Reunion steamboat dinners are now a breeze with home delivery of stock, ingredients and equipment

Save the time and hassle of lugging heavy groceries home, simmering a soup stock for hours and mixing a special sauce for your upcoming Chinese New Year steamboat reunion meal.

At least five companies are offering delivery services, complete with equipment rental for those who do not have a steamboat at home. Just order online and pick the steamboat packages or a la carte ingredients. In addition, no fewer than three restaurants are offering steamboat takeaways.

It is best to make your orders quickly. Delivery slots are filling fast because steamboat is a popular choice for reunion dinner at home.

Chinese restaurant Peach Garden’s Thomson Plaza outlet is offering a takeaway service for the first time and you can even rent a four-tier steamboat. It has eight orders for Chinese New Year eve.

The Soup Spoon chain launched its collagen soup for hotpots last year to great success and this year, customers can also order steamboat ingredients. Premium items include Boston lobster, snow crab leg, sea cucumber and Kuhlbarra barramundi fillet.

Founder Anna Lim, 40, says: “We want to offer customers ‘clean’ eating options even during the festivities. Our Collagen Soup Stock is simmered for more than 16 hours to a jelly-like consistency. We also recognise family traditions of using mixed pots for steamboat, so we have included a spicy kimchi stock.”

Japanese gourmet grocer Emporium Shokuhin’s first Chinese New Year catalogue features a wide array of premium meats and seafood for shabu shabu, along with condiments and soup stock.

Business is brisk for steamboat delivery companies such as Eat Together, Happypot, Reunion Steamboat, Mr Steamboat and The Steamboat Specialist all year round.

However, the peak is during Chinese New Year with orders for family and office gatherings.

The Steamboat Specialist’s managing director Eileen Sim, 29, says: “We’ve been receiving orders for Chinese New Year since December last year. This month alone, business is up by 60 per cent, compared to last year.”

Reunion Steamboat, which was started in 2014, catered for up to 1,300 people during an SG50 celebration last year. It has more than 100 orders for Chinese New Year.

One of the earlier players in the field, Mr Steamboat, which started in 2012, receives an average of 15 orders a week during non-peak periods.

Co-founder Fred Chan, 33, says: “This year, we have received more than 200 orders for the Chinese New Year period.”

To stand out from the competition, many make their own sauces. Mr Steamboat also rents gas and induction cookers, and utensils. It can send out service staff for a fee.

Ms Lena Lee, 32, general manager of iFly Singapore, an indoor skydiving facility in Sentosa, has been ordering from Mr Steamboat since 2013, for Chinese New Year work gatherings for 30 to 45 people. The average cost is about $20 a person for the premium menu with beef, lamb and fresh prawns, which she says is “really worth it”.

She says: “We do not have to go through the hassle of setting up the steamboat and buying ingredients. The food is really fresh and the portions sufficient. This is the option when you don’t have time or are too busy with Chinese New Year preparations or commitments. We also need not worry about over-ordering or not having enough food.

“Their service is prompt and they go above and beyond to ensure our steamboat dining experience is hassle-free. Once, their delivery vehicle broke down and the managers rushed here to deliver the food to us.”

MR STEAMBOAT

What: Laksa, tom yam or black herbal chicken soup are among the seven soup bases available, along with dumplings and chilli sauce. Chinese New Year packages start at $188 nett for six people. Yusheng, pen cai or abalone can be added on when ordering Chinese New Year packages.

Info: Order online at mr-steamboat.com a day in advance. Rental for steamboat, tables, chairs and waitstaff service for big events available. Additional $30 surcharge for orders made from Feb 5 to 8.

http://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/food/no-sweat-steamboat

 

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