Hai Di Lao VS Beauty In The Pot: Which Is Better?

by - December 28, 2019


Calling all hot pot lovers!

2019 was a great year for the hot pot business. Earlier this year, Beauty In The Pot opened stores in Singapore and it was crazy. People were queueing hours to enter, and the restaurant dominated every Singaporean female's IG story. Many people also started going to Hai Di Lao - Singapore's OG hot pot destination to compare the two restaurants and see which one was more worth the hype. Being the kiasu kiasi that I am, I went to try both Hai Di Lao and Beauty In The Pot to see for myself, and had a great time at both places.

So here are my reviews of both restaurants, together with ratings of their food, price, service, and dining environment. Lastly, I'll give a verdict on which restaurant I think is better.

Note: This is just my personal opinion and personal preference so it's all very subjective!

Hai Di Lao


I visited the Hai Di Lao at Plaza Singapura on a Thursday evening. It was actually a surprise from my boyfriend, so I wasn't expecting to eat there initially. He didn't make a booking, so we had to wait about 20 minutes for our seats - which was actually quite alright considering we didn't have a reservation.


We sat at the waiting area outside the restaurant and kept ourselves occupied with the free drinks and snacks that were served by the staff. The snacks were really tasty and ranged from sweet to savoury treats such as popcorn and keropok. We also played sudoku; if you completed the puzzle you get S$6 off your meal or a free dish worth S$6, depending on availability.

Usually you can also get a manicure but you'd have to make an appointment!

Later, an enthusiastic staff member came out to show us to our seats. He was super nice and friendly, and even helped my boyfriend carry his heavy-ass bag to our table. Once seated, this really nice female staff cracked jokes while she gave us a bunch of freebies such as lens wet wipes, hair ties, gloves, toothpicks, and zip lock bags. She was also super attentive to our needs which made us feel like royalty.

We ordered a bunch of food through the tablet device, so I'll make a list for your convenience:

  • Soup base - Sichuan Spicy Hot Pot and Haidilao-Styled Bai Yu Hot Pot
  • Steamed and Deep-fried Mini Buns
  • Beef Cheese Ball
  • Signature Beef (sliced)
  • Sliced Pork Belly
  • Cheese Tofu
  • Sliced Bamboo Shoots
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Golden Mushroom
  • Lettuce
  • Potato Slices
  • Fresh Tofu
  • Tofu Skin
  • Quail Eggs
  • La mian
Btw I actually wanted to try the Fresh Pig Brains but my boyfriend was really grossed out...so maybe next time LOL.


So some reviews on the food - I absolutely loved the Haidilao-Styled Bai Yu Hot Pot as it was very creamy and flavourful. Some soup tend to be really bland, but this one had a kick. It also made the food that you put inside really, really creamy, almost gooey. The spicy soup was really, really spicy, but it was delicious. It was also more "辣" (spicy) than "麻" (numbing), and we had to take a few breaks in between drinking it because we kept perspiring.

The meat was great! Super juicy, marinated well and easy to eat. Special shout out to the man tou (mini buns) too, as they were crisp and soft, and went perfect with the condensed milk. I also loved the cheese tofu because the melted cheese was abundant and burst in your mouth.

While the la mian was so-so, the best thing about it was probably the performance brought to us by the chef who did the "flying noodle" dance. He even let my boyfriend give it a try, which was hilarious.

Our billed totalled to S$113.50 including GST and service charge, which I felt was reasonable because we were so full after that. As we both watched a movie before that, we could also use our movie tickets to get S$6 (per ticket) off the bill. However, you had to choose between the sudoku or movie ticket discount because you can't use two promos at once.

I had a really great dining experience at Hai Di Lao because the staff were so attentive, genuine and friendly. It felt like they were really very happy to serve us. They were also very efficient and were constantly alert - clearing our plates, refilling our water, or asking if everything was fine. With such great food and service, I'd come again for sure. The only downside is the long waiting times, especially at other locations such as Clarke Quay.

Rating
Food: 9/10
Service: 10/10
Environment: 7/10
Price: 8/10
Overall rating: 8.5/10

Hai Di Lao @ Plaza Singapura
Address: 68 Orchard Road #04-01/20, Plaza Singapura, 238839 Singapore
Telephone: +65 6250 0990

Beauty In The Pot

I was really excited to go to Beauty In The Pot because it seemed like the whole of Singapore was there that weekend. In fact the day before I tried to queue at BITP at Buona Vista, but was told that we had to wait up to one hour. So the next day (the day we ended up going), I called up the BITP VivoCity branch at around 5pm and got a queue number. There were about 40 tables before us, so plus minus we were expected to wait about 2-3 hours.

The good thing about BITP is that there's an app where you can take a queue number and get updated on the tables in front of you. All you have to do is call the restaurant up and tell them the branch that you want to visit. They'll then send you a text with a link where you can get all the updates on this app.

The BITP at VivoCity also has a waiting area with drinks, as well as a children play area. It took 3 hours before it was our turn to enter the restaurant, and by then we were famished. Thank God we did a call-in reservation.


We were led to our table and taught how to use the tablet to order our food. The tablet was super problematic and couldn't really detect touch, so we took a long time to order. We did ask the staff for help, and even they couldn't order so they just took our order manually. Anyway, here's what we got:

  • Beauty Collagen Broth and Spicy Nourishing Broth
  • Sliced Pork Belly
  • Sliced Beef
  • Fish Balls
  • Meat Balls
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced Bamboo Shoots
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Fresh Tofu
  • Tofu Skin
  • Prawn Pastes
  • La mian
There's also a sauce bar for you to create your own blend of sauces! BITP's signature blend is the shacha sauce, sesame sauce, chili oil, and light soya sauce. The sauce bar also serves fruits such as watermelon and dragon fruit.


BITP’s Beauty Collagen Broth was the best collagen broth I've ever tasted in my life, and yes, it defeats Hai Di Lao. It was so so creamy but so refreshing, and it didn't make us feel jelak at all. The Spicy Nourishing Broth was so-so - I didn't really like it but it worked well when I needed something more bland. The mushrooms in the soup were nice though.


The meat slices were really good, soft and juicy. While the variety of food at BITP is less than Hai Di Lao, I'd say that the portions at BITP is slightly larger. The meat slices are larger, as well as the meatballs. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's what I felt! But overall, the food was really, really great and I had no complaints.

I love love the environment at BITP. The one at VivoCity had pink roses everywhere, and the decoration was really classy. The pink and blue pastels also gave off a really dreamy and girly vibe, which is probably why BITP is so popular among females! The restaurant was also gigantic, and had different dining areas - the private dining rooms, big tables for up to 10 diners, and the cosier 4-seaters. The environment is also less chaotic than Hai Di Lao.

Service wise, I'd say that Hai Di Lao is definitely better. The staff at BITP are polite, but they aren't as hospitable and friendly - but that's really fine with me, since friendliness is a bonus. But I think it's worthy to note that they forgot to serve us our complementary palette cleansers after the meal, which deserves another minus of 1 point.

Our bill was about S$150++ as there were 4 of us so we ordered more food. I would definitely come back to Beauty In The Pot as I really enjoyed the food there, and I hope that there will be more varieties in the future!

Rating
Food: 8/10
Service: 6/10
Environment: 9/10
Price: 8/10
Overall rating: 8/10

Rating
Food: 9/10
Service: 10/10
Environment: 7/10
Price: 8/10
Overall rating: 7.8/10

Beauty In The Pot @ VivoCity
Address: 1 Harbourfront Walk, #03-08/A VivoCity, 098585 Singapore
Telephone: +65 6255 0758

Summary

So after listing out all the ratings and the pros and cons of each restaurant, I personally prefer Hai Di Lao over Beauty In The Pot. While prices are similar for both, there are differences in terms of food variety, service quality, and the dining environment.

As stated above, BITP has slightly less food options, and their service is so-so. During my meal, the staff were often inattentive and it took really long for them to serve the drinks or just to come over to our table. They also didn't really look us in the eye when they spoke to us, and they forgot to serve us our final dish. Environment wise, BITP is more IG-worthy and has really great lighting. The interior is also beautiful and cosy despite the size.

So that's my review for both Hai Di Lao and Beauty In The Pot! Do keep in mind that these are my personal opinions, and that the experiences may differ from customer to customer. Happy eating!

Love this post? Feel free to share and comment below or check out my Farah Diana Steamboat Review here.

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