Yanxi Palace hotpot in Chinatown S'pore for about S$50 per pax: worth it or not?

Spoiler: It's not exactly Yanxi-Palace themed.

Karen Lui | February 10, 2021, 05:09 PM

Editors note on Feb.11: A different spokesperson for the restaurant has updated that the current restaurant is not a pop-up. This article has been updated to reflect this change.

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Tucked away in The Great Ballroom on top of Pearl's Hill is the Yanxi Palace Steamboat.

Unaffiliated with the hit Chinese period television series "Story of Yanxi Palace", the steamboat restaurant opened in November 2020.

Photo by Mandy How

Photo by Mandy How

Soup bases

Out of the eight different soup bases available, we tried three: the Imperial Elixir Youth Soup (from S$13.50), Buddha Jumps Over the Wall (from S$12.50), and Mala Soup (from S$9.50).

Anti-clock-wise from the left: Buddha Jumps Over the Wall, Imperial Elixir Youth Soup, and Mala (which was topped up with more soup shortly after this picture was taken). Photo by Karen Lui

Boiled with ingredients such as fish maw, kampong chicken, abalone, and shark cartilage, we found the collagen-rich Imperial Elixir Youth Soup to be very tasty.

Fit for the bougie diners who really want to elevate the dining experience, the unique Buddha Jumps Over the Wall soup is boiled with premium ingredients like shark cartilage, fish maw, abalone, cordyceps, ginseng, and other herbs.

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Unlike some Mala soups that are too spicy and overwhelmingly rich, the Mala Soup was quite drinkable, although it comprises a little on the numbing kick.

Food

To get it out of the way, the meal was not overtly Yanxi-Palace themed — in fact, the most "Yanxi" thing about it was its name.

You get motifs of the imperial Chinese in the food's presentation, but that's about it. It could just as easily be named after another Chinese historical drama.

But with the abundance of hotpot places in Singapore, Yanxi Palace Steamboat has a few tricks up their sleeves to stand out from the crowd.

Made with a combination of tofu and egg white, the Rose Tofu (S$9) retains their shape, even in the boiling pot.

Photo by Karen Lui

Photo by Mandy How

Cross-section of the pink Rose Tofu. Photo by Mandy How

The yellow and red Rose Tofu contain bits of otah, while the green and purple ones include chicken and crab meat.

The bits of otah really helps give flavour to what would probably be a rather bland tofu product.

They also have the Seafood Lollipops (S$12), which are uniquely-shaped cuttlefish paste served in sticks of five.

Ready to consume after dipping it, the item was quite a novelty and fun to eat.

Photo by Karen Lui

Other popular items are the photogenic Organic Handmade Rainbow Noodles (S$12) and Rose Beef Tongue (S$18).

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For more conservative meat lovers, try the Selected Diced Waggyu Beef (S$9-S$18) and Meat Brothers (S$24) platter that includes lamb, beef, and pork collar.

Photo by Karen Lui

Photo by Karen Lui

Consisting of crayfish, tiger prawns, scallops, wild abalones, and green lipped mussels, the Seafood Platter (S$68) is expensive but provides variety, we guess.

Photo by Karen Lui

Photo by Karen Lui

Other notable mentions include the Minced Shrimp with Fish Roe (S$10)Meat Balls Brothers (S$10) consisting of lobster balls, cuttlefish balls, and Fuzhou fish balls, and the Vegetable & Mushroom Platter (S$18).

Photo by Karen Lui

Photo by Karen Lui

If you like snacking while waiting for the food to be cooked, try the Crispy Pork (S$9) and Salted Egg Fish Skin (S$8).

The Crispy Pork with the accompanying chilli powder and salt dip was quite addictive to munch on.

Photo by Karen Lui

Beverages

Bubble tea addicts need to suffer from withdrawal symptoms at Yanxi Palace Steamboat.

The Bubble Tea (S$5) is available in four flavours: Original Milk Tea, Matcha, Earl Grey, and Da Hong Pao.

If you prefer hot tea, you may wish to opt for refillable Tea (S$7.50 per pot).

Served in a transparent pot and cute tiny cups, you can select from three flavours, Mango, Peach, or Osmanthus.

We appreciated the fresh floral fragrance from our osmanthus tea that warmed us in the chilly air-conditioned restaurant.

Photo by Karen Lui

Ballroom-turned-restaurant

Besides the small chandelier and fairy lights, the set-up is generally no-frills with simple black tables and red chairs.

Although it was not at all crowded on the Monday evening when we dropped by, a restaurant representative disclosed that weekends generally see more human traffic.

Diners enjoy complimentary parking at the restaurant.

Photo by Karen Lui

Photo by Karen Lui

The condiments station with more than 10 different kind of condiments available is located at the back of the restaurant.

Photo by Karen Lui

Besides the Thai Style Chilli and Homemade Chilli Sauce, you can make your own dipping sauce.

If you're unsure of how to do so, feel free to refer to their recipe sheet provided.

Anti-clockwise from top-left: Signature Taste Sauce, Original Taste Sauce, Chilli Sauce, Sesame Sauce. Photo by Karen Lui

Access to condiments are charged at S$4 per person.

Verdict

Hotpot hardly comes cheap, and a meal of Yanxi Palace Steamboat would cost around the same as as Haidilao/Beauty in The Pot.

We'd say the ingredients are on par in terms of freshness and quality, and there's the bonus of some Instagrammable dishes.

The only obstacle for non-driving folks (like myself) is the secluded location, making it a challenge to travel via public transport without a car or taxi.

The hike is probably going to help alleviate the guilt of a hotpot feast, though.

Bottomline? Can try, but there's no particularly compelling factor that will make us return.

Yanxi Palace Steamboat

Address: 175A Chin Swee Road, Singapore 169879

Opening hours:

Sunday - Thursday, 12pm to 12:30am

Friday, Saturday, Public Holidays, and Public Holiday eves, 12pm to 2am

Top images by Karen Lui and Mandy How.