If there is one meal that I have to choose to eat for the rest of my life, it will be Teochew muay (rice porridge). I grow up eating Teochew muay, I love it and never got sick of it. And till this day, I still think my grandmother makes the best Teochew muay.
Unlike the Cantonese congee where the rice grains break down to almost liquid form, the Teochew version retains the shape of the rice and pending on personal preference, you can have a watery porridge or a pretty dry porridge (in case you wonder, I love the watery version). In addition, the accompanying dishes for Teochew muay must be salty, to complement the bland yet sweet rice porridge. Some of the dishes that my grandmother always cooked (and I loved) to go with the porridge are bittergourd with eggs, preserved radish omelette, stir-fry pig livers with spring onion (yes there was a time I ate pig livers), and braised mustard green with tau pok (dried and fried beancurd).
It is pretty rare for me to eat Teochew muay outside. I only do so if I am sick or have a craving, and all seem to pale in comparison with my grandmother’s version.
Recently I was recommended to try Soon Soon Teochew Porridge that is a stone throw away from my house. My friend Lynda said I must have the steamed sotong (squid). And so I went. At Soon Soon, you will be confronted with a lot of Teochew dishes – braised pork belly, minced pork ball, homemade fish cake, bittergourd and many more. I chose my personal favourite – preserved mustard green, braised tau pok and of course the steamed sotong.
The rice porridge is pretty good – the rice grain has broken down just enough. The preserved mustard green and braised tau pok were not too salty. But for me, the star is the steamed sotong. When I first saw this dish, I thought it look rather plain. I am not sure what magic powder Soon Soon used, the steamed sotong was not plain at all. I am guessing the sotong was lightly seasoned and steamed with precision. The sotong itself was tender (not chewy) and it was sweet and delicious. I was going “I need a bigger piece”.
The unfortunate news is that the steamed sotong is not available all the time. And the staff is unable to tell me when it is available. So if you ever drop by Soon Soon and see the steamed sotong, please order it. It is slightly pricey but it is worth it. Good luck.Soon Soon Teochew Porridge
13 Simon Road (Kovan MRT)
Opening hours: 11.00am – 10.00pm (closed on Tue)