Ask anyone from the Hou-gang (please tell me you get it) for the best porridge place and they’ll probably exclaim Sin Heng Kee Porridge in a heartbeat. The corner stall along Hougang Street 61 is renowned for its thick and hearty porridge bowls, and warmed tummies and souls since childhood days.
I thought I’d find out for myself what the hype was all about and rocked up to the bustlin’ store at 7am, just as they opened. Of course, there was no issue getting a seat but I was pleasantly surprised at the snaking queue to place dine-in and takeaway orders. Mind you, this was minutes after they just opened for the day!
What I tried
My ultimate favourite combination that I order everywhere I go is Century Egg and Meatball Porridge (S$4.50). Given it was my first meal of the day, I thought I’d add an Egg (additional S$0.50) and You Tiao (+S$1) for that extra protein and energy.
Plus, I love how the colours come together so beautifully. Had to snap one for the ‘gram before I dug in.
As talk of the town, I’ll admit that I had high expectations for Sin Heng Kee. As I dived into my first spoonful with a little bit of everything, it surprised me that the flavours didn’t quite take me on a gastronomical ride.
The sharpness of the century egg and ginger didn’t quite cut through as I’d hoped for it to. Sin Heng Kee’s handmade meatballs were small and pretty much hidden in the huge bowl but just like its appearance, it was so-so.
Of course, fried dough sticks are an absolute must. A great complement that gave the dish another dimension with its crisp texture. However, the thick gruel lacked a savouriness that perhaps could be alleviated with more soy sauce.
Now, on to the Sliced Abalone Porridge (S$5.50). For its given price point, this was easily a portion good for two. Super thick, fragrant and generous with ingredients, the bowl just screamed deliciousness upon first look.
I’m typically not one to opt for abalone in porridge. Yet, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity especially when it’s so affordably priced.
The base of this bowl was unlike the previous one and was tasty, homey, and altogether rich in goodness. The flavours were reminiscent of Korean abalone porridge and a sure-win option on a chilly day. Definitely my choice of sustenance from Sin Heng Kee the next time I return.
Lastly, I gave the seafood series a go with the Cuttlefish with Peanut Porridge (S$4.50). If there’s one thing to count on at Sin Heng Kee Porridge, it’s their wide variety of porridge. I’m talking over 20 combinations!
While the large slices of ginger was a promising sign to me, the cuttlefish slices paired together with the peanuts as stars of the show, fell short of delivering a powerful combination. Rather, it was a tad too fishy for my liking. Altogether, not the biggest fan of the series but this might just appeal to lovers of seafood porridge.
Overall, decent bowls that looked better than they tasted. Perhaps I should’ve given the Signature Porridge (S$6) a try, given that it’s loaded with century egg, sliced pork, meatballs, liver, intestines, cuttlefish, sliced fish, and minced chicken. Or even the Claypot Frog Porridge (S$8). Personally, Chai Chee Pork Porridge sets the bar when it comes to hearty, savoury porridge and handmade meatballs.
If you’ve yet to visit Sin Heng Kee before, I’d highly recommend visiting once to play judge to Hougang’s pride and joy.
Expected damage: S$4 – S$7
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