Steamboat is a Malaysian version of Chinese hot pot. It is most of the time a shared meal that is eaten together with other people.  Derived from a Chinese cooking method, the meal is prepared with a simmering metal pot of broth from spicy to mild taste often placed at the center of dining table. The most popular broth used in Malaysia are chicken soup and tom yam.

The raw and fresh ingredients are laid out around the pot. While the pot is kept simmering, these ingredients are placed into the pot to be cooked.Typical steamboat dishes usually include thinly sliced meat, seafood, leaf vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings and tofu. Some even put noodle in the pot.  The cooked food is usually eaten with a dipping sauce.


The steamboat is originally eaten with a pair of chopsticks. However when picking up the food from the pot, it is proper to use a pair of cooking chopsticks and a small perforated ladle.

Certain ingredients especially raw meat and seafood takes longer to cook. It is advisable to put them first so that they will be fully cooked and safe to eat by the time other ingredients are added in the broth.

Image by: faungg’s photos

Hear From Others

Steamboat is one of the most enjoyable ways to have a nice long dinner with friends and family. All you need is a pot of good stock and any condiments you fancy. Seafood, meat, vegetables and noodles – the varieties are endless.


I call it the Chinese fondue. For most people, chocolate fondue is the first thing that came to mind. But instead of the luscious decadent melted chocolate, you’ll get chicken broth; instead of the vibrant strawberries, banana bread and pillowy marshmallows, you’ll get the vibrant green of chinese vegetables, fish and meatballs and the pillowy tofu. Japanese called it shabu shabu, some Chinese call it a hot pot and for Malaysian Chinese, we call it steamboat.


One of my all time favorite meals growing up was Chinese hot pot. Or, as we called it, steam boat. I’m pretty sure my parents called it that to make it more fun for us, because boats are something that kids like?