Nan Hwa Chong Fish-Head Steamboat Corner

J November 02, 2012
 
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3.4 (6)
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Nan Hwa Chong Fish-Head Steamboat Corner

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Nan Hwa Chong hawker stall cum restaurant has been in business since 1927 and has been a culinary success for close to a century. Housed in an atmospheric colonial shophouse and occupying a prime location on the corner of North Bridge Road and Jalan Sultan (beside Alsagoff Arab School and across the road from the Textile Centre), Nan Hwa Chong has been serving up authentic, traditional fish soup steam boat for three generations to date.

 

The laid back, old world kopi tiam setting in the historic Arab Street vicinity makes Nan Hwa Chong a uniquely Singapore dining experience for the whole family.

User reviews

6 reviews

 
(1)
 
(3)
 
(1)
 
(1)
1 star
 
(0)
Overall rating 
 
3.4
Food / Beverage 
 
4.0  (4)
Ambience 
 
2.8  (4)
Service 
 
2.9  (4)
Value 
 
3.6  (4)
Overall Score 
 
3.4  (6)
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Skip the surf and get the turf
Overall Score 
 
2.0
I have been living in the vicinity of this tzi char stall for the longest time and in the recent years, I have observed that the weekend crowd comes by the hordes. A couple of years back, they expanded with another stall opposite the original. With high hopes, I arrived in the early evening and got settled down. By settled down, I meant a middle-aged woman pointing me to a table and shouting at me to sit in mandarin.

I ordered its signature fish head with a couple of other side dishes and I must say, it was not worth the hype. The fish head was overly seasoned on the salty side and the soup tasted as though someone poured a bag of MSG into it. I literally had to order a drink to cleanse my taste buds.

With my saliva tasting like saltwater, I went for the pork and chicken dishes. They were surprisingly mild and delightful, with the prawn-paste chicken crunching and popping in my mouth in exuberance. The meat melted gently away from the bone as the fragrance of the marinade permeates through the damage that the soup did.

For a place that specialises in seafood, it truly disappoints but when it comes to everything else, they come together brilliantly. I hold the opinion that opening a second shop should not dilute the quality of the food here that much. I am sure that if they are able to recreate how their signature dish tasted like from before, I would definitely be a part of the weekly horde.

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Recommend to Friend:
No
LZ
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Ok if you can wait
Overall rating 
 
2.5
Food / Beverage 
 
3.5
Ambience 
 
2.5
Service 
 
2.0
Value 
 
2.5
Overall Score 
 
2.5
Unless you visit this place at odd hours, be prepared for a long wait. This is attributed to the seemingly long preparation time, huge crowds, but also slow service. In the few times that I have gone to this place, I am not able to count the number of times staff has ignored customers looking to order etc...

The steamboat itself is quite good, soup is tasty, ingredients are fresh. You can also get the experience of having a traditional charcoal steamboat for a meal here for a reasonable price. However, my favourite items are the tze char dishes, the prawn paste chicken and the stir fried vegetables. They are of quite a high standard, albeit being slightly expensive compared to what you would get at a coffee shop. On a side note, the steamboat soup is laden with MSG which may make you feel thirsty after the meal.

The ambience is very noisy and the lack of proper ventilation of the smoke from the charcoal steamboat means that the place can be rather smoky, and is not the most conducive place for a nice quiet meal. Overall, the eatery is of an average standard
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Sweat it out for fish steamboat
(Updated: January 23, 2013)
Overall rating 
 
3.5
Food / Beverage 
 
4.5
Ambience 
 
2.0
Service 
 
2.0
Value 
 
4.0
Overall Score 
 
3.5
Ahh, Nan Hwa Chong Promfret fish head, a favourite family dinner spot of my dad. Upon arriving at this street, you will find that getting a empty parking lot is like trying to find toilet roll in a public bathroom. If you somehow managed to park legally within 10 mins walking distance from this restaurant, go and buy 4D now.

Upon entering the very old-fashioned establishment, the first thing you will notice is the heat. That is to be expected from the mass amount of charcoal fired steam boats being made, as well as the sheer amount of people waiting to slurp the delicious soup. Every time I've been there, I've had the 'pleasure' of being seated next to the charcoal pit, where you can see fearless men firing tons of charcoal to be used in the steam boats. Traditional methods dictate the use of charcoal, which apparently gives a smokier flavour due to the heat dispersion and kindle used. And boy do Singaporeans love queuing for tradition.

We ordered the Pomfert fish head steam boat (duh), some Sweet and Sour pork, Oyster Sauce Baby Kai Lan and a Prawn Omelette. Pretty standard Zhi Char dishes yea. Then the fun part started- the wait. Somewhere between waiting and sweating, I started to ponder about philosophy and the existentialism of living. With a bit more time, I would have given Aristotle a run for his money in this humid coffee shop while eating fish head steam boat. It took about 20 mins for the first dish to arrive, and a total of 40 mins till the fish head steam boat reached the table.

Regardless of the wait, the fish head steam boat -was- one of the best fish head steam boat I've had in my life. Credit mostly goes to the soup with its well flavoured broth and generous portions of Pomfert slices. The standard stars of fish head soup were all present: sour plum, yam, salted fish and the soup stock was done a lot more flavourful than most places. The price was reasonable too, a 4 person serving was about $30 a pot? Whereas elsewhere you will easily hit $40 for lesser portions.

Other than the sweltering heat and ridiculous, life changing wait, the Fish head Steam boat is really good. Just don't go during dinner hours, try like 3pm or something for a fish head high tea.

Optional Information:

Average Spent Per Person:
20
Best Part:
When the food finally arrives
Branch Location:
North Bridge Road
Recommend to Friend:
Yes
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Very Satisfying Steamboat
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Food / Beverage 
 
4.0
Ambience 
 
3.0
Service 
 
4.0
Value 
 
4.0
Overall Score 
 
4.0
Nan Hwa Chong serves really yummy steamboat- without the compromise of your health. The soup seems to be devoid of MSG unlike the broth of other steamboat restaurants. You will not feel thirsty even after gulping in mouthfuls of it. Another plus point is that the soup is rich and flavoursome, but not greasy and overpowering. The fish slices are also fresh and enjoyable.

This steamboat restaurant is usually extremely crowded(as expected with its delectable food). Do make a prior reservation to secure a table.

Featuring its light and mild-tasting soup simmered to perfection, Nan Hwa Chong Steamboat Corner is indeed worth visiting.

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Recommend to Friend:
Yes
G
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Deli!
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Food / Beverage 
 
4.0
Ambience 
 
3.5
Service 
 
3.5
Value 
 
4.0
Overall Score 
 
4.0
This is truly one of Singapore's food delights. On a typical Friday night, you can see people queueing up just to have one of their famous fish steamboats. I used to pass by this eatery everyday, and I have never seen an empty seat during peak hours.

I have to say that the soup is what truly stands out here. There are numerous fish-head steamboats out there, but most of their soups are bland and too salty. The broth is perfect, delicious and not salty, and I do believe that it itself is worth the price of the meal. A definite must try.

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Recommend to Friend:
Yes
IK
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Steam
(Updated: November 02, 2012)
Overall Score 
 
4.5
This comes in a steam-boat format, which I am never a big fan of because Singapore is a hot and humid country and I see no reason to add to the heat and humidity. Moreover, I really don’t appreciate my face getting steamed (why does the vapour always drift in my direction only?) and my coiffure getting wilted. My friend, however, is undaunted by such petty concerns and dragged me to Nan Hwa Chong Steamboat Corner.

The soup is simply amazing. The complexity of flavor is phenomenal and comes from a copious amount of kiam he (salted fish) in the broth which tastes like an entire ocean of sea creatures was boiled alive. If there was any MSG, it must have been minimal because I don’t get that thirsty feeling even after drinking two whole pots of soup (refills are free).

Die die must try.

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Recommend to Friend:
Yes
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