Given our vicinity on the equator, Malaysians really only ever are accustomed to two brands of weather specifically: dry spells, and the chilly relief of monsoon season. In the case of the latter, the primordial instinct to seek out warm, comforting relief by means of a hot meal in the best steamboat spots across KL.
Exceedingly popular across the Klang Valley, steamboat and hotpot restaurants have witnessed a massive boom in the past five-odd years, especially with a rising interest in traditional Mainland Chinese cuisine. But of course, the dish itself has a storied history that extends thousands of years, with the earliest iterations attributed to members of nobility and royalty during the Zhou dynasty.
At the time, steamboat or hotpots were not the communal affairs that we come to recognise today. Instead, they were meant to be enjoyed in personal-sized pots made of bronze that were suspended over a charcoal flame. But the fundamental idea remains the same: a rich, flavourful, piping-hot broth is used to cook raw ingredients such as meats, seafood, and vegetables, to be consumed.
The dish eventually grew to become such a staple in Chinese cuisine that it was even claimed that the Qianlong Emperor would eat nothing but hotpot for almost every meal! And while our contemporary obsession with steamboat hasn’t verged quite nearly on the same level of compulsion, there can be no disputing the appeal that it occupies in the general consciousness.
With that in mind, here are eight of the best steamboat places in KL & Selangor to start your search!
Best steamboat spots in KL & Selangor
1. Hometown Steamboat
With a number of outlets fanned out across the Klang Valley area, Hometown Steamboat is an accessible option to kick off our list that has consistently managed to build a reputation for being a local favourite regardless of the neighbourhood it finds itself in.
A wide assortment of reasonably priced but most importantly, exceedingly fresh meats, seafood, and frozen steamboat staples such as fishballs, fish paste, and dumplings, helps to cement its position as an easy recommendation. The tomato broth here is of particular interest, evoking flavours of a far more premium steamboat establishment (ahem), while the herbal broth is a great option for those who enjoy a more sapid but less piquant taste.
Outlets: Setapak, Petaling Jaya, Kota Damansara, Bandar Manjalara, SS14
2. Xiao Long Kan Hotpot
If you’re willing to splurge a little for your next steamboat feast Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle and the wait times for one of the more popular chain outlets happens to extend well beyond the 60-minute mark, then we recommend making your way to Xiao Long Kan Hotpot as an alternative.
Located in a street just off from the main Bukit Bintang stretch in Farenheit88, this spot prides itself on replicating an authentic Chengdu steamboat experience. As one of the largest chains in its native Sichuan, Xiao Long Kan is best known for their mala spicy broth, rightfully served in rich red redolence punctuated by the pungence of cumin and Szechuan peppercorns. The chain also maintains outlets in MidValley Megamall and Sunway Velocity Mall.
Outlets: Fahrenheit 88 Mall, MidValley Megamall, Sunway Velocity Mall
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3. The Croc Pot
We’d like to believe that this next entry on our list takes its name after the famed one-pot-does-it-all Crock Pot, but chances are it may be better attributed to the massive three-dimensional crocodile chandelier that dominates its cavernous dining hall. Needless to say, Kuchai Lama’s The Croc Pot is immediately recognisable for its unapologetic approach to decorative opulence.
But stunning vistas aside, a restaurant is only as good as the food it serves. Thankfully in this regard, The Croc Pot doesn’t disappoint with a dizzying array of broths, including a unique Green Mala Soup as well as a Black Truffle Brazil Soup that is offered nowhere else.
Address: Lot 14080, Jalan Kuchai Lama, Kuchai Lama, 58200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 4.30PM – 11.30PM (Monday to Friday), 12PM – 11.30PM (Saturday to Sunday)
Contact: +6 013-639 7272
4. One Dish One Taste Hotpot
Following in the vein of Instagram-worthy steamboat restaurants, One Dish One Taste Hotpot dazzles with its dizzying array of cascading bouquets as you make your way into its premises. Taking after Chonqing-style hotpot restaurants from the Mainland, its mala soup is naturally the biggest draw here, painstakingly stewed with a velveteen mixture of lard, peppercorns, cumin, bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon for its unmistakably potent burn.
But once you’ve satisfied your masochistic urges, quell your palette with their Nine Box Desserts, which offers diners unlimited refills of nine speciality desserts served in a bespoke tray. This includes everything from milk custard bunnies to herbal jelly.
Address: H-G-11, Plaza Arkadia, Jalan Residen 3, Desa Parkcity, 52200 Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 12PM – 10.30PM (opens daily)
Contact: +6 012-766 0442
5. Harbour Hotpot
If you’ve frequented the Solaris area in Mont Kiara, then chances are you are likely to have spotted a curiously anachronistic facade in the vicinity, with a storefront masquerading as a portal into feudal China. Welcome to Ma Tou Feng Yun Hotpot, one of the de-facto names in the city for Szechuan-style steamboat in KL.
Staying true to the order of the day, the mala broth pairs exceptionally well with their handmade selection of steamboat essentials, with their handmade fishballs being a particular highlight. If you take a liking to milder flavours, the chicken broth infused with coconut is the one to pick.
Address: L-01-01, 2, Jalan Solaris, Solaris Mont Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 12PM – 12AM (opens daily)
Contact: +6 017-658 8618
6. Sky-Dome Hotpot
Looking to dine beneath the stars? Then drop by Sky-Dome Hotpot come evening, and be prepared to be wowed. Encased underneath transparent dome structures, this spot holds the distinction of being the very first steamboat restaurant in KL to occupy a rooftop space.
Beyond the glamour of its venue, the steamboat served here appeases even the most discerning of steamboat fans. Fresh seafood and a solid assortment of steamboat accompaniments, from fish and shrimp paste to fish cakes, leave no whim unfulfilled. Pair it with their collagen-rich Beauty Pork Soup for a true indulgence.
Address: No.1, Jalan Lima, Chan Sow Lin, 55200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Operating hours: 4PM – 12AM (opens daily)
7. Yezi Steamboat
We’ve listed more than a few steamboat places in KL with Szechuan influences, which typically means exceedingly spicy soups. And while that may be en vogue among fans of the dish, a myriad of other soup bases exist to cater to the whims of those who don’t necessarily enjoy mind-numbing heat. Take Yezi Steamboat in Bandar Utama, for example.
Translated from Mandarin into English as ‘Coconut Steamboat’, its name is self-explanatory: their coconut broth here, made using only pure coconut water, is the name of the game. Our recommendation is to pair it with seafood, as the addition of fish and shellfish adds a further dimension of umami savouriness that makes every sip a true delight. Feeling a little lavish? Then ask for the Wild Forest Truffle and Mushroom broth too.
Address: 1, First Ave, Bandar Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Operating hours: 4PM – 12AM (opens daily)
Contact: +6 012-323 5841
8. Coco Steamboat
Another popular chain of steamboat restaurants with locations along the length of the Klang Valley, Coco Steamboat is best known among locals for its signature Pork Knuckle Soup, which regulars order without fail. It’s relatively easy to spot, with boiling cauldrons of the milky broth being found on almost every stovetop in the restaurant.
And there’s no wonder why patrons continue to return for a taste of the soup here, owing to the painstaking process by which it is made. Prepared fresh each day, the soup base requires a total of 8 hours to boil, suffusing it with a sweetness that can only be achieved by a generous amount of pork knuckles that have been allowed to simmer.
Outlets: Scott Garden along Old Klang Road, Taman Bukit Hijau in Cheras
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Feature and hero image credit: Cera/Unsplash
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur