It is a trying exercise to decide which Sichuan hotpot restaurant to dine at in Chinatown. Exit the MRT station and half a dozen hotpot joints clamour for your attention.
But Yue Long Men attempts to make it easy for you to choose, especially with its claim of being “Singapore’s spiciest Mala hotpot.” I cannot vouch for this as I went for the lowest spice level on its Mala broth ($7). But that was already enough to numb my tongue semi-permanently during the meal. Intrepid chilli fiends should come test their chops against the restaurant’s claim.
I like that individual diners get their own hotpots. If you’re not in the mood for spice, try the delicious Mushroom broth ($5), which is simmered with mild Chinese herbs as well as shimeji mushrooms. There are also six more soup bases, including a tangy and tremendously popular Tomato broth ($6) and a signature Sour Fish broth ($8).
The broths aside, Yue Long Men is one of the few hotpot restaurants in Singapore to offer exotic ingredients such as pig’s throat ($16) and brain ($8), alongside premium dishes like Alaskan King Crab Leg ($48) and Australian scallop sashimi ($24).
Yue Long Men has a good selection of handmade prawn ($10), meat ($16) and mushroom pork ($18) balls. But try the signature prawn paste ($18) for something different. It’s fresh and fragrant, although you need to shape them into balls yourself. It’s a delicate balance—make them too small and you lose the bouncy texture of the paste. Shape them too big and it becomes tricky to share.
The meats are decent but nothing to shout about, except for the Premium US Snow Beef ($36), which is outstanding. Juicy, firm, and sliced at the right thickness, a serving is probably just right for two people. Still, you might wish to factor in a second helping to relish its goodness again. It’s expensive but worth it.
Many hotpot restaurants in Singapore typically serve seafood such as red garoupa and pomfret. But Yue Long Men goes a step further with its delicious and fresh Ocean Platter ($26), comprising sashimi-grade salmon, yellowtail, scallops and ebi prawns.
The grouper ($36) is also exceptional. It’s firm, meaty, and goes especially well with the spicy mala broth.
What I like about Yue Long Men is that the ingredients are extremely fresh. For a limited period only, diners get a 50% discount off the entire a la carte menu. Sure, the restaurant isn’t exactly affordable without the half-price discount. But its prices are fair because you do get what you pay for.
Other nice touches include a condiment bar ($4) that comes with the usual spread of sauces, fruits and desserts. Yue Long Men has a decent selection of ice creams that go beyond the usual potong flavours. Make sure you try the cute panda-shaped ice cream, amongst the other premium ice creams.
Thank you, Yue Long Men, for the invitation.