Word has it that Upin was established by people who were once part of Hai Di Lao. Those who have dined at Hai Di Lao should spot the similarities in the concept and flavors. (This is not to be confused with UPOT at SingPost Centre – which offers conveyor belt items with individual hotpot).
Upin Hot Pot at Clarke Quay Central, is relatively new and less well known in the hot pot dining scene.
With the growing popularity of Upin, it opened its second branch at West Coast Plaza in January 2018.
Despite the differences, some foodies don’t mind dining here. That is because they can get an inviting view of the Singapore River, and enjoy hot pot dining at a fraction of a price at Hai Di Lao, minus the long line.
My friends and I chose this place, because we were ’sian’ of the other restaurants’ waiting time, and didn’t mind trying something different.
Price-wise, it attracts those looking for a mid-range hotpot venue – not too expensive (not overly ‘LC’ as well), suitable for most group settings.
For the budget conscious, the trick is to come in a group to try more dishes and boost your dollar power. You are likely to shell out around $35-45 per person.
Similar to HDL, you can customise your own sauces from the wide selection of readily-available condiments. For a fee of $4.00 per person, you can get access to its extensive sauces, seasonings and fruits.
The crowds start to buzz at 6:30pm onwards for dinner and late-night gatherings.
I read that diners will be served up live entertainment during the meal, of traditional Chinese Sze-Chuan art form 变脸 or “Bian Lian” – a face-changing routine presented in the middle of the restaurant as guests enjoy their meal.
However, I got none of that, and so was slightly disappointed.
The menu is entirely ala carte.
While other hotpot restaurants have dual yuan-yang or quadruple pots, Upin serves up a trio of soup bases for $14.00.
Crowd favorites are the Tomato Soup Base, the Spicy Ma La Soup, and the Pork Bone.
Their specialty Tomato Soup Base, was sweet and tangy and went well with anything from pork to seafood.
Good to know the stock was made only with fresh and not canned tomatoes.
For something unusual, go for Black Chicken Soup. It is a naturally sweet stock simmered for 24 hours with herbs like ginseng, red dates, lotus, and angelica fungus.
In terms of recommend items, it included Black Pork ($10.00), Prawn Paste ($12.00), Indian Lettuce ($4.00), Kelp ($4.00), Wide Vermicelli ($5.00) and Mini Sausages ($6.00).
There are imported items like Japanese Kurobuta Pork and Australian Marbled Beef.
Adventurous eaters will love the pig offal platter (kidneys, liver, brain, Sichuan Black Tripe). Not commonly offered in Singapore, you may wanna try this if you are up to it.
To me, I thought most of the items were more or less average, and the one that really stood out was the Assorted Handmade Meatballs for the bouncy texture and flavours.
I would say service here was decent, though not as over-the-top as HDL. I sensed that they were just short-handed and could serve more promptly if there weren’t that many customers.
Upin is to go after a late-night at Clarke Quay, the moderate hotpot place for night owls to satisfy cravings.
Upin Hot Pot (The Central)
Clarke Quay Central #03-87, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, Singapore 059817 (Nearest MRT: Clarke Quay)
Tel: +65 6884 6884
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 3:00am Daily
Reserve Online Now – Upin Clarke Quay Central
Upin Hot Pot (West Coast)
West Coast Plaza #01-02, 154 West Coast Road, Singapore 127371
Tel: +65 6258 5550
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 12:00am Daily
Reserve Online Now – Upin West Coast Plaza