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Restaurant Review: Steam Box Proves That Hot Pot Does Not Have To Be Spicy To Captivate

You can enjoy comforting soup bases too, thanks to an innovative 2-in-1 system

Photos: Steam Box

On rainy days like today, Singapore’s humidity rollercoaster is at a merciless vertical loop. We’re emptying tissue boxes at record rates in the office, wishing for something warm and nourishing to soothe our dry throats.

To make matters worse, being sick doesn’t stop our cravings for hot pot. How can we satisfy this stubborn desire? When we think of good hot pot or steamboat, we typically think spicy, so spicy we can’t feel our tongues; but is that really the only way to have a good hot pot experience?

Steam Box has completely opened our eyes to a new, healthier way to do hot pot. The restaurant puts the “steam” back in “steamboat” by inviting you to steam, rather than boil, your food. While Steam Box brings Hong Kong’s “steam-potting” food trend to Singapore, the steamed hot pot also harkens back to traditional Chinese cooking methods in the old days.

For those who still love their hot pot with soup, you can now enjoy nourishing soup bases along with the steamed goodness. New Executive Chef Keff Loh has thoughtfully created a new menu of three different types of soup bases to go under the high-speed steam layer. You can choose from Pork Ribs Lotus Root ($18), Chicken Herbal Collagen ($25) and Base of Seafood ($28).

The ingredients that go into the Pork Ribs Lotus Root soup base ($18)

All three soup bases incorporate a signature blend of special ingredients that pair well with the raw ingredients you cook. While your food is being steamed to plump perfection, the soup that’s boiling below it will absorb the natural juices and nutrients, producing a flavourful yet light soup for you to slurp up at the end! Our favourite was the fragrant Pork Ribs Lotus Root soup base, which reminds us of homecooked soup in its hearty pork juices.

Chef’s Specialty Marinated Beef ($10)

For the hot pot ingredients, we started off with the prettiest plate of beef we’ve ever seen. Arranged in the shape of a flower, the Chef’s Specialty Marinated Beef ($10) looked too pretty to eat, but our hesitation didn’t last too long before our growling stomachs took over. So we reluctantly pulled apart the beef “flower” and laid the pieces out on the steam plate. It surprised us too, but we felt that the beef was more suited for steaming that it would have been boiled. The steaming truly brings out the fresh and tender flavours, and it says a lot when we unanimously agreed that the beef tastes even better than it looks!

Signature Sweet Potato Ball with Sweet Corn ($4.80 for 2 pieces)

At a steamed hot pot, you can cook sweet treats on the same plate as your savoury meats, without fear of any grease transfer. The handmade Signature Sweet Potato Ball with Sweet Corn ($4.80 for 2 pieces) are sweet and chewy when steamed, with just the right ratio of glutinous rice flour and sweet potato flour. See that beautiful purple colour? That’s completely natural, coming from the purple sweet potato flour and no other added colouring.

Assorted Meat Pastes and Meat Balls (from $2.20 for two pieces)

Always a must-have at any hot pot, the assorted meat pastes and meat balls at Steam Box are plated delicately in small individual bowls. Priced from $2.20 for two pieces and up, the meat ball flavours vary from pork to prawn to bamboo shoot. All are handmade fresh in the restaurant every day, with only 100% natural pork, beef or seafood. That’s right, not even additives or preservatives are added to them! So you can enjoy these babies in their finest essence and with little guilt.

Paper-wrapped Mala Grouper Fillet ($19.80)

The unique presentation continues with a Paper-wrapped Mala Grouper Fillet ($19.80). Topped with lots of fresh peppercorn and spices, the fish is steamed for six minutes. We’re more used to seeing grouper fillet deep-fried, so this steamed version offers a refreshing tenderness that definitely deserves a try.

Hakka Traditional Mixed Paste Oyster Wanton ($4.80 for 2 pieces)

Since we’re steaming our food, why not indulge in some dim sum? The Hakka Traditional Mixed Paste Oyster Wanton ($4.80 for 2 pieces) is loaded with flavour – fresh oyster, minced pork, fish and shrimp are all wrapped in soft wanton skin and steamed for two minutes. Healthy and succulent, the wanton left a wholesome aftertaste, like a massage for our stomachs at the end of the meal.

Address: 68 Serangoon Garden Way, Singapore 555964
Contact No.: 6281 6939
Website: https://www.facebook.com/SteamBoxSG/
Operating Hours: 6pm to 12:30am (Tuesday to Thursday), 6pm to 1:30am (Friday), 12pm to 1:30am (Saturday), 12pm to 12:30am (Sunday). Closed on Mondays.

A Chinese version of this article appeared here.