Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Ho Kee Porridge, Maxwell Food Centre
Conveniently open from 7AM - 2AM, this Chinese rice porridge place is located at Maxwell Food Centre. There is another porridge place, Zhen Zhen Pork Porridge, at the same hawker centre that attracts huge queues thanks to its Makansutra three-chopstick rating, but in my opinion, it isn't necessarily that much better. I actually kinda prefer the "cleaner" taste of this place.
Anyway, if you've never had Chinese porridge, it is pretty darned good. It doesn't sound like much, but done properly, it's a savory bowl. This place boils the crap out of the rice to the point where it's nearly a mushy sludge, the grains of rice having fallen apart. This, in my opinion, is the best type of porridge as the savory flavors pervade. I think this is more Cantonese in style (like getting porridge in HK with dim sum), whereas other Chinese porridge, like in Taiwan, are bland, with grains of rice still discernable. This place prepares the former with several selections such as fish or pork, both of which are fresh and tasty; add condiments like scallions, white pepper, and deep fried shallots to taste. At S$3 (US$1.80) for a huge piping bowl, it's rather filling (although the rice will burn off in a couple hours to make you hungry again). It's cool to watch them scooping porridge out of that huge vat in the middle too.
Another thing I like about this place is the yu sheng, or raw fish. The name is the same as the stuff you "lo hei" to during Lunar New Year meals in Singapore, but this version tastes much much better without any of that sweet sauce or fried wonton skins. At porridge places like these instead, they simply take raw fish, drown it in (sesame?) oil, and add some scallions and sesame seeds. Squeeze a bit of lime on it (or rather, the smaller calamansi variety that is common in these parts), and that's it. Simple and clean. With these ingredients, it kinda tastes like ceviche, albeit much less sour and still raw. And I love it of course - I used to come here for a quick afternoon snack and eat only the fish (no porridge).
Anyway, these guys are open late, so come here anytime. It looks like they have a sister store selling steamed Chinese buns across the island, but I come for the porridge.
Digested at 8:45 PM
|This made me feel:|