For those of us that grew up in Singapore in the 80s and early 90s, steamboat (and it was never ever called hotpot) wasn’t about having 15 different soup bases or 20 different dipping sauces. It was about putting together a combination of ingredients that would best enrich the flavour canvas that is the starting stock. “Always add prawns, even if you don’t like them because prawns add so much flavour”, and “add yams early so they can melt and infuse the soup with sweetness” were just two of the steamboat mantras some of us grew up with, and we can’t help but recall them with a smile the moment we step into COCA.
So begin your foray into what we’d term as classic steamboat at COCA with fresh seafood such as crab, prawns, and their signature fish glue that’s equal parts presentation and equal parts delicious. Whether you choose the tomyum soup or the chicken stock, seafood will always be the backbone of a rich soup. Where you go from there though, is all up to you.
Get lost in their variety of house-made meatballs (and trust us, you can taste that they’re not the factory variety), add slices of beef or pork if you tend to need something a little meatier, and of course never forget to have a balanced meal with some vegetables. Personally we think that tang-o is THE vegetable when it comes to steamboat (we’d give you the English name, but we actually have no idea what it’s called), and not only does it add fibre, it also lends flavour to that ever-improving soup.
And while there’re little hat tips to the past in each outlet, such as the old fashioned familiarly shaped metal steamboat displayed with pride at Resorts World Sentosa outlet’s private dining room, COCA’s use of induction heaters built into each table reminds you that you’re definitely not in the 90s anymore. (Nov 2013)