Reunion steamboat dinners now a breeze with home delivery services

Reunion steamboat dinners are now a breeze with home delivery of stock, ingredients and equipment

Save the time and hassle of lugging heavy groceries home, simmering a soup stock for hours and mixing a special sauce for your upcoming Chinese New Year steamboat reunion meal.

At least five companies are offering delivery services, complete with equipment rental for those who do not have a steamboat at home. Just order online and pick the steamboat packages or a la carte ingredients. In addition, no fewer than three restaurants are offering steamboat takeaways.

It is best to make your orders quickly. Delivery slots are filling fast because steamboat is a popular choice for reunion dinner at home.

Chinese restaurant Peach Garden's Thomson Plaza outlet is offering a takeaway service for the first time and you can even rent a four-tier steamboat. It has eight orders for Chinese New Year eve.

The Soup Spoon chain launched its collagen soup for hotpots last year to great success and this year, customers can also order steamboat ingredients. Premium items include Boston lobster, snow crab leg, sea cucumber and Kuhlbarra barramundi fillet.

Founder Anna Lim, 40, says: "We want to offer customers 'clean' eating options even during the festivities. Our Collagen Soup Stock is simmered for more than 16 hours to a jelly-like consistency. We also recognise family traditions of using mixed pots for steamboat, so we have included a spicy kimchi stock."

Japanese gourmet grocer Emporium Shokuhin's first Chinese New Year catalogue features a wide array of premium meats and seafood for shabu shabu, along with condiments and soup stock.

Business is brisk for steamboat delivery companies such as Eat Together, Happypot, Reunion Steamboat, Mr Steamboat and The Steamboat Specialist all year round.

However, the peak is during Chinese New Year with orders for family and office gatherings.

The Steamboat Specialist's managing director Eileen Sim, 29, says: "We've been receiving orders for Chinese New Year since December last year. This month alone, business is up by 60 per cent, compared to last year."

Reunion Steamboat, which was started in 2014, catered for up to 1,300 people during an SG50 celebration last year. It has more than 100 orders for Chinese New Year.

One of the earlier players in the field, Mr Steamboat, which started in 2012, receives an average of 15 orders a week during non-peak periods.

Co-founder Fred Chan, 33, says: "This year, we have received more than 200 orders for the Chinese New Year period."

To stand out from the competition, many make their own sauces. Mr Steamboat also rents gas and induction cookers, and utensils. It can send out service staff for a fee.

Ms Lena Lee, 32, general manager of iFly Singapore, an indoor skydiving facility in Sentosa, has been ordering from Mr Steamboat since 2013, for Chinese New Year work gatherings for 30 to 45 people. The average cost is about $20 a person for the premium menu with beef, lamb and fresh prawns, which she says is "really worth it".

She says: "We do not have to go through the hassle of setting up the steamboat and buying ingredients. The food is really fresh and the portions sufficient. This is the option when you don't have time or are too busy with Chinese New Year preparations or commitments. We also need not worry about over-ordering or not having enough food.

"Their service is prompt and they go above and beyond to ensure our steamboat dining experience is hassle-free. Once, their delivery vehicle broke down and the managers rushed here to deliver the food to us."


Delivery

HAPPYPOT

What: The Family Hotpot package for up to five people costs $71.10. Groups of up to 30 people can opt for the meat deluxe at $414.30. Additional ingredients can be ordered from the a la carte menu, as well as cooked items such as fried rice and curry chicken.

Info: Order online at steamboatdelivery.com.sg at least a day in advance. Steamboat rental or purchase available. No delivery on Feb 8 and 9.

EAT TOGETHER

What: Started by two brothers who expanded their mother's yong tau foo business. Their yong tau foo comes with all steamboat packages. The basic package starts at $15 a person with a choice of meats, seafood, noodles and soup. Steamboat equipment available for purchase.

Info: Till Feb 7, order at least two days in advance. No delivery charge.

THE STEAMBOAT SPECIALIST

What: Packages start at $80 (five people) and $160 (10 people). They include a variety of seafood, poultry, vegetables and surimi-based products. Additional items can be ordered from the a la carte menu.

Info: Last day to order is tomorrow at thesteamboatspecialist.com.sg. Last day of delivery is Feb 7. Free delivery for orders above $80. Steamboat available for purchase.


PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

MR STEAMBOAT

What: Laksa, tom yam or black herbal chicken soup are among the seven soup bases available, along with dumplings and chilli sauce. Chinese New Year packages start at $188 nett for six people. Yusheng, pen cai or abalone can be added on when ordering Chinese New Year packages.

Info: Order online at mr-steamboat.com a day in advance. Rental for steamboat, tables, chairs and waitstaff service for big events available. Additional $30 surcharge for orders made from Feb 5 to 8.

REUNION STEAMBOAT

What: The basic package starts at $120 (10 to 12 people) with chicken and dory fish slices and goes up to $339 for a premium package (10 to 12 people) with wagyu short ribs, scallops and Kurobuta pork collar. Equipment rental is available. You can also order yusheng and pencai.

Info: Call 6243-7243 or order online at store.reunionsteamboat.com. Feb 7 delivery, from noon to 5pm ($25 surcharge); Feb 8 to 10 delivery, from noon to 2pm ($35 surcharge).


PHOTO: REUNION STEAMBOAT


Takeaway


PHOTO: THE SOUP SPOON

THE SOUP SPOON

What: After the success of its collagen soup stock last year, The Soup Spoon's steamboat sets now include raw ingredients. Prices start at $188 a set (for 12 people) and include collagen, kimchi and chicken stock, with ingredients such as white clams (500g), Boston lobster (600g), salmon fillet (1.1kg) and minced chicken with yamaimo (a type of Japanese yam) balls. Housemade chilli dip and ginger scallion oil are included. The ingredients are also sold a la carte.

When: Till Feb 18, order four days in advance. Last date of collection on Feb 22. Self-collection at central kitchen (01-03, 171 Kampong Ampat) or Raffles City outlet from 10.30am to noon, 4.30 to 6pm except Feb 7 (10.30am to noon, 2 to 3.30pm). No collection on Feb 8. Delivery available with minimum $30 charge, no delivery on Feb 8 and 9.

Info: Order online at thesoupspoon.com/cny

PEACH GARDEN

What: Chinese restaurant Peach Garden offers steamboat takeaway at its Thomson Plaza outlet, priced at $638+ for 10 people. An additional $200 deposit is required for the four-tier steamboat (above) and gas stove. There are more than 30 ingredients, including abalone, flower crab, prawns and assorted vegetables. There is free salmon yusheng with every order.

Where: 01-88 Peach Garden, Thomson Plaza, 301 Upper Thomson Road

When: Till Feb 22, order two days in advance, self-collection only, make pre-payment upon order. The latest collection time on Feb 7 is 5pm.

Info: Call 6451-3233


PHOTO: PEACH GARDEN

ZAIRYO

What: Chinese New year steamboat party packs filled with Japanese produce from the gourmet grocer include the Luxe Foodie Party set ($288) with uni and two live lobsters, the Dai-kichi pack ($258) with tiger prawns (1kg), Hokkaido scallops (1kg), sashimi-grade salmon and Alaskan king crab legs (1kg). Also available are Japanese soup stock packs ($22 for four) with flavours such as pork miso and sesame chicken.

Info: Till Feb 5, order a day in advance from zairyo.sg. Free delivery for orders $100 and above, otherwise there is a $15 surcharge. No delivery on Sunday and public holiday.


PHOTO: ZAIRYO

HAI DI LAO

What: No need to queue for hours for the popular Hai Di Lao hotpot chain. Prices start at $98 for a two-person set meal including ingredients such as US beef, mashed shrimp and sliced fish. A la carte items can be added as well.

Info: Order online at haidilao.oddle.me/. A minimum order of $98 for delivery, maximum delivery charge of $50, payment is $4 per 1km from 313@Somerset or IMM as delivery point. Order a day in advance, service hours between noon and 9pm. A $300 deposit is required for steamboat rental and $100 charge for service staff.

EMPORIUM SHOKUHIN

What: For a decadent steamboat feast, check out the Ultimate Seafood Combo ($388, above), which comes with items such as frozen US Kurobuta pork belly and pork loin shabu shabu (500g each), live-catch flounder (1 to 1.2kg) and cooked whole lobster.

Meat lovers can opt for the Steamboat Reunion meat shabu set ($248) with A5 Miyazaki shabu shabu (500g), and USDA prime striploin shabu shabu (500g each). Both sets come with a free bottle of Ainan gold yuzu dipping sauce and a free cooler bag.

The Japanese gourmet grocer also sells Daisho Soup Stock ($6.30 each) and dipping sauces such as Ehime soy ponzu ($9.60), as well as Asamurasaki sesame citrus vinegar and yuzu dressing ($5.90 each).

Where: 01-18 Emporium Shokuhin, Marina Square, 6 Raffles Boulevard

When: Order three days in advance by Feb 5, last date for delivery on Feb 7 ($20 to $40 delivery charge).For walk-in customers, festive produce is available till Feb 22.

Info: Call 6812-2157 or go to emporiumshokuhin.com.sg


Ready-made stock and dips

For any steamboat meal, having flavourful soups and dips are just as important as the premium ingredients on the dinner table.

And if you do not want to slave over a pot of boiling stock for hours or spend time chopping ingredients to make a dip, you can buy ready-made stocks and sauces.

Supermarkets such as Isetan and Cold Storage sell Japanese soup stocks from the Mizkan brand that are ready-to-use. Just open the packet, pour it into the steamboat pot and let it boil.

Isetan has flavours such as corn and tomato ($6.30 each), while Cold Storage carries pork bone and soy sauce, and sesame and soy bean ($6.90 each).

Takashimaya's Chinese New Year Japan fair, which is on till Feb 6, features a range of premium dashi sachets for easy use from food manufacturer Kubara Honke. It includes reduced salt Kayanoya dashi ($38) made with sardines, kombu, dried bonito flakes and sea salt. Hotpot packs with chicken, spicy and sesame flavours ($9.80 each) are also available.

The selection of dips include Singapore chef Justin Quek's chilli sesame and coriander dip ($11.80, e-mail enquiry@justinquek.com), available at FairPrice Finest, Meidi-Ya, Culina Dempsey and Isetan.


PHOTO: ST FILE

Those who want a spicy kick can place an online order for chef Shermay Lee's cilicuka sauces from her Shermay's Singapore Fine Food line (www.shermay.com/eshop), from $9.95 a bottle.


PHOTO: ST FILE

Hong Kong brand Pat Chun (17 South Bridge Road or Takashimaya Square), which specialises in soy sauce and vinegars, offers a range of sauces such as satay sauce, chilli bean sauce and sesame sauce ($8.90 for a set of three), as well as XO sauce ($13.80).


PHOTO: PAT CHUN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 31, 2016, with the headline 'No sweat steamboat '. Print Edition | Subscribe