Eat till you drop and feast till you’re numb.

When it comes to getting one’s mala hotpot fix, most of us turn to celebrated a la carte restaurants and, if we’re not careful, run up spectacular bills. There are quality buffet versions, though, if you know where to look. Here’s a list of 10 of the best that will set fire to your tongue but not your wallet.

55 Steamboat

Looking at the vintage lightbulb lettering and suspended umbrellas serving as lampshades, you might expect a brunch menu instead at 55 Steamboat. The six-monthold restaurant (Mon-Fri 11am-3pm $26.80+, Mon-Fri 3pm-10pm and Sat-Sun 11am-12am $29.80+; add $18 for a shared pot or $6 for a personal pot) offers specialties such as pig intestine, precooked for two hours, and spicy beef encrusted in herbs and spices. To cool off, choose from an assortment of reasonably priced beers and beverages from China, and don’t forget the free-flow ice cream in myriad flavours from The Ice Cream Shop. $5 off and a free drink for ladies on Wed nights. 55 South Bridge Road. Tel: 6533 7608

Frog Meat Fish Head (美蛙鱼头)

Located one street away from its parent restaurant Old Chengdu, Frog Meat Fish Head (daily 11am-2.30am, Mon-Thu $23.80++, Fri-Sun $26.80++; soups range from $5 to $15) provides hotpot diners with a large vessel that holds up to three soups. Aside from the mala broth ($6), you may want to try their signature frog meat fish head soup ($15), which contains two frogs and one fish head. Enjoy free-flow of Chinese desserts such as fried mantou, tang yuan and mango pudding, and revel in hotpot bliss till 2.30am. 5 Mosque Street. Tel: 6226 0986

Guo Fu (国府)

Beef hotpot is the highlight at Guo Fu, which showcases the cuisine of Northeast China. The 12-year-old restaurant (daily 11.30am-3pm $23.90++, Mon-Thu and Sun 3-10.30pm $25.90++, Fri-Sat 3-10.30pm $27.90++; soups priced at $3 to $7) equips diners with personal hotpots for hygiene purposes. Also, the mala soup is served strained so you won’t have to navigate around the herbs and spices when fishing out your food. The chief draw is surely the free-flow of cooked items such as xiao long bao, scallion pancake and steamed mantou. #01-31 China Square Central, 20 Cross Street. Tel: 6557 0906

Hao Lai Wu (好来屋)

As if to match up to the grandeur of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple next door, Hao Lai Wu’s old-meets-new interior is unabashedly kitschy with loud Chinesethemed pop art. Colourful oil drum chairs have bag storage under the cushion, and each table is fitted with a grill and a crystal pot, which acquires a mystical red glow during cooking. The affordable buffet (Mon-Thu 11am-3pm $17.80+, Mon-Thu 3pm-3am and Fri-Sun 11am-3am $22.80+) offers over 90 items, from bamboo shoots to baby squid. 8 Sago Street. Tel: 6221 0065

Le Le Pot

At Le Le Pot, there are over 70 items on the buffet menu (daily 11am-3pm and 5-11pm, Mon-Thu $24.80 nett, Fri-Sun $25.80 nett; soup costs $5), consisting of 90% hotpot items (order the handmade meat dumplings) and a handful of cooked sides (try the fried pumpkin cake). Need a drink? Over 60 options are available, including various types of sake, 14 beers and a popular range of freezes in flavours such as Ribena aloe vera and Korean yuzu. The eight-year-old establishment is headed by stunt coordinator and former Mediacorp artiste Wang Yanbin. #01-23, 58 Seng Poh Road. Tel: 6222 9442 // 382 East Coast Road. Tel: 6348 8597

Ma La Hui Cui Guan (麻辣荟萃馆)

In the same stretch of eateries as Rochor Original Beancurd and Sing Ho Hainan Chicken Rice, Ma La Hui Cui Guan recently became, in its seventh year, the first Halal-certified mala hotpot restaurant in Singapore. Known for its generous portions and numerous a la carte Sichuan dishes, the restaurant supplies each hotpot diner with a personal pot which can contain one or two soups, though a large shared pot is available on request. The buffet is available daily and service runs till 6am (daily 2pm-5pm $25+, 5pm-6am $28+). 260 Middle Road. Tel: 6333 5535

MANLE (满乐)

MANLE, the newest restaurant concept by ASTONS, has two branches: the first, more spacious one in Downtown East, and a cosier, slightly hidden outlet in City Square Mall (look for its outdoor entrance next to McDonald’s). Apart from the usual hotpot items, the dinner-only buffet (daily 5-10pm $28.80+) also provides free-flow drinks, cooked food, fruits and ice cream. Five soups are available, including one that changes monthly, and your pick determines the colour of your personal pot. July’s soup of the month is creamy fish broth. #02-344 Downtown East E!Avenue, 1 Pasir Ris Close. Tel: 6386 5332 // #B1-01 City Square Mall, 180 Kitchener Road. Tel: 6634 2538

Peach Garden

Peach Garden’s hotpot buffet (Mon-Fri 11am-2.30pm and 6-9.30pm $48++, Sat-Sun 6-9.30pm $58++; 1-for-1 promotion till end Aug) is offered only at their Thomson Plaza outlet and boasts an impressive four-tier vessel which allows you to (from top to bottom) steam, warm, barbecue and boil your food. Be sure to order premium ingredients such as flower crab, fish maw and lamb fillet; also dig into the unlimited supply of carrot cake, Yang Chow fried rice and seafood vermicelli. Two caveats: a minimum of four diners is required at each hotpot sitting, and wasted food costs $10 per 100g. #01-88 Thomson Plaza, 301 Upper Thomson Road. Tel: 6451 3233


Despite its Japanese name, Tanyoto (Mon-Fri 11.30am-4.30pm $28.80++, 8-11.30pm $32.80++; Sat-Sun add $2; soup and sauces cost $8.80) is a Sichuan hotpot chain with hundreds of outlets across Asia and a Singapore outpost since 2008. Prominently situated next to Clarke Quay, the duplex restaurant has an elegant interior, with a main dining area on the first floor and private rooms on the second. There is a two-hour time limit on each buffet sitting, and at dinner, you’ll be able to order a few additional items such as squid, pig liver and prawn balls. #01-25 Liang Court, 177 River Valley Road. Tel: 6836 6839

The Magic of ChongQing Hot Pot

This list wouldn’t be complete without the oldest kid on the block, or, according to its slogan, ‘The First, The Best, The Original Since 1994’. At The Magic of ChongQing Hot Pot, the buffet (Mon-Thu 12-3pm $22.90++, Fri-Sun 12-3pm $24.90++, Mon-Thu 6-10.30pm $35.90++, Fri-Sun 6-10.30pm $38.90++) comes with single servings of side dishes such as xiao long bao, potstickers and water chestnut jelly that are meant to give the tongue some respite from the fiery heat of the mala soup. #04-06 Tanglin Shopping Centre, 19 Tanglin Road. Tel: 6734 8135

Looking for more heat? Check out our rundowns of spicy challengesspicy snacks, or read our sizzling hot July issue of BiTES here.