Delicious steamboat without the MSG at Teochew Big Brother

Red grouper steamboat at Teochew Big Brother. (Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

By Kwok Kar Peng

Few Asian restaurants and eateries here would dare boast of not using MSG in their dishes. That ubiquitous food additive adds that delicious umami flavour, but the thirstiness that comes soon after can be annoying.

One place that Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore discovered has managed to stay true to natural flavours.

Newly-opened coffee-shop eatery Teochew Big Brother, located at Block 9 Toa Payoh Industrial Park and serving authentic Teochew and Hong Kong fare, swears off MSG in all of its dishes, including its homemade steamboat broth and chilli sauces.

Owner/chef Mr Randy Chan prepares the fish soup stock using fish head and six types of vegetables like green papaya and celery. The resulting soup is light and tasty, with an unpretentious sweetness.

Mr Chan, who moved from Hong Kong to Singapore more than 20 years ago, said he’s a self-taught chef who started off cooking for his two children at home. Daughter Apple, 28, has acted in several Hong Kong TVB dramas, and is the female lead in Jack Neo’s upcoming film Ah Boys To Men 4. She recalled growing up on a healthy diet of her father’s fish soup.

The soup stock for the steamboat at Teochew Big Brother is prepared using fish head and six types of vegetables. (Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

At the food stall, the red grouper for the steamboat is cleaned and sliced upon ordering. Diners can opt to add in other items, like Hokkaido scallops, US beef shabu-shabu, prawns, and vegetables, at additional cost.

In spite of its humble location, the stall serves up a quality that’s way above par. The scallops and prawns are huge and juicy, and the beef slices well-marbled. The homemade chilli dipping sauce is extraordinarily spicy, so beware/enjoy.

Try, too, Mr Chan’s tender Teochew braised duck with homemade sauce; chicken in a very fragrant Hong Kong-style spring onion sauce; and the collagen-rich pork trotter.

Address: Block 9, Toa Payoh Industrial Park, #01-1209, Singapore 319061.
Tel: 9067 0800
Take feeder bus number 238 from the Toa Payoh bus interchange to Toa Payoh Lorong 8 (bus stop number 52399)

Opening hours:
Open daily; Lunch 11am – 3pm; Dinner 6pm – 11pm

– Teochew Braised Duck, $36 for a whole duck.
– Chicken in Hong Kong-style Spring Onion Sauce, $26 for a whole chicken.
– Pork Trotter, $18 for a whole piece.
– Red Grouper Seafood Steamboat (No MSG), Seasonal price.

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