Hao Lai Wu BBQ & Steamboat: A Flavourful Buffet Experience in Singapore (2023)


Brian Kennett

Brian Kennett

Amateur Chef and Traveling Foodie Extraordinaire

Christmas Brunch at Hao Lai Wu BBQ, Chinatown

Hao Lai Wu BBQ was not your ‘normal Christmas brunch. I could make all this up and say we have planned and booked to come here… Far from it. I/we messed up and did not book anything for Xmas day lunch/brunch. I assumed that by staying in the hotel we’d have auto-access to be able to dine there – not so it seems.

But what a cracking piece of misfortune and fate turning our Xmas day food experience into an absolutely fantastic one at Hao Lai Wu BBQ. Plus what a bonus on the $$$ front as I reckon we saved about $800 not dining at the hotel and got way more food and beer and it was really just superb to do something radically different. Well this year, 2020, has been a year of ‘different’.

Lots of little things caused this to happen today. It goes like this:

Singapore is home to the well-known steamboat and barbecue restaurant Hao Lai Wu BBQ. They provide an eating experience in the form of a buffet with many different foods. The restaurant’s wide variety of seafood, marinated meats, shabu-shabu dishes, starters, hot station products, cut fruits, and other goods are well-known. Customers can choose from a variety of flavours and cooking methods, such as crystal hotpot, BBQ hotplate, and mala grilled fish. Hao Lai Wu BBQ wants to give its clients a special dining experience and help them make lasting memories.

For its buffet, the restaurant offers a variety of price points, with weekday rates ranging from $26.80++ to $29.80++ and higher prices on weekends and holidays. The soup is priced individually and normally costs between $8 and $12. Some guests have praised the variety and quality of the cuisine at Hao Lai Wu BBQ, while others have found it to be ordinary and have complained about the setting or service.

Hao Lai Wu BBQ Review, Chinatown

I forgot to book Xmas Day brunch at the hotel, rather I didn’t think I would need to as we are staying in the hotel anyways… We decided to wander and try out a place we had not frequented in years, Yum Cha in Chinatown so off we went. Wifey wanted to get a new shawl, and where better than Chinatown for that?

Whilst waiting for his Mum to finish shopping, Jude Jude was playing with a squeezy ball thing which decided to burst all over his shirt & shorts. Now we needed to buy new ones for him and I know the place – the old shopping centre with the wet market below – that meant walking up to Sago Street.

New t-shirt & shorts later I suggested we walk up the road to see the temple before heading back for lunch – and what did we walk past? Yep, Hao Lai Wu BBQ.

Also as we sat there, right next door is an uber-cool VR Gaming/Escape Room place – so that is now booked for the kids for Boxing Day.

So, do you see what I mean re fate and us ending up at this Hao Lai Wu BBQ restaurant today? All of the above events added together made us walk past the restaurant and check the menu luckily have a 5-seater table on the street ready just for us. It was a brilliant lunch. Fantastic actually. We sat, chatted, laughed, played with gifts, and planned the days ahead.

Clearly being stared at a lot. You could hear the minds ticking over; “Angmo must have taken a wrong turn and got lost?” “Angmo has no white friends for Xmas Day…?” Bloody brilliant – seriously LOVED lunch today sitting there in Chinatown. One to talk about, not forget as it blends in with other hotel brunches that are pretty same same.

Cracking Xmas celebration. Just thanks to family K for loving it too.

High up on the recommendation list is this place. I reckon we’ll be visiting again soon. At $180 all in for all that food and beer after beer and drink after drink, I can say absolutely we’ll be coming back again haha. That was the per-person cost for brunch at The Pickering Park Royal (excl free-flow).

Come and see them at; 6 Sago Street, Chinatown, opposite the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.

Let’s have a look at; Hao Lai Wu BBQ Review in Chinatown


Xmas Brunch @ Hao Lai Wu BBQ, Chinatown
I saw the furniture and was hooked. I then saw the table next to ours with a ‘yin-yang’ soup pot and BBQ grill – WTF – it’s Chinese BBQ & Hotpot combined. I was now double-hooked.
Xmas Brunch @ Hao Lai Wu BBQ, Chinatown
It’s just such a cool #modsin vibe in an old part of Chinatown. The decor, furniture, murals, and the general concept are all real of cool-vibe and we’re going in hard…
Xmas Brunch @ Hao Lai Wu BBQ, Chinatown
Here is that ‘yin-yang’ soup pot. This is a brilliant concept as it allowed us to have a fishy version for Wifey & #1 and a meaty version for Strawberry Blonde, Jude Jude, and me. One left is this incredible Collagen Beauty Pot (check out that collagen – it melted down really quickly – quite amazing) and on our side Secret Recipe Pork Bone. Hell yes!!! You just know this is going to be so good!!!
Xmas Brunch @ Hao Lai Wu BBQ, Chinatown
Happy Wifey and Hubby about to start the food adventure – BBQ grill is on and two soups are starting to bubble away… Bring it on.
Xmas Brunch @ Hao Lai Wu BBQ, Chinatown
They surely do not shirk on the portions here – razor clams, prawns, mud crab, squid tentacles, fish, scallops, etc all served up on a cracking big plastic tray. No airs or graces, or silver service but quality produce and loads of it.
Xmas Brunch @ Hao Lai Wu BBQ, Chinatown
And on the meat side of the table, we were amply looked after too – quail eggs, sweetcorn, cabbage, spam, marinated pork ribs, bacon-wrapped Enoki mushrooms, USDA sliced beef, pork collar, hot dogs, and pork belly – let’s be having you, you buggers. Holy shit that is a tonne of food, and we seriously ordered low down (as in not being greedy) you just get a massive serving per tick in the box you put.
Xmas Brunch @ Hao Lai Wu BBQ, Chinatown
And we’re off. The paper you can see on the grill is designed to stop the oils from spitting. Er, yeah right. We had a couple of mighty explosions and I don’t mean Jude Jude farting or burping. Everyone would cringe as soon as they heard the ‘POP’ because what came next was needle-like pain stabs up your arms as you got ‘splashed’ in a spray of boiling oil. Me being me, I loved it here at Hao Lai Wu BBQ.
Xmas Brunch @ Hao Lai Wu BBQ, Chinatown
Wifey clearly having the time of her life at Hao Lai Wu BBQ, just all smiles…
Xmas Brunch @ Hao Lai Wu BBQ, Chinatown
And the final photo is me and my little Sous Chef, Jude Jude adorning our newly acquired Chef bandanas for the next ChillaxBBQ event. Damn, he looks so so good!!!

And that was the crazy Xmas brunch thrust on us literally at the time of eating need. Having nothing planned this year turned out to be one of the best, caused by fate. We loved it. Hey, you’re only allowed a few people around the house and we were desperate to have time out of the condo too.

Xmas Brunch @ Hao Lai Wu BBQ, Chinatown, was an excellent brunch. Great location, great food, and even the music was kind of cool and catchy – and all for $180. We had a blast. Not a Santa or reindeer in sight though haha. Back to the hotel after to re-group, freshen up, change, and then off to dinner. It’s a big food day everyone.

Try this place if you happen to be in Chinatown and love a bit of self-cook BBQ and/or Hotpot. It’s up there with the best we have had!


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What are the most frequently asked questions about Hai Lai Wu BBQ?

Q: How much does the buffet cost at Hao Lai Wu?

A: The buffet prices at Hao Lai Wu vary, with weekday rates ranging from $26.80++ to $29.80++ and higher rates on weekends and public holidays.

Q: What are the operating hours of Hao Lai Wu in Chinatown?

A: The exact operating hours may vary, but typically, Hao Lai Wu in Chinatown opens in the late morning or early afternoon and closes in the late evening or early morning.

Q: What are the popular dishes at Hao Lai Wu BBQ?

A: Some popular dishes at Hao Lai Wu BBQ include a wide variety of seafood options, marinated meats, shabu-shabu ingredients, and starters.

Q: Are reservations required for dining at Hao Lai Wu?

A: While reservations are not always required, it is recommended to make a reservation, especially during peak dining hours or busy periods, to secure a table at Hao Lai Wu.

Q: What is the location of Hao Lai Wu in Burlington Square?

A: Hao Lai Wu in Burlington Square is located at #01-57 Burlington Square, 175 Bencoolen St, Singapore 189649.

The new locations for Hao Lai Wu BBQ Restaurant

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