Finally came to One Pot for steamboat dinner with kakis since meeting owner Brent Tay at Maureen's office warming party. In my mind, One Pot is "Singapore style" steamboat because steamboats on our sunny island were like this for as long as I can remember.
One Pot is located in a little "remote" place tucked away near the National Stadium at the fringe of the CBD (Central Business District). It's a "secret" 50 cents morning coffee stop for folks in the know, working in the city.
This is actually a historic place, the oldest still operational hawker centre in Singapore. Over half a century old, it is the same design as those old hawker centres in Johor Malaysia today.
So, I asked Brent how he found such a gem of a hawker centre in the middle of "nowhere".
Brent was a top Singapore skater in the 1990s and he spent much of his youth at the skating rink in the nearby Singapore Indoor Stadium. This quiet little hawker centre was the lepak lepak or hang out of Brent and his friends. He thought to himself then, "How good if I can have my own stall here... ."
Late last year, the opportunity came and Brent grabbed it. You heard it before, "Success is when preparation meets opportunity". So, thanks to Brent realising his dream, we can now lepak lepak in a vintage hawker centre, very near but a step away from the maddening city crowd.
Brent's One Pot works the night shift - the only stall opened at night here, so there's plenty of clean tables. One Pot opens at 6pm till sold out (closed on Mondays except public holidays and PH eve).
The idea is simple, customers get a pot of free pork bone stock on a tabletop gas stove. There is only one type of stock / soup, which is fine by me. Ingredients set comes according to per pax servings - 1 pax $18, 2 pax $28, 3 pax $38. There's 4 of us, so ours was $48. Easy as 1,2,3.... .
Besides the basic set, we can add additional a la carte ingredients in boxes. (Pro tip: Must get the 虾饺 har kow or prawn dumpling - ask Brent for it.)
There are 3 types of sauces - all hot. Just hot, hotter, hottest. Brent is proud of his Thai inspired secret chili sauce. Try them all! My favourite is still the simple chopped raw chili pepper 😝
Everything was so fresh. Brent goes to the market every morning to personally hand pick his ingredients. He sells everything the same day as he is usually sold out by 10pm latest.
Brent buys whole Batang fish and cuts it up himself. (Pro tip: Check in at One Pot enough times, and you qualify to ask Brent for the Batang fish head 😄 )
Brent has good sources for his ingredients. These hand made fishballs were excellent. Fresh, has a slight spring to the bite when cooked, and has a subtle fresh fish sweetness. Love it.
Aussie ribeye beef, kurobuta pork etc sliced with One Pot's in house meat slicer, right there at the hawker stall. You won't get those bleedy oxidised meat here 😫
In goes the ingredients into the simmering pot of pork bone stock. The beauty of steamboat is, there is no one right or wrong way to cook it. Anything goes.
Hence, it led renowned food critic 蔡瀾 Chua Lam to publicly lament early this year (2019) that steamboat is the worst form of Chinese cooking "totally lacking in cultural significance" 😂 Aiyah... whatever lah. (Poor Chua Lam was subsequently boiled alive by steamboat lovers around the world.)
But hor, Chua Lam has a point though he might have overstated it (it's showbiz mah.... right?). We can't deny that for every steamboat restaurant opened in lieu of a regular restaurant, a few professional chef jobs were lost. Don't cook me alive hor... 😱
The staff will constantly top up your pot with bone stock and optional Shaoxing rice wine. But, we took this obligatory posed shot for the 'gram - nowadays have to already 😜😂
My most memorable ingredient of the evening was this shrimp dumpling. The fresh shrimp, minced pork and skin were so flavourful together. Make sure to get the right one, ask Brent for it. $1.50 a piece - damn worth it.
Uncle Bob wrapped up his steamboat meal his favourite way, with udon.
I prefer to drown rice in rich stock thick with layers of savoury sweet flavours from all the ingredients that had passed through the pot during the meal.
And, that's the thing about steamboat - everyone can have their favourite way of eating it and enjoy each other's company.
We had a great time.
While at One Pot, get some vadai from Eatz Vadai - it's the better donut 😄
Recommended for you 👍 Nice old Singapore style steamboat. Daily fresh ingredients. Quaint old nostalgic but clean hawker centre. Friendly boss, and attentive table service - something very rare in Singapore hawker centres where self service is the norm. Eat in the cool of the evening. Plenty of free parking. Reasonable pricing too. Pro tip: Many customers bring their own drinks 😉 Cheers 🍻
Restaurant name: One Pot YiGuo (一锅)
Address: 49 Jalan Benaan Kapal Singapore 399644 (next to "The Cage")
GPS: 1°18'04.1"N 103°52'45.1"E 🌐 1.301140, 103.879203
Nearest MRT: Not that near to Mountbatten and Kallang 😂
Tel: 9007 7959 (Brent)
Hours: 6:00pm - 10:00pm or sold out (closed Monday except on PH or public holiday eve)
Date visited: 20 May 2019