@ Tampines Round Market - 137A Tampines Street 11, Singapore 522137
Hai Chang Fish Head Steamboat (opening hours: 5-9pm, closed on Mondays)
It had rained half the day earlier. When that happens, usually a nice comforting bowl of porridge or soup would come to mind. We decided to pop over at Hai Chang Fish Head Steamboat at Tampines Round Market. The hawker area is mostly alive in the day where almost every stall is open because of the wet market just next to it. In the evenings, apart from the few drink stalls that remain open, Hai Chang Fish Head Steamboat is the main stall to get food from. What we like about the hotpot is the burning coals that not only keep the soup not only hot, but also give a ‘charred’ tinge to the soup – just like the how the special ‘wok’ fragrance is to fried rice cooked over a huge flame.
You can get pick the type of fish you would like in your soup. Typically, snapper, seabass, garoupa and promfret. The fish – head and all, together with a whole bunch of cabbage, tofu and yam slices are thrown in. Some recipes involve some plums and seaweed too which gives the extra oomph on the tastebuds. The staff comes around every now and then and you can request for them to fill up your pot with more soup.
Friends who are used to eating fish fillets might be unfamiliar with fish slices with bones (and the fish head staring at you) so take extra caution when eating. To most locals, gnawing the meat off the bones is a pleasure, and an art, especially off the head. It’s like having eating chicken wings!
You will find fish head steamboat hot pots available in most coffee shops in Singapore. This is usually one of the dishes offered at the tze char stall (the stall which fries you your vegetables, meat, rice, noodles and everything else). A tze char stall has a wide menu which sometimes is displayed on the wall with pictures. At other times, it’s just a small counter table located at the side of coffeeshops. A good way to identify it is to spot clothes pegs line against the table edge (used to mark orders), or small cages with live crabs in them.
Oh yes! We ordered the salted egg yolk prawns as well at Hai Chang Fish Head Steamboat. The shrimps were decently large, lightly fried and coated with a moist and flavourful salted egg yolk paste – loved it!
Other places to get a comforting fish head steamboat meal: