It’s been almost 2 years since I last met my Steamboat Buddy. I’ve been away and he’s been busy. But there wasn’t any awkward silences, we eased straight back into our friendly banter and started updating one another with what’s the latest happenings. He’s off to new adventures and I’m happy for the bud.
No farewell meal would be complete if we didn’t do a steamboat. This time round, we abandoned our usual haunt and I went with his recommendation of this new one – Hai Di Lao Hot Pot. With limited reservations a day, he managed to secure us one despite the early sitting of 6.30pm. Apparently without the reservation, one will need to queue to secure a table. But don’t worry, the waiting isn’t all that torturous for you will be pampered with manicures, snacks and games all while waiting for your turn. That’s not too bad, right?
Hai Di Lao is a popular hot pot chain in China. The first overseas store opened in Singapore in November 2012. There was no need for advertising given its huge popularity plus the strong word-of-mouth advertising from diners who basically just spread the word. According to Steamboat Buddy, you don’t have to bust your budget just to dine here but all the diners can expect top-notch service. It’s service standards are apparently legendary that it became a case study published in the Harvard Business Review.
Must say, I was most impressed with the service levels found at Hai Di Lao Hot Pot. Upon arrival, I was greeted by the friendly service at the ground floor. She then accompanied up to Level 1 and handed me over to another server who then brought us to our table. She then passed me an apron and this ziplock bag for me to place my mobile phone – so as to prevent any ‘splattering’ accidents on to your clothes or prized possessions during dinner. The hand towels, the drinks and a platter of welcome fruit were placed on our table thereafter.
Orders are taken via the iPad and you get to browse the types of soup base, meats, seafood, vegetables, etc all from this device. Pretty cool if you ask me.
The Steamboat Buddy ordered the half-and-half soup base which was a tomato soup stock and the Ma La soup base. We cooked most of our food with the fiery Ma La soup base and left the tomato soup for the drinking. They had a good selection of steamboat dishes with an overwhelming variety of sauces that you could dip your cooked food with. I kid you not, it’s actually mind-boggling trying to narrow down just to three sauces.
Noodles are made fresh at the restaurant and if you are up for a little entertainment, the noodle specialist will show off his noodle-pulling feat at your table accompanied by his favourite tunes. Check the video out to see what I mean.
Overall, a wonderful dining experience and I’m planning my next trip back with the Man to relieve the pampering service concept that has won me plus many fans over.Hai Di Lao Hot Pot Address: Block 3D River Valley Road, #02-04 Clarke Quay, Singapore 179023 Tel: 82636674