Ingredients for Steamboat, Easy Soup Bases and the Best Dipping Sauces

Update Feb 15: Went to Woodlands & Senoko for CNY food factory shopping and found a factory that specialises in a wide variety of steamboat ingredients at incredible prices. Check out my Chinese New Year 2015 Food Factory Wholesale Shopping @ Woodlands & Senoko post to find out more.

I am currently planning on what to buy for our CNY Eve Reunion Steamboat Dinner and I thought it’d be a good idea to expand my list and include all possible ingredients (I have more than 150 items on my list!) that are suitable for steamboat when a few people recently asked me for ‘new’ and ‘creative’ ideas because they had been eating the same thing year after year.

Unfortunately, I must say nothing will be new or creative unless you’re thinking of munching boiled insects or exotic meats and this list of ingredients has probably all the boring ‘common’ stuffs but I’m sure it will come in handy as there might be something on it that you haven’t thought of.

Anyway, if steamboat is not your kind of thing, I have a collection of CNY recipes that might just inspire the cook in you. Check out my post on 12 Easy Chinese New Year Recipes for Good Luck & Prosperity. And how about a Smoked Salmon Yu Sheng Recipe too for a prosperity toss?

Ingredients for Steamboat, Easy Soup Bases and the Best Dipping Sauces

Ingredients for steamboat


Chinese Lettuce

Dang O

Bok Choy

Iceberg Lettuce

Kang Kong

Wong Bok Cabbage

Choy Sum




Snow Peas

Sweet Peas

French Beans


Bean Sprouts

Shimeji Mushrooms

Button Mushrooms

Enoki Mushrooms

Shiitake Mushrooms

Oyster Mushrooms

Straw Mushrooms




Sweet Corn

Baby Corn

Winter Melon

Yam or Taro

Chinese Yam or Huai Shan

Sweet Potato




Bamboo Shoots


Water Chestnut


Lady’s Fingers

Hairy Gourd


Bell Peppers



Cherry Tomatoes

Sliced Lotus Root

Brinjal (Egg Plant)

Seaweed / Kelp

Spring Onions


Szechuan Vegetables

Preserved Mustard Greens


Chicken Fillet

Chicken Liver

Chicken Glizzard

Chicken Heart

Chicken Wing (Drumlet or Mid-Joint)

Sliced Pork

Sliced Pork Belly

Sliced Pork Collar

Pig Stomach

Pig Intestines

Pig Liver

Pig Brain

Pig Kidney

Pig Ear

Sliced Beef

Sliced Wagyu Beef

Beef Tripe

Sliced Mutton/Lamb

Duck Fillet

Sliced Smoked Duck


Luncheon Meat

Taiwan Sausage

Cocktail Sausage




Sliced Batang Fish

Sliced Threadfin

Sliced Grouper

Sliced Pomfret

Sliced Salmon

Sliced Red Snapper

Sliced Tilapia

Sliced Soon Hock

Sliced Dory Fish









Sliced Abalone

Sliced Imitation Abalone (Squid Paste)




Flower or Mud Crabs

Sea Cucumber


Pacific Clam

Sea Asparagus

Bamboo Clam


Fried Fish Skin


Fish Ball

Fish Cake

Fish Paste

Cuttlefish Ball

Pork Ball

Chicken Ball

Beef Ball

Mushroom Ball

Prawn Ball

Foo Chow Ball

Meat Dumplings

Prawn Dumplings


Silken Tofu

Firm Beancurd (Tau Kwa)

Fried Beancurd Puff (Tau Pok)

Ngoh Hiang

Egg Tofu

Cheese Tofu


Beancurd Skin


Vegetarian mock meat

Noodles & Rice

Udon Noodles

Soba Noodles

Egg Noodles (Mee Kia or Mee Pok)

Yellow Noodles

E-fu Noodles

La Mian

Instant Noodles

Thin or Thick Rice Vermicelli (Beehoon)

Kway Teow

Bee Tak Mak

Bean Vermicelli

Sweet Potato Vermicelli

Mee Sua

Korean Rice Cakes

Chinese Rice Cakes

Mee Hoon Kueh


Chicken Egg

Quail Egg

Preserved Century Egg

Dried Goods

Fish Maw

Pig Tendon

Black Fungus

Red Dates

Wolfberries (Goji)

Ingredients for Steamboat, Easy Soup Bases and the Best Dipping Sauces

I know many people prefer cod as it doesn’t contain any fishy smell and its meat is much sweeter too but do note cod fish disintegrates easily when boiled so it is not quite an ideal fish to have for steamboat. But if you still want to have it, make sure you slice the cod in thicker pieces and cook it within the steamboat ladle otherwise you’d have a hard time digging for it.

For soup bases, it is easiest to grab store-bought soup stocks in tetra packs and cans or use seasoning powder and bouillon cubes but I never like them because of their high sodium or MSG content. It is not difficult to make fuss free soup bases at home. Here’s a few which I had experimented before:

a) Miso – simply scoop 1-2 tablespoonful of white miso paste into hot boiling water and stir till the paste dissolves. Add some dried seaweed for more aroma.

b) Chicken stock – this can be made one day in advance. Refer to my recipe here on how to make chicken soup. Go easy on the salt (or just totally omit it) as the ingredients will eventually flavour the soup.

c) Pork or Beef stock – just get the bones you want from the butcher and add carrots, onions, celery and 1-2 pieces of bay leaves.

d) Fish stock – best is to use salmon head and bones which you can get from the fishmonger or sometimes NTUC Fairprice. Add celery, onions, carrots and ground fried ikan bilis for extra flavour. When the stock is ready, add some evaporated milk for a fragrant, milky broth just like the soup in fried fish bee hoon.

e) Vegetable stock – carrots, onions, celery, sweet corn, radish, potato.

It’s really not necessary to make the broth flavoursome because you want to enjoy the original taste and freshness of the ingredients that you’re cooking in it and because so many items are going to go into the broth, you’d end up having an inedible (overly salty) soup if it already starts off salty.

Lastly, I would like to recommend my two favourite dipping sauces which you can get from the supermarket:

Ingredients for Steamboat, Easy Soup Bases and the Best Dipping Sauces

The Dancing Chef brand is my most preferred between the two. Before serving, just add minced garlic, toasted sesame seeds and chopped coriander for the extra kick. I like this sauce with mushrooms and yong tau foo items.

The Triple A brand is much more spicy than Dancing Chef and I like it with meat and seafood for the extra fiery punch.

Both contain no MSG, preservatives or artificial colourings and are priced between $2.50-$3.00. Very affordable!

If you think there’s any ingredient that I may have left out in my list, feel free to let me know. Bon appetit, folks!


  • Crush Guru says:

    Nice comprehensive list for steamboat – I don’t think I have any more ingredients to add to that, except maybe salted or washed szechuan vegetables?
    I have the AAA dipping sauce right now but I am going to try the Dancing Chef version once this AAA bottle has finished! AAA is a bit overly sourish for my liking.
    You can try Japanese ponzu soy sauce (citrus flavoured soy sauce) with freshly ground chilli as a dip for the sliced meat too. It’s quite addictive…yummy…!

    • Geri Tan says:

      Thanks! Oh yes, how can I forget about salted and Szechuan vegetables. Sure to make the soup even more flavourful! Will try the Japanese ponzu soy sauce with chillies too next time, sounds really good 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  • Steven Lee says:

    Would love to have sea cucumber & fish maw in my steamboat. Thanks for the list of ingredients, very helpful.

  • Denis Holden, "The Moorings" Binnington Esplanade, East Mackay Queensland Australia. says:

    When only the delightful soup is left, turn the heat down and add slivers of smoked trout. Don’t leave them in for more than a minute.

  • Lucas says:

    How can I find all kind of steamboat soup recipes

    • Geri Tan says:

      Hello Lucas, I’m sure you can just google for them. Or if you prefer to have ready-made soup bases, just head to the supermarket and check out the choices available.

  • Ggk says:

    Hi Geri,

    May I know where did you get the fried beancurd sheets from?

    Thank you

  • teddyntea says:

    May I request for this post to be updated if you have other recommendations/recipes for soup bases and dips?

    I’m quite reluctant to use chicken stock as the steamboat soup base but I find it hard to find such soup base recipes/suggestions as most would think it’s very simple. This post is a treasure trove for newbie cooks like me.

    Last year, my mother in law added a handful of bones and ikan bilis and the stock tasted great. I was so amazed by it (can probably tell the noob-ness of my cooking).

    Thank you!!

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