S'pore steamboat restaurant lets you catch & cook seafood alive

Can't beat the freshness.

Jack Lau | July 26, 2018, 02:21 PM

However fresh their food, conventional steamboat restaurants will only serve seafood that is dead. All you need to do is to dunk your food into the boiling broth.

Claiming to be Singapore's first live seafood hotpot buffet, this seafood steamboat restaurant gives you a taste of a ritual never before experienced by many city-dwellers — "hunting" your own food.

An unlikely combination of steamboat, seafood buffet and a sushi bar, New Thai Tanic Seafood Hotpot on Bukit Pasoh lets you watch your food swimming about its tank, catch it and kill it. You can do all that without leaving your table.


Eating with your food

The seats in this steamboat place are separated by lines of fish tanks stretching across the dining area. Swimming in them are prawns and crabs. If you're lucky you might also find a golden pomfret.

Photo by New Thai Tanic Seafood Hotpot via Facebook

Diners can grab their food from the tanks using a pair of tongs and put them into an ice bath embedded in their table. Chilling the catch is intended to stun the seafood before cooking.

300 to 500 kg of seafood are served every day, according to the restaurant spokesperson.

Photo by New Thai Tanic Seafood Hotpot via Facebook

According to owners Pannita Koh and Solomon Koh the live seafood steamboat concept comes from their belief in the importance of freshness.

"Nothing can beat the freshness of 'fishing' live seafood right from the tanks," said the restaurant spokesperson.

Not everyone's comfortable with live steamboat

New Thai Tanic has been featured previously on videos by SingaporeBeauty and Insider, but those appearances have garnered concerns about animal cruelty from viewers overseas.

The comment section of the Insider video has erupted into a battleground between the respective advocates of veganism and carnism:

Comments on an Insider video featuring New Thai Tanic Seafood Hotpot. Screenshots via Facebook

Others have defended the steamboat place from a cultural perspective:

Screenshot via Facebook

The restaurant told Mothership that they know about the "cruel and negative" comments, but they "respect their opinions".

"They do not understand how it is being done," the restaurant spokesperson said of the online critics. "We don’t put the live seafood right into the pot. We have to put the live seafood inside the ice box to stun them."

Using ice baths to stun seafood is practised by fishermen, said the restaurant spokesperson

"We will always advise customer to put the live seafood into the icebox."

While the debate on the ethics of live seafood steamboat goes on, the official Facebook page of New Thai Tanic is filled with comments asking for the pricing and people tagging their friends.

You can see more of what's the fuss all about here:


Top image by New Thai Tanic Seafood Hotpot via Facebook