FOOD REVIEW: A Moutai broth is something we didn't know we needed

Stephanie Zheng
·Lifestyle Editor
·5-min read

Does a dish exist if there are no online reviews? At Yummy! Reviews, we aim to be honest and transparent about the food we cover. As much as possible, we paid for the food. Where meals are offered for free, don’t assume for a moment we will disguise our delight or displeasure. What is guaranteed, however, are honest opinions (though we recognise taste is subjective) and relevant deets, to help you make a decision about a visit.

My interest in Moutai was piqued as I was researching on its history. While its existence was within my peripheral, I never knew it as more than A Very Strong Alcohol from China.

Truth it, Moutai is a complex alcohol, with supposedly over 155 flavours and aromas in a single bottle. This millennial-old spirit originated during the Qing Dynasty and after more than 2000 years, its production is still region-locked in Moutai Town, situated within China’s Guizhou province.

Moutai’s raw ingredients are harvested accordingly to the lunar calendar and distilled with a similar technique as perfume-making. It goes through nine distillations, eight filtrations, seven fermentations and several maturations. It is this intensive and unique distillation process—the most basic of which takes five years—that gives the spirit its lingering fragrance and incredible aftertaste.

Accordingly to the company’s website, “Attempts to produce this mysterious spirit in other areas of China and beyond have failed. Due to high demand, the official producers of Maotai themselves have attempted to increase production by building a factory upstream of the town of Maotai, but found the quality and flavour to be inferior despite it being produced using the same river water and ingredients.”

No doubt that this nugget of information played its part in driving up Moutai’s rarity and allure.

However, the fact that the Chinese government stepped in to protect the surroundings of the distillery in order to preserve the integrity of an alcoholic beverage can be seen as a good indication of the power Moutai wield. You could buy a 500ml bottle online for SGD$69, or if you’d just like an introductory taste to it, head over to Beauty In The Pot at NEX.

For the month of October only (or while Moutai stocks last), the seventh and newest Beauty In The Pot outlet at NEX is offering their classic Drunken Chicken Broth with a fiery shot of Moutai. So with some anticipation—either of being greatly impressed or let down—I head into Beauty In The Pot at NEX.

First Impressions

Shot of Moutai that's going into the broth (Photo: Stephanie Zheng)
Shot of Moutai that's going into the broth (Photo: Stephanie Zheng)

Beauty In The Pot is not a new name in the scene, especially for hotpot enthusiasts. So, I’m going to skip their usual offerings on the menu to talk about the Moutai experience. The Flaming Moutai Herbal Drunken Chicken Broth comes in single pot (S$22++) or twin pots (S$12++), with additional shots of Moutai costing $5.50 each.

The Moutai comes in a neat 500ml bottle, but packs with it a powerful punch at 53% alcohol. The server unscrewed the cap, and you could immediately catch a heady whiff of it. It’s a cross between a pungent smack in the face only an alcohol of its level can produce, intermixed with a very fragrant bottle of soy sauce.

To start, the server poured a generous shot into a ladle. She flambé it, then drizzled it over the soup, creating a momentary fire display. The fire was a short-lived dance, disappearing into thin air too quickly. But then it envelop us with alluring aromas—perhaps there is merit in the 155-claim after all—that hasten our path to the actual tasting.

Taste Test

The incredible broth after the addition of Moutai (Photo: Stephanie Zheng)
The incredible broth after the addition of Moutai (Photo: Stephanie Zheng)

The original drunken broth on its own is easy on the palate and feels like a light herbal soak on the tongue. With the addition of the Moutai however, the broth develops a deep complexity that was truly surprising. It‘s easy to brush it off as a simple soy-sauce-like flavour, but how does soy sauce help a soup develop it umami and other flavours while hitting a double-boiled depth in mere seconds?

It wasn’t long before the pot needed a top-up, so I guess everyone on the table must have felt the same.

Table full of food at Beauty In The Pot (Photo: Stephanie Zheng)
Table full of food at Beauty In The Pot (Photo: Stephanie Zheng)

Some of the notable things we tried on the menu includes the US Wagyu Beef (from $24.90) and Ebiko Prawn Paste ($18.90) but the real crowd-pleaser was the Fried Beancurd Skin (from $5.40).

Fried Beancurd Roll (Photo: Paradise Group)
Fried Beancurd Roll (Photo: Paradise Group)

Verdict

If you’re feeling up for hotpot this October, especially on a cool rainy day, it’s worth heading down to NEX to try the Flaming Moutai Herbal Drunken Chicken Broth. Not only are there incredible broths, fresh ingredients and a chance of winning a $100 Paradise Group voucher—you can also experience the pastel-coloured interior that will remind you of a unicorn wonderland.

As our food producer succinctly put it, “I guess if you drink enough Moutai, you can see unicorns.”

Dare we say it, it’s worth a shot!

Beauty in The Pot @ Serangoon Nex

23 Serangoon Central #02-01, Singapore 556083

11:30am to 3am daily

Last order at 2:15am