After a hiatus due to the Covid restrictions, many things in Haidilao was not allowed – large table, sauce bar, and the flinging ramen noodles. Finally, they are all back!
You’ve probably been living under a rock if you haven’t heard of Haidilao 海底捞, the Chinese hotpot chain that takes customer service to a new level. But the pandemic hasn’t been kind to hotpot chains given safe distancing measures.
Everything that make Haidilao special – like free manicure while you are waiting for the long queue for tables to turn; like the sauce bar and unlimited fruits and appetisers and desserts; like free drinks and snacks and table games if you do not want a manicure. And when Covid struck and social distancing was required, they put giant dolls in place of empty seats to make the place feel full.
Finally after two long years, the authorities in Singapore relaxed the social restrictions further to allow for 10 pax dining as well as late night drinking (of alcohol) from 29 Mar onwards. This inspired us to go out in droves, just in case they decided to tighten it again. With this easing, many SOPs were also relaxed.
And for the first time in the last two years, the self-service sauce bar is back! We could go and mix and match our favourite condiments to make our own unique sauces and dips. This was sorely missed since this was an important part of the hotpot experience since Haidilao brought it to Singapore almost 10 years ago. Before Haidilao, sauces were only chopped chilli in soy sauce, and house made chilli mix. Since then, we would mix tahini, seafood sauce, beef sauce, shacha sauce in any way we want.
Another small detail that was left out during the pandemic was the service to peel the shell of prawns for you. Now it’s back. Call me lazy, but don’t you miss this part of the meal 😉
The dancing ramen was also a must order for its entertainment value. The hygiene level of the ramen was questionable but Princess loved it. It was also stopped during the restrictive period.
Everything else was the same – good value, excellent service and the same simple tastes of hotpot. I was just disappointed that the laksa and bak kut teh soup base options were no longer available. Otherwise it looks like everything is back to the new normal.
海底捞 Haidilao Hot Pot @ Sun Plaza
30 Sembawang Dr, #02-01 Sun Plaza, Singapore 757713
Visited in Apr 2022