article #8 .
TEO HENG TEOCHEW PORRIDGE
It was a very hot afternoon (33 degrees Centigrade), when I met my friend Masaki Okada for lunch at the Transit Food Centre opposite Lau Pa Sat. When the weather is so hot, the solution is to eat Teochew Porridge. And one of the best places for this is Teo Heng at this Food Center.
Somehow, most Teochew porridge stalls have food that looks greasy, and not fresh, and it is said that anybody can open a Teochew Porrige stall if he knows how to cook a few dishes. But the eating of Teochew porridge can be a fine art too. It is very fashionable for rich men who have eaten too many banquets to suddenly yearn for good Teochew porridge with pickled vegetables, salted egg and soyabean cake. You can tell by the way the owner of Teo Heng lovingly handle and cut his food that he takes great pride in his food. He will take a fish out of the pot, put it in front of you, and turn it round and round, describing to you what a fine fish it is.
My friend Masaki and I are not rich or fat, and have not eaten too many banquets, so we ordered rather more substantial dishes. The braised belly pork was very fresh with just the right touch of spices like cloves, cinnamon and aniseed. The fish cake was soft yet not soggy, and was delicious dipped in garlic-chilli-vinegar sauce. Then there was also squid, simply boiled, but tasty because of its freshness.
The star of the meal, and one not available elsewhere is the fish cooked in pickled vegetables (kiam chye). This stall usually uses the white-stomach Rabbit Fish that is famous during Chinese New Year when it is laden with eggs like the Japanese Shishamo. However, today the fish used was white Pomfret, which is more expensive, but not as delicious cooked this way. But it was really fresh, and the taste of the fish and pickled vegetable inter-mingled so tastefully that we could each eat 2 bowls of porridge and could eat more if not for the crowd and the heat.
So next time you want a healthy and delicious meal, go to Teoheng. Our meal cost us $20, but without the fish it would have been $8.00 or so.