谭鱼头 Tanyoto Restaurant @ Liang Court Singapore
We love steamboat be it Japanese shabu shabu and sukiyaki style, or more Chinese versions with collagen broth. So a while ago when I chanced upon a lunch buffet for 2 promo for szechuan mala steamboat at 谭鱼头 Tanyoto Restaurant on one of our local restaurant reservation apps, I wasted no time to book a seating for both of us.
It was quite hassle-free as we were quickly ushered to a table for 2 which was very efficiently set up for us after our orders were made. I’d asked for their signature mala pot 招牌红汤头 as well as their fresh fish soup 人气白汤头 for contrast along with some hot pot ingredients as well as side dishes. It didn’t take long for our table to be filled up…
The mala soup base was fiery red. It smelled really potent too so I wasted no time to dunk some of the hot pot ingredients which require longer cooking time into it. One could make out the szechuan peppercorns and chilies, as well as a prominent buttery aroma in the broth.
And here’s a quick photo of some of the ingredients we’d ordered for the first round, from the top 鱼饺 fish dumplings, 鲜鱼片 fish fillet, cocktail sausages, 饺子 mined meat dumplings, 黄喉 arteries (yes they serve that here!!!), 花蟹 swimming crab, 豆腐皮 beancurd skin, 毛肚 ox tripe, 墨鱼滑 cuttlefish paste, 手打猪肉丸 homemade pork ball, 鲜虾 fresh prawns, 五花肉片 pork belly slices， 牛肉片 beef slices. there are also some cold dishes like 麻辣鸡 and 炸鱼皮 fried fish skin to munch on while waiting for the soup bases to come to a boil…
The service was very prompt and all these were laid on our table while I went to get the dipping sauces, which came in a lesser extensive spread compared to other joints like HDL but decent nonetheless. Apart from the usual sesame sauce, chopped chilies and garlic, they also had 韭菜花酱 chives blossoms paste which I’d only seen through documentaries but had never tasted. It turned out to be very salty actually so it has to be concocted alongside other condiments like sesame paste and not eaten on its own with the poached ingredients.
Every table will be served one 鲢鱼头 silver carp fish head upon request. This is a speciality at Tanyoto, though we see this fish which we call 大头鱼 here in Singapore quite often as it is often steamed with a garlic-ginger-chili concoction or used to cook 红烧鱼头. It was quite fresh though laden with bones. The best parts are of course the eyes and the lips, very tender after being lightly poached.
毛肚 Ox tripe is also one of the ingredients we only but often see in szechuan steamboat hotpots. I love it for its chewy and crisp textures and often buy them for braising. But I didn’t go beyond one serving as the ones served at Tanyoto have been bleached… a pity
The prawns come free flow in this buffet and the ones on the day we went were reasonably fresh. Had quite a few servings of it and of course the best part was to suck out the creamy contents encapsulated within the head!
The swimming crab however was an utter disappoint. The pieces we were served were not fresh and in fact smelled of ammonia! We didn’t touch it at all after taking a whiff, in fear that dunking them into the broth would just ruin the whole pot.
The beef slices were really lean and thus cannot withstand prolonged cooking which would cause them to turn dry and fibrous. We were careful to just gently poach them very briefly so that they still retain a hint of pink…
The pork belly slices were a lot better. There is also lamb as well as pig liver and gizzards on the menu.
The service staff were really attentive and helped us with the cuttlefish paste and meatball paste. Perhaps its because we were one of the only 2 tables that day for lunch. The cuttlefish had a prominent taste of MSG in it…
Crispy fried fish skin, which we munched on… nothing much to shout about. For sides, they also serve 凉皮 and 老坛泡椒酱菜 very typical Szechuan style of eating.
麻辣鸡 Poached chicken with mala sauce. It reminds me of 口水鸡 for it too made me salivate profusely from just the sight of it. The drumsticks and thigh were really succulent and the sauce really hit the spot, fiery, savory and numbing at the same time. Ordered another portion of it for myself but stopped myself from going for thirds in fear of my bowel movement the next morning… quite potent stuff.
The buffet also came with free flow desserts like 凉粉 iced jelly and 芦荟桂花蜜 aloe vera with osmanthus syrup (despite them writing “honey” on the menu) which we had multiple servings. The best way of eating I discovered was to mix this two desserts actually to get something which reminded of our local 文头雪.
Drinks do not come as part of the buffet menu but is available free flow at 4 dollars per pax. We ordered homemade barley and sour plum juice but in retrospect, we could have saved on the drinks and have the desserts which would serve well as thirst quenchers instead.
On the whole, we liked how extensive the menu was, with almost 60 items from cold dishes to hot pot ingredients like meat, seafood, vegetables and carbs to choose from. It is a shame that some of the ingredients isn’t as fresh as they really ought to be, while others like 毛肚 and 黄喉 were over-processed (read:bleached!). I would go again for their lunch buffet, to try the other tomato and mushroom soup bases, but this time be more careful with the selection of ingredients, going for only the fresh ones…
177 River Valley Road, Liang Court, Singapore 179030
Monday – Sunday 11.30am – 11.30pm (buffet available only for lunch 11.30 am to 4.15 pm) and supper 9.30 pm to 11.30 pm)