Gathering together around a table and eating family-style is big in Singapore, and one of the most common ways to do it is through a hearty steamboat dinner. For those who may not know, steamboat is a popular and fun cooking method in East Asian households where the cooking is done at the dinner table. A pot of bubbling soup stock is placed in the centre with a variety of raw meat, seafood, dumplings, vegetables, and noodles. As a result of how steamboat is eaten, the dining experience creates an irreplicable sense of communion between loved ones.
The History of Steamboat
Steamboat didn’t always go by that name. The dish is actually heavily steeped in Chinese tradition. Known in China as “hot pot”, the dish likely takes inspiration from a noble Chinese cooking tradition dating back to the Zhou dynasty. Chinese nobility had personal cooking dishes called ran lu. Ran lu was primarily a small stove topped with a small pot that would sit on burning charcoal. It wasn't until the Qing dynasty that hot pot became a popular dish amongst the highest echelons of the Chinese ruling class.
Hot pot's Chinese heritage is proven by copper pots unearthed in the northern reaches of China. These copper pots are integral to a similar cooking method like hot pot, dating back to the period of the Three Kingdoms (220-280 AD). However, it’s likely that even these age-old Chinese artefacts date back to the 13th century Mongol invasion that led to the establishment of the Yuan dynasty.
Steamboat Elsewhere in Asia
The most beautiful thing about Asian cuisine is that dishes and traditions permanently travel back and forth between nations. This culinary exchange, if you will, ensures that dishes like steamboat travel the entire Asian continent and its many diverse archipelagos. Some of the most well-known cultural variations of steamboat f are shabu-shabu from Japan, budae jjigae in Korea, yao hon popular in Cambodia, and Vietnam's own cù lao.
Even within China's extensive borders, you have numerous iterations of hot pot. In Guangdong, you might find primarily steamboat seafood in a broth much gentler on the palate than in Singapore. This dish is usually served with vibrant spring onion, soy, peanut oil, and ginger dipping sauce. In Beijing, steamboats are mainly mutton soup ones, closer to the traditional dish the Mongols indulged in. Sichuan's hot pot is filled with heady broths accompanied by a distinct heat.
When Is Steamboat Eaten In Singapore?
Even though steamboats are best taken on rainy days, it has become a popular form of dining in Singapore, with a hotpot restaurant found in almost every mall across the island. While steamboat is generally the meal of choice especially during Chinese New Year - gathering around a bubbling pot of broth with the freshest steamboat ingredients just seems to put everyone in a convivial mood - it is also consumed all year round.
Aside from having steamboats in restaurants, many households in Singapore also have their own rendition of steamboats in the comforts of home. Although preparing for a steamboat can be a chore, there is a lot to love about it. As such, many families choose to order in from steamboat restaurants or from online grocers like All Big Frozen Food for the freshest ingredients delivered right to their doorstep.
All Big Frozen Food: Your One-Stop Steamboat Ingredient Wholesaler
Though steamboat is derived from China, this delicious meal is not limited to just the Chinese. Many other races in Singapore also enjoy gathering around a bubbling pot of hot soup. Hence, there are also halal steamboat restaurants as well as online grocers delivering halal steamboat ingredients.
Whether you're looking to try a steamboat with halal ingredients at the comforts of home or in the culinary industry, All Big Frozen Food is your one-stop steamboat shop. Visit us in-store or pick out your steamboat ingredients online and let us deliver them right to your door! With All Big Frozen Food, you can rest assured knowing that we’ll bring you only the best steamboat ingredients in Singapore.