Saturday, October 10, 2009
Teochew Mue: Porridge or Rice Soup?
This dish has a bit of a history with me. The first time I ordered it a couple of years back, I was told that it was "fish porridge." I naturally assumed that it was going to be a nice and sludgy Cantonese congee. I was thus sorely disappointed when I found notably discernable grains of rice sitting in a clear broth, thinking that the chef was so lazy that he merely threw soup and rice together at the last minute rather than properly letting the rice steep.
Only until later did I realize that this was intentional, as this was the Teochew version of the stuff. Known as mue, this was really more of a rice soup rather than congee. And I've grown to like it so much that tonight I got a bowl from Hock Heng Fish Soup (Stall 8 at Zion Riverside Food Centre). I liked the garnishes that he added - and I pretty much would have just dumped my rice into the soup anyway (kinda like how some Korean soups are eaten) had I gotten the normal fish soup instead.
But one thing still confuses me a bit. There is a local dish often referred to as Teochew Porridge, which is a bunch of various cooked dishes paired with a bland and mushy rice gruel. It is completely unlike this mue stuff, which I understand to be known as "fish porridge" instead, even though it's technically also Teochew. To me, it is clearly rice soup rather than porridge, but at least I now appreciate it a lot more than I used to.
Digested at 8:18 PM
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