It has been raining like clockwork every afternoon these days and when it rains, it is the perfect weather for steamboat! There’s nothing more awesome than ingesting hot steaming soup when the weather turns chilly, don’t you think?
I decided to check out a new steamboat place at Zhongshan Park (Balestier) called Crystal Jade Steamboat Restaurant. To ensure that we won’t be disappointed because of a lack of empty table, I called to make a table reservation for 3 pax – myself, the boy and my mum. Steamboat is also best eaten as a group activity so that you can order more food, i.e. wider variety. Yes?
It did not seem too crowded when we arrived for our 7.30 pm reservation. Apparently, they have 2 seatings – one at 6pm and the other at 7.30pm. It was a weekday so I was surprised that they enforced a specific seating arrangement.
We ordered an array of food items and proceeded to check out the spread of condiments/sauces.
It was near impossible to snap a picture of the entire range of sauces available so you’d have to use your imagination. Basically, you won’t be disappointed. There were all types of sauces, chilli, etc available so you can mix and match to your heart’s content. What I like: There were stacks of empty saucer bowls placed nearby so that you can have as many different types of sauces as you wish. This is quite different from JPot (another steamboat restaurant) where each diner is restricted to one sauce bowl.
I also like that you have the option to have “split” soup because more often than not, I like to have choices! We opted for the traditional broth (can’t remember the name) and the tom yum soup base.
I’ve eaten many different forms of tom yum steamboat soup but this was quite different. You could see the actual spices used to make the broth and this was SPICY and SOUR! The tom yum version at JPot is a lot milder and localised (less sour) in taste.
I love that the ingredients were all fresh. Definitely different from the cheap steamboats you get around town! We also ordered the handmade noodles and they were gooood. They were the texture of ‘ban mian’. See the beancurd skin at the top-left corner? These weren’t great. They were okay but we preferred the ones at JPot. These were a little too thick for our liking.
The bill came up to about $80+ for 3 pax which we thought was pretty reasonable for the quality of food and ambience. I have to add that service was excellent! Soup was frequently topped up and the raw food items were served promptly. The restaurant did fill up pretty quickly but it wasn’t overly noisy. I suspect that it would be running full on weekends so yes, it would be best to call beforehand to make reservations.
Would we return? Probably! Parking wasn’t an issue (big plus!!!) and there’s also a rather large NTUC Finest store at the top floor of Zhongshan Mall. A good place to roam after a big steamboat meal. Oh and they’re open till 2AM!!
Crystal Jade Steamboat Restaurant
20 Ah Hood Road
#01-18 Zhongshan Mall (along Balestier Road)
Tel: 6339 0283
Opening hours: Daily 11.30am – 3.00pm; 5.30pm – 2.00am