Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Porridge: for cooling nourishment of for the sick?

with office colleagues

Every once in a while, the hot and humid Singapore weather gets us down. A little cooling food, and refreshment is called for. Rice porridge in Chinese cuisine can be roughly divided into two distinct types: the Cantonese and the Hokkien/Teochew. The Cantonese cook their porridge into a starchy consistency...until the rice grains have broken down and either already or at the verge of disintegration. Many of the fine restaurants serve this chok (or congee) in a thick, paste-like consistency. Then there is the Hokkien Moey or Ber in which the rice is cooked until it almost disintegrates, but not quite. You can always make out the rice grains both visually and on the palate. I can find one more distinction on the Moey between Hokkiens and Teochews...the Teochew Moey has the rice grains more intact...and sometimes, it feels like soft rice with starchy rice water. The rice water is known as alm and is thought to have cooling properties.

Tucked away in one corner of Tiong Bahru, just a stone's throw from Por Kee and the Tiong Bahru Market, is Ah Chiang. A chok place.



This is typical smooth, starchy, Cantonese congee. The menu is complete with all types of congee, ranging from fish to pork to pig innards, to century eggs.

We also added sliced, raw fish. Like sashimi, the Chinese raw fish is eaten with a sprinkling of lime, and some sesame oil. Garnishing by spring onions, fresh sliced ginger and chilli.



We also had the opportunity to sample some less unhealthy Nyonya (Peranakan) kuih.





The chatty lady at the kuih store expounded on the freshness and less oil, less sugar nyonya kuih she sells. The kuih tasted very good, and indeed was less sweet. Only the Gula Melaka used in the ondeh ondeh was sweet, but it was not exactly the burst in your mouth type. The tapioca kuih is very good.

Interesting place for a lighter lunch. And one we will frequent.



Ah Chiang's Porridge
Blk 65 Tiong Poh Road
#01-38
Tel: 6557 0084
(Alternate Mondays Off)
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