Tan Xiang Charcoal Fish Head Steamboat Restaurant – By Celebrity Ben Yeo and Chef Cao Yong
August 25, 2022
Mediacorp celebrity Ben Yeo has recently opened a zi-char stall selling charcoal fish head steamboat. Located in the same industrial canteen as his SG Umami food stall, Tan Xiang Charcoal Fish Head Steamboat Restaurant serves a range of delicious zi-char dishes.
Charcoal fish head steamboat is a dish that Ben’s family will eat every Chinese New Year since he was a kid. It was a luxury back then and it definitely brings back lots of memories for him. Hence, it was his wish to set up a fish head steamboat stall to reminisce the familiar flavours of home-cooked comfort food he grew up with.
Together with the help of Chef Cao Yong and Ben’s cousin who has been working as a cook, Ben launched a pretty awesome charcoal fish head steamboat and an extensive menu of zi-char dishes.
Their signature charcoal fish head steamboat is served in a knackered copper pot and simmered over charcoal fire. The highlight of the dish is the soup. The addictive broth is crafted with over 10 ingredients, and has a mouthwatering savoury-sweetness. The use of charcoal is probably the reason for the broth’s robust smokiness. Complete with fresh fish slices, vegetables and dried sole fish (ti-po), this dish is an umami bomb! You’ll be asking for refills for sure.
The steamboat is served with your choice of giant grouper ($40 / $60 / $80) or red grouper ($48 / $68 / $88) slices. If you want extra collagen, go for the giant grouper slices. The meat is firm and the skin is so thick and gelatinous. Interestingly, instead of being served already-cooked fish, you will get a plate of raw fish and you can cook it on your own. Add-ons like Japanese scallops, oysters, Iberico pork belly, handmade meatballs and tofu are also available from $3.
The zi char menu here is pretty extensive. Besides the usual suspects such as Curry Fish Head, Fried Prawn Roll and Sweet & Sour Pork, they also serve unique dishes such as Shrimp Balls with Truffle Sauce ($24), Charcoal Yam Ring ($28) and Fermented Pork Belly.
The Shrimp Balls with Truffle Sauce is definitely a more luxurious version of your average Shrimp Balls. They are totally not stingy with their truffle oil and truffle bits at all. It had a distinctive aroma and we could smell the fragrance before it arrived.
Charcoal yam ring is a new dish filled with a colourful medley of capsicums and prawns. The crunchy yam basket boasted a crunchy and puffed exterior.
With just the right amount of meat and fat, the fermented pork belly was marinated in nam yee (fermented bean curd) before it was fried. It was incredibly addictive and an absolutely delicious dish.
We are hooked! The rich broth was so comforting especially on a cold rainy day, and the thick slices of fish made us want to come back for it. And after a full meal, we can chill out at the al fresco beer garden by the river and enjoy an ice cold beer.
By the way, there’s quite a wait if you come by during peak hour, so be sure to head down early.
Tan Xiang Charcoal Fish Head Steamboat Restaurant
Address: 5 Kallang Place, Singapore 339152
Phone: 8847 3776 (reservation via text only)
Opening Hours: 6pm to 11pm, closed on Mondays (open if falls on holiday)