Food Review: Da Miao Hot Pot At Clarke Quay | Authentic Sichuan Mala Steamboat From Chengdu, China
The Place Located at Clarke Quay, Chengdu’s Da Miao Hot Pot opened in Singapore back in 2017, and has been serving up authentic Sichuan hot pot. Famed for its Da Miao Special Spicy Soup, dignitaries include former First Lady Michelle Obama who dined at its Chengdu branch previously. Walking into Da Miao, you will first be greeted by two Panda figurines at the entrance, with the restaurant fitted with an imperial palace look.
The rather spacious setting ensures that diners can enjoy their hot pot dinner with much privacy, and most importantly despite the restaurant coming to its third year, it is very well-maintained unlike the nearby Spice World Hotpot. Be entertained by traditional Bian Lian (变脸) performance every night at 7:30pm, and Kung Fu tea pouring experiences when you order your cup of Eight Treasures Tea (S$5).
The Food Sichuan Hot Pot, that’s what you should expect when you visit Da Miao. With only two signature broths to choose from, there is not much you need to debate about. The Da Miao Special Spicy Soup (S$22 for whole pot, S$20 for Yuan Yang Pot) is their authentic take on Sichuan Mala soup. The soup base is prepared in Chengdu to ensure consistency, with the Singapore branch serving up this authentic broth with much ease just by diluting the paste with water. Prepared with more than 20 different herbs and spices, be warned that the spice level here is much higher than the typical levels we are accustomed to.
A relatively new launch, the Beauty Collagen Soup (S$42 for whole pot, S$32 for Yuan Yang Pot) is prepared with primarily pork bone and fish maw, and other ingredients including pig skin, chicken feet and pumpkin. The collagen rich ingredients ensures diners get all the collagen essence, while the pumpkin adds a tinge of sweetness. Personally this is my preferred broth, as it is way more soothing for Singapore’s weather rather than a spicy pot.
Not to be outdone by other steamboat restaurants in town, Da Miao focuses itself on various authentic Sichuan hot pot favourites to ensure it stays true to its origins. Head here to savour Marinated Black Pork (S$12) and Marinated Mutton (S$16), which are meats marinated with Da Miao’s own in-house sauces.
The Spicy Beef (S$12) slices and Spicy Chicken Kidney (S$12) skewers are best enjoyed with the Spicy Soup, with the meats layered with picante sauce and chilli flakes, which frankly the Pandas did not dare to try due to our low tolerance for spice. That said, our fellow diners were giving their stamp of approvals.
Other local Sichuan steamboat ingredients include the Bamboo Shoot Slice (S$6), Bamboo Fungus Shrimp Wrap (S$18). Chef-cut Fresh Potato Slices (S$8) and Seaweed Grass (S$6). Amongst these, the Bamboo Fungus Shrimp Wrap stood out for me, with the shrimp paste fresh and the bamboo fungus giving it a nice crunchy bite.
There are cooked items which you can order to complement the meal, and I recommend the Braised Pig Trotters (S$16) which is slightly spicy and can be dipped into the Spicy Soup for added flavours.
Of course, you can go for other standard steamboat ingredients including the Wagyu Beef (S$36), Australia Prime Beef (S$32), Toman Fish (S$22) and Assorted Meat Balls (S$12) if you are looking for familiar items.
To conclude the meal, the special Ice Cream laced with Sichuan Peppercorn Oil (S$6) is an interesting take on dessert, with a tinge of “ma” when you take your spoonful of the ice cream. Alternatively, the Glutinous Rice Cake with Brown Sugar (S$6) can be enjoyed as an appetiser or a dessert.
Rants The Da Miao Special Spicy Soup may just be too spicy even for someone who enjoys mala broth. It seems like there needs to be a balance between catering to the local palates while maintaining the authenticity of the spiciness level, which is not easy to achieve so be warned.
Will I Return Again? The hot pot options in the Clarke Quay precinct is overwhelming, and Da Miao Hot Pot will get its fair share of diners who are looking for an authentic Sichuan hot pot experience. Be here if you are game for the challenge.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Make your reservation instantly Da Miao Hot Pot here.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
Da Miao Hot Pot
Blk C, #01-11, Clarke Quay
3 River Valley Road
Tel: +65 6250 9969
Sunday to Thursday: 11:30am to 10:30pm
Friday & Saturday: 11:30am to 3am
Ranted by The Rantee