It all started with a casual conversation about how good the fish steamboat at Nam Hwa Chong was last week. And we were almost making our way there the second time in a week, before chancing upon another famous stall, this time at an equally centralised location just beside Bugis MRT.
To be honest, I didn’t know that Xin Yuan Ji existed until a simple Google search, and was pretty surprised by the snaking queue upon arrival. There were at least 30 in the queue, but we were lucky enough to avoid the crowd and were ushered straight in to our spacious table for three for our 630pm booking.
I noticed that each table had a fish steamboat, although you can also order the regular bowl of fish bee hoon for one. But we were focused on the plan, given that we had a craving for steamed fish in a steamboat! There were both red snapper and red garoupa to choose from, and you can opt for either the fish head or fish meat. We opted for the red snapper fish meat, which suited our “lazy” and arguably less adventurous way of consuming fish!
This red snapper cannot be compared to the softer and smoother pomfret at Nan Hwa Chong, but I reckon that the soup base in this is tastier, primarily due to the addition of tomato, toufu and generous servings of cabbage.
Our side orders included the Stir Fried (you-mai) with fermented toufu – a dish we ordered based on the waiter’s recommendation. It’s a mixture of salty and sour. Pair it with the rice and the intense taste simmers down to reveal a very unique type of gravy. Divine! Next up was the salted raddish beancurd, which comes with no lack of raddish engulfing the piping hot toufu that is soft on the inside, but thick and crispy on the outside.
Will we be back for more? Yes, and we must remind ourselves to book because that can make or break your meal – waiting for a good 45 minutes is no joke if you’re hungry! And when the Downtown Line is up and running, I can see myself heading there by train, which leads me on just 50 metres to the shop front. Lovely!
Address: 31 Tan Quee Lan Street, #01-01, Singapore 188117
Telephone: 6334 4086