The Singapore hot pot, or steamboat hot pot, is a dish similar to fondue that involves cooking raw, fresh ingredients in a tasty simmering broth.
One of the main differences between fondue and a hot pot recipe is the broth for a hot pot. The broth can vary a lot since it really depends on how you season it!
You can keep it simple and add seasoning or sauces to the meat after cooking or have some fun and make a hot, salty, sweet, sour, or spicy hot pot broth.
Singapore Street Food and Markets
Spencer and I had Singapore hot pot, in (of all places), Singapore, on our honeymoon. My first thought was “Asian fondue!” Well, not exactly.
We went to one of those huge open-air markets that serve a dizzying array of delicious street food. The one we went to was close to Chinatown and just a few blocks from the water.
One thing about Singapore is that it’s spotless. It’s probably one of the cleanest cities I’ve ever been to. So we had no fear of eating from the vendors.
The Singapore hot pot is served in an elaborate pot with a burner, similar to a fondue.
You cook your own meal at a little outdoor table in the square, by adding the ingredients to the bubbling broth.
What is a Hot Pot?
Hotpot Singapore, sometimes called a Singapore steamboat soup, is a method of cooking fresh, raw ingredients in a simmering soup base.
Similar to cooking in a fondue pot, each diner chooses and cooks the ingredients of their choice right in the pot.
The difference is the broth that the meat and hot pot veggies are cooked in, as well as the sauces or ingredients that would be served with each dish.
When ordering a steamboat Singapore, the hot pot arrives first with a very simple, almost flavorless broth. It’s followed by a large platter of the meats, seafood, or vegetables you’ve chosen.
Next, grab your chosen ingredient, such as thinly sliced beef, with your chopsticks and lower it into the soup broth.
Cooking rarely takes more than a minute. You can add vegetables and pull them out when they’re tender. Just like fondue, you can use dipping sauces for your meat.
The Chinese hot pot, soup-food, or steamboat originated in China and has evolved with other variations in Singapore, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand.
Singapore Hot Pot Ingredients
I developed this Singapore hot pot broth recipe based on the soups we had in Singapore and Malaysia.
It is a nice soup for “divided” households, where one or more family members are vegetarian or like different kinds of meat.
Simply serve the chicken, shrimp, or beef separately, and you won’t have to cook twice for your vegetarian.
This is also a fantastic soup to serve to someone who is feeling a bit under the weather. Add more garlic, ginger, and chili oil to help clear up stuffy sinuses!
Though the broth starts out very plain, the magic flavor comes from the steamboat ingredients.
Put out small bowls of ingredients like Asian chili oil, Thai fish sauce, GF soy sauce, sesame oil, coconut aminos, chopped peanuts or cashews, extra bean sprouts, and fresh cilantro.
Add your choice of hot pot condiments, and the simple bowl of broth becomes a hot, sour, salty, spicy, or sweet soup, depending on how you jazz up your own bowl.
Just a few minutes before serving, add snow peas, cubed tofu, and bean sprouts. I used to add udon or glass noodles, but since discovering shirataki noodles, I add those to the broth for a gluten-free, low-carb alternative.
Shirataki hot pot noodles are made from white yams, and they have a similar texture to glass noodles. I purchase them from the produce section of my local grocery store.
Singapore Hotpot is Healthy and Great for Diets!
While I don’t believe in counting calories, a few times a year I just need to give my body a break to get back into the cycle of healthy eating.
January is one of those times when the family begs for this “clean” soup after we’ve all had our fair share of calorie-dense holiday foods.
Soups are a great way to feel full without extra calories. This hot pot recipe fits into Whole30, gluten-free, Paleo, or Keto, making it a great choice for a healthy lifestyle.
Looking for other Whole30 or low carb Asian dishes?
This Chicken Satay with “Peanut” sauce substitutes cashews for peanuts and is a delcious South Easte Asian street food with clean ingredients.
This healthier version of Chinese Chicken Salad skips the wontons and the carbs, but still gets lots of crunch from the almonds and cabbage.
Pork Meat Balls with Sweet and Sour Sauce skip the wonton wrapper, but not the flavor!
Substitute cauliflower rice and this easy Stir Fry is a healthy and easy dish using either chicken, beef or tofu.
Chinese Lettuce Wraps can be made with ground chicken or beef.
Singapore Hot Pot
Hot Pot Broth
- 2 quarts chicken broth (or vegetable)
- 1-2 limes juiced and zested
- 2-3 cloves garlic of minced or sliced
- 1 Tablespoon ginger freshly grated
- 2 Tablespoons Asian sesame oil
Vegetables for Hot Pot
- Any combination of vegetables you choose such as:
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 2 carrots peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 stalks celery thinly sliced diagonally
- 8 ounces mushrooms sliced
- 1 head Baby bok choy (or spinach)
- 4 ounces snow peas sliced diagonally (add last)
- 1 bunch green onions sliced diagonally (add last)
- 4 ounces bean sprouts (add last)
- 1 package shirataki noodles (optional)
- Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Season broth with juice and zest of lemon or lime, fresh ginger, and minced or sliced garlic. Then add vegetables from firm to soft, starting with onions, carrots, celery, bok choy and mushrooms. Simmer gently until all vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
- If serving protein separately, (beef, chicken, shrimp or tofu) cook and place in separate bowls. If not, feel free to add to the soup, cooking until meat is done.
- 5 minutes before serving add sliced snow peas, green onions and bean sprouts. Season to taste with sesame oil and fish sauce if desired.
- Serve soup in large bowls with condiments on the side so that each person can season to his or her liking. Condiments can include: Asian or shirataki noodles, hot chili oil, extra lime wedges, additional sesame oil, chopped peanuts or cashews, cilantro, extra bean sprouts, fish sauce, rice vinegar, coconut aminos or soy sauce.
Condiments to add to the hot pot
- Asian or shirataki noodles, hot chili oil, extra lime wedges, additional sesame oil, chopped peanuts or cashews, cilantro, extra bean sprouts, fish sauce, rice vinegar, coconut aminos or soy sauce.