Monday, March 1, 2010

Ah Seah Teochew Porridge - Singapore

Getting Ethnic with Uncle
Singapore is a melting pot - it has four official languages: Mandarin, English, Malay and Tamil. The population is 75% Chinese and a large portion of that 75% are Hokkien or Teochew, two groups who trace their ancestry to southern Fujian province (just opposite Taiwan.) The former is the official coffeeshop language - one of my first Singapore food lessons was learning to order coffee in Hokkien. The other thing I learned is that Puffin is a pure Teochew and her uncle is a proud Teochew eater. He took me for some Teochew comfort food: porridge.

Porridge is simply rice cooked with extra water, creating a soupy effect. Uncle explained that many Teochew were poor upon arriving in Singapore and the extra water made the rice last longer. What makes the meal so delicious are the things you add to it. Each person gets a bowl of porridge and is free to snag from the side plates. Uncle went all out, as you can see.

My favorite was the blanched fatty pork chunks. Need I explain why? It's fatty pork! Hello? It's funny to me that in the States, pork is the evil meat. Here it's top of the food chain and beef is scarcer due to the Buddhist influence.

Proving that you can never have enough of a good thing, we also got a side order of ground pork. This mixed well with the porridge.

Over time, I've warmed up to Ikan Bilis, which are deep-friend anchovies. They're used heavily in this part of the world and they add a lot of crunch and flavor. Along with the ground pork, I mixed these into the porridge for a nice effect.

I chumped out when it came to the pig intestine, they never should have told me what it was. Everyone seemed to love this. With 20/20 hindsight, I should have too. I will next time.

I enjoyed the meal so much that we went to Ah Seah again before I went back to Paris. It's within walking distance of Puffin's house and was packed both nights we went. Uncle, thanks for sharing.

9 Yio Chu Kang Road

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  1. For some reason, neither my girlfriend or her cousin will leave a comment on this story. I don't know why - they were both there, they both ate like pigs.... The story looks so lonely with no comments....

  2. Wahaha.. what nonsense!

    Ok, Ah Seah porridge was enjoyable but I don't think this would be my meal of choice as this is too healthy - I like fried and oily and fatty!

    Of course if my dear is in town and would wanna eat this, I am more than happy to get Uncle to go with you =P