Tian Wai Tian Fishhead Steamboat Restaurant Hot
Serving teo-chew styled fish head steam boat together with 'tze-char' alternatives, this location is increasingly popular in the area of Serangoon where it is situated. It caters mainly for the dinner crowd, and the place is not air-conditioned so be prepared to sweat it out while enjoying the charcoal steamboat pot. For those who are arriving in a big group it might be advisable to arrive earlier or try booking in advance.
User Ratings Summary
User rating summary from: 4 user(s)
Good soup and spicy mussels
The branch I went to was located at Ang Mo Kio Street 22. I had heard many stories about the main branch's service standards so I did not go there. There were always comments about the wait, but I should think it was expected as it was known that the chef tends to accumulate similar orders and cook one big portion of it before serving them to different tables.
The Ang Mo Kio outlet was on the other hand more manageable. We went pretty early and were probably their first customer. After I placed my order, the lady asked for me to pay first. This stunned me a bit as I thought they usually do that at the end of the meal. Probably there were too many cases of "runners".
I ordered their fishhead steamboat and their spicy mussels. Oh my, the spicy sauce that they used was really tasty and the spiciness was just right. The mussels disappeared really fast and so was the sauce that coated the shells. I would recommend this dish as the sauce was really tasty and if you put it all plain rice, that's all you need.
For the steamboat, the fish was very fresh and there were many ingredients in it such as yam, white cabbage, tomatos, tofu. The soup was sweet and thick. This is also the main reason that I like it.
Yummy zi char and nothing more
Visited this place a number of times. You have to be early to get a seat as it is always crowded especially on weekends. My must-order is dishes are prawn paste chicken, ngor hiong and steamboat. Our meal started off with the Prawn Paste Chicken which is one of the signature dishes here. It was by far the best Prawn Paste Chicken I have eaten. The texture was so extremely crispy on the outside and the inside was bursting with plenty of that prawn paste flavour. There were 2 types of fish available for steamboat; red snapper or white promfet. We chose the latter. The soup was tasty but I find it a little salty and fish slices were fresh. There were vegetables, plum, seaweed, Ti Po (a kind of fried fish bones) and lots of ginger.
My conclusion would be the food is good but don't expect much from their service. All the employees had a sour look, rude and snobbish. Try not to sit at the back alley as there are rats roaming around.
Tian Wai Tian serves excellent steamboat- the soup is heavenly and the portions of fish meat are given generously. This place also serves other dishes like stir fried vegetables- just like those served in a zi char restaurant. My recommended dishes would be their tofu prawns(forget about recommended,it's a MUST TRY) and prawn paste chicken. Also,be sure to try out their garlic chilli sauce that goes perfectly with the fish.
The only downside about this place is its outrageous queue which can last for over an hour. To avoid the long queue, reach the place slightly before 6pm at its opening time and try to visit on Mondays. Otherwise, patience is needed, but I'm sure that the good food here would soothe your nerves.
cheap and yummy coffeeshop fare
This place gets very crowded at dinner time. Almost all the tables will be taken up and the coffeeshop is quite huge by corner coffeeshop standards. This place is not easy to find for people who aren't familiar with the kovan/serangoon area. To get there by public transport, take the NEL to Kovan and exit at the heartland mall exit. Walk through heartland mall, and exit at the heartland mall exit near gelato shop (i think it's venezia) on the first floor. after that turn right and walk down the row of neighborhood stalls till you reach the end and you'll see a corner coffeeshop on your right. This is where tian wai tian is located.
Besides tian wai tian, which sells zichar and specializes in fishhead steamboat, the coffeeshop also has a good western food stall botak jones style.
For tian wai tian, you get to choose from 3 different varieties of fish and also if you want the fish fried or steamed. you can also choose from either fish head or fish slices. for the both times i went, i had the red grouper slices. The soup was scrumptious with yam and salted fish and some vegetables. The fish was fresh, but bony. I can't remember if there were different sizes, but both times i went i ordered the smallest size for the fish steamboat. it was just enough for 3. both times i went i never had to ask for a refill so i'm not sure if they do free refills for the soup. what i love about tianwaitian is their awesome chilli. it's a garlicky and watery chilli sauce that goes very well with the fish soup. That said, although it's delicious in its own right, the fish soup here doesn't match up to other well known fish soup steamboat places that i've tried.
i also ordered some zi char dishes both times and the dishes were consistently good and also cheap. try the kang kong and the omelette, they were both pretty good and the portions are quite big. expect to pay only about 12-15bucks per pax to fill your tummy.
however, don't expect good or quick service at this place. i have to take cutlery myself and wait at least half an hour for my fish soup. the service staff are quite irritable and generally aren't happy to talk to you unless they are asking you sit down and order.