Singaporeans have spoken – we love hot pot. Over the past couple of years, we see hot pot joints, upscale or wallet-friendly, sprouting in the corners of this island. What sets Fu Lin Men Dou Lao apart from all others? It’s not the one-person-one-pot concept or their ridiculously reasonable price. The real magic is in the pool of broth bubbling in the small pot sitting right in front of you. With 9 soup bases to choose from, each of them are infused with essence of various ingredients to form a kind of flavour outbreak that is key to the hot pot eating experience.
Long a tradition of Macau, “dou lao (“豆捞”) is homonymous to “都捞”, indicative of scooping Health, Wealth and Fortune from the pot into your own bowl. And the beauty of an individual hot pot is that each guest can basically customize their own pot – more beef, no beef, more spice, no spice, etc. – and eat as little or as much as they want.
Before we start off with the highlight of the restaurant, let us introduce the restaurant’s measures to ensure diners a one-of-a-kind hot pot experience: a sauce bar that features 24 kinds of condiments, unlimited appetizers such as Cold Black Fungus Salad etc, and puddings. Feel free to assemble your own sauces based on taste preferences or eat as many plates of appetizers as possible.
The restaurant eschews MSG as much as possible, using only earth-bound ingredients to make hot pot fares in the hands of China’s award-winning celebrity chef, Nian Shu Jian. The menu reads delights such as Wild Bamboo Pith with Fresh Prawn Paste, Freshly Cultured Sea Prawns with Marbled Beef, etc which are great for spiffing up flavours, but we could see ourselves forgoing them and diving straight into the soup. Fu Lin Men’s Signature Golden Imperial Broth is a Manchu and Han Imperial Feast classic favoured by the royals (especially the females) during the Qing dynasty, and is brewed for over 12 hours with fresh red carrot puree, chicken bone marrow, pork shin and dry-aged cured ham, then presented with gold flakes on top of the soup. This signature soup represents the element of gold and is one of the 5 soups the hot pot joint offers. The others are created and named after the other 4 remaining elements in the ancient study of feng shui including Vitality Wild and Cultured Mushroom Broth (wood), Longevity Toufu Broth (water), Sizzlingly Chili Broth (fire) and lastly, Nourishing Tomato Broth (earth).
To indulge a little, diners can go for the Fortune Chalice, which is a rice dish made with premium sea cucumber, abalone and mushroom. The rich, starchy gravy over the rice uses Signature Golden Imperial Broth as its base, which helps to coax the oceanic flavours from the ingredients used.
Staying true to its brand mission, the ala carte menu focuses on fresh and live produce from the region and house signatures such as Beer Marinated Marbled Beef. Thin slices of gorgeously marbled beef is soaked in malty golden beer before swirling it in the broth for under a minute. Preferably eaten without dips to take in the aroma of beer.
The other creation, Family Bliss Freshly Handcrafted Dou Lao Meat Balls, is a platter of 6 different flavoured meat balls including Squid Meat Ball with Chocolate and Beef Meat Ball with Cheese. The mouthfeel of the meat balls differ from the regular kind you get in the market, because according to Chef Nian, they were continuously thrown here and there to achieve its texture.
Since the restaurant advocates freshness of the ingredients, understandably they serve up seafood such as Fresh Cultured Sea Prawns with Marbled Beef. You get the best of both worlds – a thinly sliced marbled beef wrapped around live sizeable prawns that will gradually color itself in the broth.
Priced very decently, the crunch and oceanic aroma that Wild Bamboo Pith with Fresh Prawn Paste delivers goes extremely well with the humble flavours of Signature Golden Imperial Broth.
Ladies who are more conscious about health can go for Premium Oxtail that are supposedly packed with collagen, according to Chef Nian.
As exquisite as it looks, Bountiful Blessings of Three Treasures is a platter of three different kinds of mushrooms – Morel, Matsutake and Lion’s Mane Mushroom. Expect fleshy texture, especially those of Lion’s Mane Mushroom, with woody and smoky flavours.
A meal won’t be complete without a reasonable dessert. Chef Nian cracked his head to bring us an invitingly sparkly House of Gold Pineapple Glutinous Rice. The name pretty much says it all: a mixture of saccharine pineapples and gluey glutinous rice.
For the dessert extreme-goers, the restaurant has Grand Imperial Premium Bird’s Nest to choose from. The sweet-scented dessert boils smooth bird’s nest and coconut milk together.
Inspired by the Chinese culture to combine business, food and drinking, the three-storey high restaurant has up to 7 soundproof private rooms which are suitable for corporate dinner or business meeting over food and drinks.
Their function room, also soundproof and equipped with an AV system, seats 30 people. To make reservation for the VIP room, they require a minimum spending of $50 per person.
Fu Lin Men Dou Lao
16 North Canal Road
Tel: 6532 2777
SMS/Whatsapp/WeChat: 9099 1777