


Black Pork Slices Cooked Original
Black Pork Slices Cooked Original


Black Pork Slices Cooked Spicy
Black Pork Slices Cooked Spicy



The Pork Jowl Raw (SGD $8 Half Portion), also known as Pork Cheek, cooks nicely, having a crunchy juicy bite to texture. The Pork Jowl Cooked Original has a light meaty sweet savoury salty flavour, while the Pork Jowl Cooked Spicy has a meaty sweet salty herbal spicy flavour.

Pork Jowl Raw
Pork Jowl Raw (SGD $8 Half Portion)


Pork Jowl Cooked Original
Pork Jowl Cooked Original


Pork Jowl Cooked Spicy
Pork Jowl Cooked Spicy



The House Special Marinade Beef Slices Raw (SGD $9 Half Potion) features thick tender chewy slices of beef, marinated with a house special blend of herbs and spices. The result is the House Special Marinade Beef Slices Cooked Original is naturally flavourful with bold meaty savoury spice notes, while the House Special Marinade Beef Slices Cooked Spicy has robust meaty spicy notes that linger on.

House Special Marinade Beef Slices Raw
House Special Marinade Beef Slices Raw (SGD $9 Half Potion)


House Special Marinade Beef Slices Cooked Original
House Special Marinade Beef Slices Cooked Original


House Special Marinade Beef Slices Cooked Spicy
House Special Marinade Beef Slices Cooked Spicy



The Frozen Tofu Beancurd Raw (SGD $4 Half Portion) picks up the soup / broth that it's immersed in beautifully, thanks to its spongy pourous texture. The Frozen Tofu Beancurd Cooked Original has mild grainy sweet flavour, while the Frozen Tofu Beancurd Cooked Spicy has deep salty savoury herbal spicy flavour.

Frozen Tofu Beancurd Raw
Frozen Tofu Beancurd Raw (SGD $4 Half Portion)


Frozen Tofu Beancurd Cooked Original & Spicy
Frozen Tofu Beancurd Cooked Original & Spicy


Frozen Tofu Beancurd Cooked Spicy & Original
Frozen Tofu Beancurd Cooked Spicy & Original



The Fried Tofu Skin Raw (SGD $6.50 Half Portion) is crisp and crunchy, but turns soft when dipped in the soup / broth, meaning it should be quickly removed. The Fried Tofu Skin Cooked Original has an oily grainy sweet savoury flavour, while the Fried Tofu Skin Cooked Spicy has a oily savoury spicy flavour.

Fried Tofu Skin Raw
Fried Tofu Skin Raw (SGD $6.50 Half Portion)


Fried Tofu Skin Cooked Original
Fried Tofu Skin Cooked Original


Fried Tofu Skin Cooked Spicy
Fried Tofu Skin Cooked Spicy



The dessert changes daily, on this visit, we had the Warm White Fungus Soup With Wolfberries (SGD $Complimentary). The soup is thick and syrup-like, with bright honey sweet herbal flavour, complementing the slippery crunchy white fungus and soft wolfberries / goji berries.

Warm White Fungus Soup With Wolfberries (SGD $Complimentary)



The Watermelon & Guava (SGD $Complimentary) slices are served at the start of the meal, but you can also request for it at the end of your meal. The watermelon is juicy with a bright fruity sweet refreshing flavour, while the crunchy guava has a mild earthy fruity sweet sour flavour.

Watermelon & Guava (SGD $Complimentary)


Watermelon & Guava
Watermelon & Guava



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