A home-cooked bowl of porridge, paired with an assortment of side dishes, is one of the most comforting meals to me. Most zi char and cai fan I’ve had in hawker centres and coffeeshops were served with rice as the staple, so I was happy to learn about Choon Seng Teochew Porridge, which serves a bowl of porridge instead of the usual rice.
Located in a coffeeshop in Farrer Park, Choon Seng Teochew Porridge offers a variety of meat, seafood and vegetable dishes, which are displayed at the front of their stall behind a clear glass case.
Prices are calculated based on the number of portions that are ordered. I spotted dishes like stir-fried vegetables, beancurd, fried eggs, braised duck and even whole crabs! The store owner informed me that the vegetable dishes on the bottom row cost S$1 per serving, while the meat dishes on top came in varying prices.
As I had travelled down to Choon Seng Teochew Porridge to dine alone, I ordered a single serving of a few dishes and sat down to enjoy my meal.
What I tried at Choon Seng Teochew Porridge
I ordered a total of four side dishes to go with my bowl of porridge, which cost S$0.50. With two vegetable dishes and two meat dishes, my total bill came up to S$9.50.
You can’t go wrong with a good ol’ bowl of plain porridge. Soft and warm, this bowl of porridge was on the slightly more watery side.
The first side dish I tried was the Prawn Fried Egg (S$4). For a single piece of egg, I found the S$4 price to be quite steep, but I decided to give it a go anyway. The egg was fried with a pancake-like firmness, and contained bits of prawn meat inside.
The Prawn Fried Egg reminded me of fu rong dan, in the sense that it tasted like a traditional Chinese omelette, except with a deeper golden brown colour and a sturdier texture. When the egg was served, it wasn’t crispy, unfortunately, as it had been left out for a while.
The bits of prawn meat were enjoyable to consume. I suspect that there may have also been crab meat within the egg, which would better justify its S$4 price. However, for the small size, I’d prefer to just get a whole fu rong dan from any other zi char outlet.
Next, I moved on to the Braised Duck (S$3). A single portion came with around six slices of duck meat, cucumbers and cilantro, all of which were topped with sauce.
Like the Prawn Fried Egg, I found the price of the Braised Duck to be a little steep, especially considering the small portion given. However, I still enjoyed the dish. The duck wasn’t super tender, but it was still easy to bite through, and had a firm, meaty texture.
The Mixed Cauliflower (S$1), consisting of cauliflower, celery and carrots, was my favourite side dish, mainly because of the fantastic sauce that it was served in. It was flavourful with sweet, salty and savoury elements that provided a fantastic umami taste.
The vegetables themselves were quite standard, but I did like how generously coated in the sauce they were. Again, for S$1, I thought that the portion served was really tiny and I would have preferred a larger serving.
Finally, I had the Braised Beancurd (S$1), which was categorised together with the vegetable dishes.
The Braised Beancurd tasted like a typical beancurd dish, with firm blocks of neutral-tasting beancurd absorbing the gravy it was served in.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed my meal at Choon Seng Teochew Porridge, I found it to be a relatively pricey meal in comparison to most cai fan places I’ve tried. Though I liked each side dish, they all tasted quite average and simple, hence, I didn’t find the prices to be all that reasonable.
If the portion sizes of the servings were more generous, perhaps I’d return in the future.
Expected damage: S$4.50 – S$15 per pax