World Dream: Hot Pot Meat Set Review

World Dream Hot Pot Additional Restaurant

Hot Pot is an outdoor additional restaurant on board the World Dream serving up, well, hot pot. I decided to try out the Meat Set on this cruise to nowhere with the 20% boarding offer to experience what’s it like to have hot pot in the middle of the sea.

Should you try it for yourself? Read on to find out.

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Hot Pot (Deck 8 Aft)

Hot Pot restaurant is located on Deck 8 Aft. While the restaurant stretches across both sides of the ship, only the section on the port side is currently in operation.

Hot Pot 20% Boarding Day Discount

For the 20% boarding day discount, the meal does not need to be had on the first day. Instead, you have to make your reservation on the first day physically at the restaurant for whatever meal time you prefer. As such, it is possible to make your reservation on boarding day for another day, and still enjoy the 20% boarding discount.

3 hot pot sets were offered at Hot Pot for the 20% boarding day discount:

  • Meat Set – S$35.87 nett after discount (Usual Price S$38+)
  • Seafood Set – S$45.31 nett after discount (Usual Price S$48+)
  • Vegetables Mock Set (sic) – S$35.87 nett after discount (Usual Price S$38+)

+: plus 18% service charge

Each set is good for 1 to 2 persons.

Here’s the current menu of Hot Pot for reference as of my meal on 13 May 2021.

Tables are arranged in the sheltered area along the boardwalk. This is also where the zipline passes above so you may hear people screaming if you have an early lunch reservation.

Tables alternate between being for a group of 6 and a group of 4.


Hot Pot on board Genting Dream. Image from Dream Cruises.


Hot Pot on board World Dream. Image from Dream Cruises.

Comparing between the Hot Pots on Genting Dream and World Dream, individual hot pot stoves are used here on World Dream, as compared with the usual communal hot pot pot on board the Genting Dream.

For 2 persons, I was seated at a table for 4, with the other 2 stoves covered.

A simple Chinese hot pot table setting was provided.

After confirming my pre-booked Meat Set, the waiter proceeded to bring the condiments trolley over. A total of 7 hot pot sauces and 5 garnishes are available to create your own dipping sauce, which can be further dressed with black vinegar, light soya sauce, dark soya sauce, and chilli oil.

In corona times, all the scooping is done by the waiter, and masks must be on while creating your dipping sauce.

Here’s my creation of about two-thirds the items available in the condiments trolley, with a dash of black vinegar.

The hot pots at Hot Pot came along right after I got my dipping sauce. The pots are very pot-like and puts the pot in Hot Pot. However, as compared with the promotional picture which looked like Le Creuset, this one looks like those you find at HDB shops.

Hot Pot Soup Bases

4 types of hot pot soup bases are available:

  • Mala Soup
  • Tom Yum Soup
  • Chicken Soup
  • Vegetables Soup

For2 persons, I was allowed to choose 2 soup bases for my 1 Meat Set.

Hot Pot Meat Set

Here’s the complete Meat Set served after the hot pots.

The meat portion of the Meat Set comes with Sliced Pork Belly, Sliced Beef Striploin, Pork Dumpling,  Sliced Boneless Chicken Legs, Chicken Sausage, Pork Meat Ball, Beef Ball, Pork Sausage, Bean Curd Sheet Roll, White Tofu, and Fried Bean Curd.

Just like confusion when Fish Stomach in Dream Dining Room Upper can mean both Fish Maw and Fish Belly, depending on the day or dish, the Sliced Boneless Chicken Legs were thankfully not Phoenix Claws or Chicken Feet. Instead, they were chicken strips cut not too widely for easier cooking in the hot pot.

The side vegetables dish comes with Lotus Root, Black Fungus, Broccoli, Lettuce, Straw Mushrooms, Enoki Mushrooms, a Shiitake Mushroom, and a small bundle of Konjac Noodles.

I could tell that it was indeed Mala Soup when the pepper hit me once I opened up the lid when the soup was brought to a boil, along with the chilli oil splatter around. When tasting it though, the 麻 wasn’t very 麻 but the 辣 was pretty 辣, which reminded me of Nabe One‘s Mala Soup in Hong Kong.

Strange, but kind of fitting in a warped way since Hong Kong was World Dream’s previous home port, the automated announcements on board World Dream were still in Cantonese, and a subtle reminder that my July ticket to eat Nabe One again under the Singapore – Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble (ATB) was in limbo (and now potentially not possible depending on what happens on 13 June 2021).

Hot Pot is no 海底捞, but it certainly and technically was 海上捞.

As for the Chicken Soup, it looked herbal-ly but in reality tasted like Knorr Chicken Stock Cubes.

Comparing this Meat Set against a previous experience by The MileLion, the prices at Hot Pot have increased. What I got for S$38+ before discount for the Meat Set was exactly the same as what The MileLion got, previously known as the Premium Combination Set consisting of meat and vegetables going for S$25+.

Aside from the increase in price, the Meat Set now no longer offers free flow of steamed rice. Instead, a bowl of steamed rice now costs S$1+, which really doesn’t make sense especially when up above at The Lido offering inclusive meals would happily give you lots of steamed rice for free in your buffet meal.

And if you thought the steamed rice was expensive, instant noodles cost S$5+ per serving. A whole Boston Lobster for your Hot Pot would set you back S$30+, so 6 packs of instant noodles is equivalent to the price of a Boston Lobster, which further makes the pricing strategy strange, unless the instant noodles come with a dancing 海上捞 guy to toss it into my hot pot. That would make Hot Pot the second entertainment restaurant, and not like another Chinese restaurant which I have to wait for the last cruising day at 10.45pm for.

On land, the good people at ValuDollar would sell you a whole carton of instant noodles for S$1 nett without service charge. Heck, even the soup options at Hot Pot sounds exactly like ValuDollar’s S$1 instant noodles selection sans Mala.

Comparing World Dream to World Dream, the Umi Uma Shabu Shabu Hot Pot Butcher’s Finest Cuts set costs only S$22+ for what looks to me like similar items of beef, pork belly, chicken, tofu, udon noodles, and a vegetable basket, which looks far more reasonable, though granted, it may be for just 1 person and not for sharing, but I may also be wrong since I have not actually tried it.

If the pricing is indeed as such, the higher cost at Hot Pot is really just to enjoy the sea breeze while you have your Hot Pot on high seas, and in the bigger frame of things, eating hot pot in a giant pot floating on the sea. (But the ship was drifting at around 0.3 knots on South China Sea and there was no breeze.)

Conclusion

If you want to have the experience of having hot pot out at sea, or got a bit of refund for your cruise from Resorts World At Sea with thanks to Uncle Lim, yeah you can give Hot Pot a shot. Otherwise, I’d probably not visit it again since I can get the same stuff on land for cheaper, or a better quality for the same price. With two exceptions.

1. Change Hot Pot Set to All You Can Eat Timed Buffet

Back to Hong Kong, Nabe One serves up timed buffets with a buffet bar full of filler items, along with a fixed plate (lunch set) or all you can eat flow of your selected meat(s). If Hot Pot becomes an all you can eat timed buffet with the existing price, it would still be expensive as compared to restaurants on land but the overall perception a passenger would get would be slightly more reasonable since it’s on the passenger to order more filler items as and when needed. I would be happy to fill up with more vegetables in hot pot rather than instant noodles or rice which I can happily ignore.

2. Change Hot Pot to Inclusive Restaurant


Hot Pot on board Genting Dream. Image from Dream Cruises.


Hot Pot on board World Dream. Image from Dream Cruises.

I noticed that the sign for Hot Pot on board Genting Dream writes as Genting Dining Room, as compared to Hot Pot on board World Dream. Genting Dining Room is an inclusive restaurant on board Genting Dream, although Dream Cruises’ website states Hot Pot on board Genting Dream as additional. The equivalent of Genting Dining Room in both location and menu on board World Dream is the Dream Dining Room Upper.

I’ve not been on board Genting Dream so I can’t verify it, but if you have in the past years, please let me know whether Hot Pot was an inclusive restaurant at any point of time.

Dream Dining Room Lower Inclusive Dinner – Mixed Grill of Filet Mignon, Grilled Chicken Thigh, Grilled Sausage, Grilled Tomato and Green Beans

I’m pretty sure the total cost of ingredients in my Meat Set at Hot Pot was lower than my inclusive (free) dinner of Mixed Grill at Dream Dining Room Lower which had a Filet Mignon as part of the dish. (Doneness was another issue, but I’m just talking about cost of ingredients here.)

Both Dream Dining Room Upper and Dream Dining Room Lower were in high to maximum demand on all of my cruises, resulting in long waiting times with queue numbers even when showing up right at the restaurants’ opening time, and quite a number of other late passengers were turned away, with The Lido as their only meal option.

If Hot Pot was converted to an inclusive restaurant, using the existing promotional sets as a meal entitlement, perhaps it would be worthwhile to collect a queue number for it. Dining time would have to be fixed just like Nabe One in order to maximise the table turnover rate, but I’m pretty sure a bulk of the Dream Cruises crowd would be very pleased to have inclusive hot pot for their meal or even meals.

By converting Hot Pot to an inclusive restaurant, it would also directly relieve some of the demand from Dream Dining Room Upper since passengers who want a Chinese set menu now have another Chinese option which they can cook their own food at, saving some manpower in the galley too.

I do enjoy a good hot pot. Hot Pot’s hot pot was reasonably fine, but the price point at S$38+ (S$35.87 nett after the 20% boarding day discount) wasn’t. For now, it’s still back to Dream Dining Room Lower for me.

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