As a die-hard mala fan, it brings me great pleasure to write this article. Chongqing grilled fish, which is essentially 烤鱼 or “grilled fish”, has grown in popularity over the years, and it’s easy to see why.
This authentic Chinese dish combines three elements— a whole grilled fish, a rich mala (or numbing) broth and your choice of toppings and ingredients— to create a punchy, indulgent and lip-smacking dish that is perfect for sharing in large groups. Not to mention, everything is served on top of a heated metal serving pan, thus creating the perfect combination of steamboat, mala hot pot and grilled fish.
I hope you’re hungry. Keep scrolling to find out our 10 best spots to satisfy your Chongqing grilled fish cravings in Singapore.
The first on our list is the eponymous Chong Qing Grilled Fish. It claims to be the first in Singapore to introduce Sichuan charcoal-grilled fish back when it was first launched in 2010, and the brand currently has four restaurants across our little red dot: Bugis, Chinatown, Serangoon Garden and Upper Thomson.
I’ve been to Chong Qing Grilled Fish more times than I can count, and I often pick Sea Bass (S$38.80 for small, S$42.80 for XL) for my choice of fish. As for the soup or broth of choice, I tend to go for the Spicy Fragrant, as most of my friends and I find the Spicy Numbing too intense.
If you can’t handle spices, don’t worry. Chong Qing Grilled Fish also offers non-spicy broth options such as Mushroom Herbs, Pickled Cabbage and Fermented Black Bean. To complete your grilled fish experience, be sure to add on sides such as Lotus Root (S$4.80), Enoki Mushroom (S$4.80) and Fried Beancurd Skin (S$5.80)!
Originating from Shenzhen, TANYU is one of the most popular grilled fish chain restaurants in China. How popular, you might ask? Well, as of the time of writing, TANYU has a whopping 300 outlets across 72 major cities in mainland China!
In Singapore, TANYU currently has four outlets: 313@somerset, Westgate, Bugis Junction and Tampines 1. Each restaurant is decked out with vintage decor and neon lights, making you feel like you’ve stepped into a different dimension.
With 15 different types of soup bases, you’ll really be spoilt for choice when you’re at TANYU.
Best-sellers include the Grilled Fish with Green Pepper (S$51.90), Hot Spicy with Pepper Flavour (S$51.90) and Chongqing Grilled Fish with Beancurd Flavour (S$54.90), while non-spicy options range from Grilled Fish with Soy Sauce Flavour (S$51.90) to the ever-fragrant Garlic Flavour (S$51.90)!
3. Old Chengdu Sichuan Cuisine Restaurant
Nestled in the centre of Chinatown is Old Chengdu Sichuan Cuisine Restaurant, a homely Chinese restaurant specialising in authentic Sichuan dishes that has been around since 2007. It’s conveniently located right next to Chinatown MRT’s Exit A and opens till 1.30am, making it a super ideal spot for supper!
Apart from offering a plethora of authentic Sichuan dishes such as Old Chengdu Chilli Chicken (S$16.80) and Cold Mixed Beef Tripe (S$18.80), this restaurant offers four types of grilled fish and six different soup choices.
Depending on your preference, you can go for the Grass Carp (Live) (S$59.80) with the well-loved Chilli Grilled Fish gravy, or the Limbo Fish (S$29.80) with Grilled Fish in Parchment Paper. You can also pick from three spicy levels: mild, medium and extreme, and top off your grilled fish with sides such as Oyster Mushrooms (S$3.50) and Black Fungus (S$3.50).
4. Riverside Grilled Fish
Riverside Grilled Fish was founded in 2005 by two friends, who chanced upon the traditional method of pairing grilled fish with mala sauces (aka 烤鱼) while travelling in Wushan Town, Chongqing.
After being won over by the deliciousness of this heart-warming dish, the two friends decided to set up their first shop in Beijing, and the brand has since expanded to over 100 outlets in China. Eventually, Riverside Grilled Fish set up its first overseas outlet in Singapore.
Currently, Riverside Grilled Fish has five locations in Singapore, with the most recent being at NEX!
As with other 烤鱼 (grilled fish) restaurants, take your pick from four types of whole fish: Sea Bass (S$39.90), Patin (S$39.90), Golden Pomfret (S$41.90) and Qing Jiang (S$46.90).
After that comes the fun part— picking your choice of broth. Those looking for a spicy kick can try its famed MaLa Sauce, Double Cut Red & Green Chilli Sauce and Unique Sauce, the latter of which combines numbing, sweet and sour, and spicy flavours to create a truly one-of-a-kind experience. There are also mildly spicy flavours such as Green Pepper Sauce and Black Bean Sauce.
5. Tian Tian You Yu
You might know Tian Tian You Yu from its founders, 97.2FM DJ Marcus Chin and former Mediacorp actress Kate Pang, who opened the Sichuan restaurant in May 2021 at 111 Somerset.
Despite facing plenty of setbacks, one of which includes the tightening of Covid-19 measures and not allowing dine-in at F&B establishments, the humble restaurant has since gained popularity and even opened a second branch along East Coast Road, right next to Beach Road Prawn Mee.
Tian Tian You Yu offers more than 10 types of flavours, all of which are priced at S$46.80 each. If you’re feeling adventurous, we recommend you try the Mala Fish, Cumin Fish and Pickle Fish. Alternatively, go for non-spicy options that won’t leave you sweating— Soy Sauce Fish, Black Bean Sauce Fish, Tomati Fish and even the Sour Soup Fish, just to name a few.
Dining in a large group? Tian Tian You Yu also offers a range of à la carte dishes like the Kung Pao Chicken (S$17), Mala Crayfish (S$68) and Mapo Tofu (S$14).
6. Xiang’s Signature Hunan Cuisine
Walking along Liang Seah Street and bummed to find out that the eponymous Chong Qing Grilled Fish is packed to the brim? Head to Xiang’s Signature Hunan Cuisine, an unassuming Chinese restaurant located just a few units down the road.
This authentic Chinese restaurant specialises in Hunan cuisine. Hunan is a province located in the middle of China, and is adjacent to Chongqing, Guangdong and Hubei. Its cuisine is also known as Xiang cuisine, and is most well known for its mind-blowingly spicy food. In fact, it’s said to be more spicy than Sichuan cuisine because of the amount of fresh chilli peppers used in many of its dishes!
Xiang’s Signature Hunan Cuisine offers two types of grilled fish: Spicy Grilled Fish (S$31.80) and Sour Spicy Grilled Fish (S$31.80). Served in stunningly large metal pans, both dishes feature a huge butterflied fried fish swimming in a robust and spicy broth.
Still hungry? Try Xiang’s Signature’s other authentic Hunan dishes, like the Hunan-style Fried Pork (S$16.80) and Frog in Dry Pot (S$31.80).
1 Liang Seah Street, #01-12/13/14, Singapore 189022
+65 6338 8939
Daily: 11.30am – 11.30pm
7. Chongqing Premium Grilled Fish
Chongqing Premium Grilled Fish is not to be mistaken for the popular Chong Qing Grilled Fish. This humble grilled fish restaurant opened its first restaurant in Paya Lebar’s KINEX in 2020, and was started out by an ex-foodpanda rider and his partner. It has now expanded and opened its second outlet at Jurong West.
Chongqing Premium Grilled Fish offers five types of seafood for its 烤鱼 (grilled fish): Red Snapper (from S$45.80), Sea Bass (from S$35.80), Patin Fish (from S$42.80), Sea Clams (S$35.80) and Sotong (S$40.80). Yes, you read that right! Apart from the usual types of fish, this restaurant also offers Sea Clams and Sotong, making it perfect for folks who might prefer a non-fish alternative.
As for flavour options, go for the all-time favourite Superior Spicy or Double Spice. There are also non-spicy options like the Sauerkraut and Mushroom Herbs, and even the Nanyang Style, which is said to be inspired by nyonya flavours.
8. Ming Tang Spicy Roast Fish
Those who frequent Bugis Cube will be familiar with the large stretch of Chinese steamboat restaurants on the first floor. These vibrantly lit restaurants face Bugis Junction, and amongst one of them is Ming Tang Spicy Roast Fish, a hidden gem for unique grilled fish flavours.
All of its grilled fish items are priced at S$30 for small and S$38 for large, but what you’re really here for are its one-of-a-kind flavours, which range from Lychee Fish to Pineapple Hot and Sour Fish, and even Mango Fish. These unique grilled fish dishes come with chunks of juicy fruit and a variety of soup bases, such as spicy bean paste soup and sweet and sour soup.
There are also classic grilled fish flavours as well, such as its Grilled Fish with Fresh Green Pepper, Spice Spirit and Spicy Pure Love (aka mala).
470 North Bridge Road, Bugis Cube, #01-03, Singapore 188735
+65 6338 3405
Daily: 11am – 2am
9. Ba Shu Sichuan Restaurant
This is for all you Easties. Ba Shu Sichuan Restaurant is located right in the middle of Bedok Central and offers authentic Sichuan dishes.
In fact, its name “Ba Shu” refers to 巴蜀, which means “Old Sichuan”. It refers to the ancient Chinese state of Ba and Shu, which now correspond to modern-day Chongqing and Sichuan!
The star dish is the BS Style Grilled Fish (S$38), a spicy mala grilled fish with customisable spice levels. Alternatively, online reviews have praised its BS Grilled Fish w/ Pickle (S$38) for being piquant, tasty and savoury.
Tired of grilled fish and would like to try a different type of protein? Go for Ba Shu Sichuan Restaurant’s Pickle Frog (S$42) or Spicy Roast Frog (S$42), or if that’s not up your alley, you can always rely on the classic Garlic Crayfish (S$32) and Spicy Baby Lobster (S$32).
219 Bedok Central, Bedok Town Centre, #01-122, Singapore 460219
+65 6384 0115 / +65 9656 3669
Daily: 11am – 3pm & 5pm – 9.30pm
10. KAO GE YU 烤个鱼
KAO GE YU initially started out as a humble hawker stall in January 2022, offering super affordable grilled fish items (from prices as low as S$12.80). It has since opened a full-fledged restaurant at East Village in Simpang Bedok.
Despite opening its first restaurant, KAO GE YU keeps its prices incredibly affordable. Prices per fish start from S$15.80, with flavour options ranging from the classic Signature Sichuan Green Pepper Grilled Fish to Tomato Grilled Fish. Those feeling truly adventurous can go for its Mystery Flavour, where the staff will pick a flavour at random.
For large eaters or big groups, KAO GE YU also offers larger portions starting from S$26 and going all the way up to S$56, depending on your choice of fish and ingredients.
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