The girls and I decided to indulge in the hot pot lunch buffet at The Magic of ChongQing Hot Pot (重庆火锅馆) for our post-Christmas gathering and Kristine’s belated birthday celebration. Located in Tanglin Shopping Centre at the relatively quiet Tanglin Road, this famous Chinese restaurant serves delectable ala carte Chinese hot pot buffet at a reasonable price.
This is the N times I’ve patronized the restaurant and I still enjoy the food every time so this review is long overdue. Even though it’s rather out of the way, The Magic of ChongQing Hot Pot has been around for a long time owing to its reputation for serving delicious flavoursome hot pot. We arrived at 12pm as their buffet time is from 12pm to 3pm. If you’re a first time diner, the waitress will offer to order on your behalf. Of course, you can reject them politely and order your preferred items, which is what I always do. For small eaters, you can order the ala carte items instead of having the buffet.
The Magic of ChongQing Hot Pot is designed to simulate an oriental ambience. There are many oriental elements such as the Chinese red lanterns hanging at the sides of the restaurant, numerous Chinese inscriptions, wooden tables and chairs, and traditional Chinese utensils. What stood out to me was the long nose teakettle they used to serve us tea (second and third picture below). It made me feel like I was having tea in a real Chinese teahouse.
Complimentary condiments are available for your mix. Four sauces are available and you are supposed to mix a little of each into an even blend. The resulting mixture will help you to alleviate the spiciness of the “Ma-La Tang” spicy broth when you dip your food into it. The four sauces are: Sesame Peanut Sauce, Sesame Oil, Garlic Chili Soya Sauce, and Chili Sauce.
Hot Pot Broths
There are three types of broths for the lunch buffet:
1. Ma-La Tang (Mild, Standard or Spicy)
2. Old Faithful Chicken Broth
3. Preserved Sour Vegetable in Chicken Broth
The girls and I always go for half pot “Old Faithful Chicken Stock” and half pot “Ma Lang Tang”. In case you are wondering what “Ma La Tang” is, it literally means “Spicy Numbing Broth”! The layer on top of the “Ma La Tang” is the chili oil. You can request for the staff to scoop out the oil if you prefer it to be less spicy / oily. I seldom do that as it would kind of defeat the purpose and make me a less satisfied glutton.
This is our favourite dish! Although it doesn’t look very appetizing, it is surprisingly palatable after being cooked. For some reason, it just goes so well with the broths. Below is the size of one portion and it is actually very little after the staff scrapes it into the broth. We can easily order 5-8 plates each round.
Personally, I like this a lot too as it goes very well with the “Ma-la Tang” spicy broth. Somehow, the white powdery stuff on the wanton makes the skin smooth and slippery when cooked.
This plate of “special” items consists of handmade meatballs and golden-brown fishcake tofu. As per the name, these are the special items of The Magic of ChongQing Hot Pot and the dish is complimentary. However, only the first plate is free and you need to pay if you want more. The girls and I only like the meatballs!
Clockwise from top left: ‘The Special’, Chicken Balls, Sliced Bamboo Shoots, Wanton Dumplings, Pork Balls, Button Mushrooms
Our Overflowing Tray: Fish Paste (five plates!), Luncheon Meat, Sliced Fish and Golden Mushrooms
Watercress Veg, Lotus Roots, Sliced Pork and more Fish Paste!
Sweet and Savoury Tidbits
Every diner having the buffet is entitled to one complimentary serving of each of the respective “tidbits” below. However, we were not served item 6 (Eight Treasures “Black Rice” or Mixed Fruits in Syrup) and I think you have to request from the staff if you want to try those two tidbits.
- Meat & Chives Dumpling
- Xiao Long Tang Bao
- Egg Coated Glutinous Square
- Fried Roll Buns
- Water Chestnut Jelly
- Eight Treasures “Black Rice” or Mixed Fruits in Syrup
The girls and I are all sweet-toothed and it turned out that we all loved the “Egg Coated Glutinous Square” and the “Fried Roll Buns” (second picture below) dipped in condensed milk. The amalgamation of sweet and salty flavours is simply to die for!
Xiao Long Tang Bao
Clockwise from left: Egg Coated Glutinous Square, Water Chestnut Jelly, Fried Roll Buns
Conclusion: Mouth-Watering Food, Wide Variety, Reasonable Price
Personally, I feel the buffet at The Magic of ChongQing Hot Pot is reasonably priced for the wide food range and superior quality. The service is generally decent but when the restaurant is fully packed, the staff might get busy and forget your orders. Otherwise, they are generally prompt and courteous. Lastly, here’s a picture of us feeling full and absolutely satisfied!
Sweet Tooth Fairies
The Magic of Chong Qing Hot Pot
Address: 19 Tanglin Road, #04-06 Tanglin Shopping Centre, Singapore 247909
Tel: +65 6734 8135
Lunch: 12pm to 3pm, last order 2.15pm
Dinner: 6pm to 11pm, last order 10pm
*Fri to Sun, PH eve, PH: Round 1 Dinner – 6pm to 8pm, Round 2 Dinner – 8.15pm to 11pm
The Magic of Chong Qing Hot Pot Buffet Price
Lunch (Mon to Thur): Adult $20.90++ Child $13.90++
Lunch (Fri to Sun, PH Eve, PH): Adult $22.90++ Child $14.90++
Dinner (Mon to Thur) : Adult $32.90++ Child $22.90
Dinner (Fri to Sun, PH Eve, PH): Adult $34.90++, Child $23.90++
*Prices subject to change on PH and PH eve