Have your fill of authentic Teochew porridge in a modern setting
Cold Bean Curd with Preserved Radish
Porridge is one of the foods closely tied to my childhood memories and often my source of comfort.
As I learnt from a lunch session at ChaoZhou Porridge, the traditional Teochew porridge is termed “half mountain, half water” (半山半水) for its cooking process, which splits the rice grains, creating an equal proportion of rice and water.
Authentic Teochew Flavours
The Big Sotong was simply executed but added an extra dimension to the porridge when savoured together.
The newly-opened ChaoZhou Porridge restaurant prides itself on authentic Teochew cuisine, with its head chef travelling all the way to Chaoshan, China, to learn from the best chefs and also to acquire local recipes.
Thankfully, this effort is reflected in a good majority of the dishes. The marquee dish had to be the ChaoZhou Porridge ($0.70), the restaurant’s namesake.
Its clean and mild taste paired well with the variety of flavourful side or small dishes.
Though simple, the Cold Bean Curd with Preserved Radish ($4.80) and Big Sotong with Homemade Sauce ($6.90) added an extra dimension to the porridge when savoured together. I particularly enjoyed the homemade sweet and sour sauce’s edge of spiciness — and soon started dipping everything into it.
Other dishes like the Clams ($6.90), de-shelled and served with pickled cucumber, and Braised Delight Platter ($16.90), fell short of my expectations. Comprising braised duck, bean curd, tau pok, pork belly, egg and large intestines, the variety of the platter was a draw. However, the meats didn’t seem evenly marinated with the rich flavour of the braising gravy.
The fleshy mullet was the highlight of the meal.
The highlight was the fleshy and delectable ChaoZhou Steamed Fish (seasonal price). Chosen for its meatiness, the fresh mullet was first steamed in the pot before having its innards removed, allowing it to retain the original taste of the fish oil.
A tip from my Teochew dining companions: Do not flip the fish as it symbolises the bad omen of an overturned sampan (fishing boat) of fishermen of the past. Instead, remove the fish bone from the centre.
The Crisp-Fried Taro Rolls were crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
We rounded off the meal with the Crisp-Fried Taro Rolls ($2.30, minimum three pieces). Departing from the traditional style, where the yam is coated in crystallised sugar, ChaoZhou Porridge’s interpretation was fried in batter and had a fluffy texture.
With a modern setting and hearty portions, ChaoZhou Porridge makes a great dinning option for groups. Supper-goers will also be happy to know that it stays open until 5am daily.
By Samantha Francis
ChaoZhou Porridge, 221 River Valley Rd, Singapore 238279, Tel: 6268 6763.