A short stroll from Chinatown MRT’s Exit A brings us to a host of food stalls, one of them being the unbelievable Yuelongmen. This steamboat restaurant proudly curates weekday lunch buffets which include a bottomless flow of xiao long baos and dumplings at a humble $16.90. I personally was sold at the notion of ‘free flow xiao long baos’, on top of the fact that this was already an unbeatable price. Now, the last factor in the equation was to conduct a taste and ambience test. Excitement washed over me as I pushed open the door.
I was greeted the sight of patrons eagerly heaping their plates from rows of raw food and vegetables stationed on the left. Honestly, the layout of the entrance was slightly claustrophobic—the cashier was directly opposite the buffet selection, causing a congested blend of customers queuing for the bill, people entering or leaving the establishment, and those still in the midst of selecting ingredients. Furthermore, I was here on a weekday afternoon. Inferring from this, I could not imagine how packed the place might be during dinnertime or on weekends!
Soon enough we were ushered to a table, where I immediately placed an order for dumplings, xiao long baos and meat slices to avoid additional delay. The latter consisted of thin beef and pork rolls which were only available upon request; they were not displayed alongside the other food items. We settled on having miso and chicken broth as our soup bases from a menu which also comprised tomato, mala, mushroom and sour fish. With that ascertained, I hurriedly made a beeline to join the other diners in the pursuit of filling our bubbling pots.
My personal favourites from the plethora were the clams, assorted mushrooms and prawns. In retrospect, the miso was a clever choice, as it did accentuate the savouriness of the foods simmered with it. On the other hand, the chicken broth was slightly too mild. It would definitely suffice as a soup on its own, but perhaps not for marinating anything. I heard that the mala was popular, but unfortunately I shied away from it for fear of it being too spicy! Wrong decision.
I loved how the meats arrived in such a visually pleasing arrangement—tantalising on the eyes as a prelude to the same treatment our taste buds would soon receive.
Well, this is no Din Tai Fung, so it would be unfair for me to compare the xiao long baos and dumplings to theirs. Not the best I’ve sampled for sure, I was slightly disappointed in the lack of soup held within the xiao long bao, but its overall succulent flavour and tender meat salvaged it well. Hence, it undoubtedly earned a thumbs up from me, especially since there was an unlimited quantity.
To counter and balance out the piquant tang of the meal, cool, sweet dessert would bring about a superb resolution, and Yuelongmen had perfect awareness of this. I really appreciated its little ice cream station, complete with an assortment of optional toppings and chocolate sauce. This humble scoop of cookies and cream was more than adequate in cleansing my palate.
To conclude this entry, I enjoyed my time here and the full belly I walked away with could attest to that. Sadly I should have utilised the inexhaustible servings of xiao long baos and dumplings more, but I could not stomach any more after chowing down everything else. (I really did not wish to waste any food). The experience at this gem is truly worth more than what we paid for, and I highly recommend this to steamboat lovers who would like to satisfy their cravings without having to shell out exorbitant amounts.
Mon-Thurs: $16.99 (Lunch) $24.99 (Dinner)
Fri: $16.99 (Lunch) $26.99 (Dinner)
Sat, Sun & PH: $19.99 (Lunch) $26.99 (Dinner)
Child (5-10 y/o)
$9.99 (Lunch) $12.99 (Dinner)
– Prices exclude GST & Service Charge
– Dining duration: 1 Hour 40 Mins
Yue Long Men Hotpot 悦龍門火锅
Address: 75 Pagoda Street Chinatown MRT Exit A
11.30am – 4:30pm lunch
4:30pm – 10:30pm dinner
Written by Claire