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Monday, November 11, 2013

Soon Kee Teochew Porridge

Not a chi-chi place at all...

Steamed fish head... my favourite

Clams... this dish shows how much care is taken in food preparation. It had NO sand at all.

Braised pork belly... very very popular with the diners. Little Boy loved it.

Little Boy hates his greens but he said this was good.

The Daughter loved this.

This place sells readymade food. You point at the already cooked trays of food. They ladle. You pay. If you're eating alone, please carry your own plate to the table. The ceiling leaks water in one small corner of the coffeeshop. A flight of 6 mynahs hang around waiting for customers to leave before swarming the leftovers. The lady who cleans the tables is so slovenly herself that she tends to miss out spots of gravy as large as my thumb.

The dilapidated surroundings stand in sharp contrast to the 4 Mercedes Benz parked in the adjoining carpark. Their towkay owners are busy tucking in, shooing away mynahs with one hand. When I drove my own beat-up car out of my parking lot, a Jaguar was waiting to take my place.

That's how good the food is.

The test of a world class transport system is in how many rich people will leave their cars at home to travel on public transport. The test of a world class educational system is in how many rich people ditch tuition and entrust their kids to MOE schools. The test of a world class Teochew Porridge stall is in how many rich people will queue up, carry their own plates, eat on dirty tables and compete with mynahs... for a meal that usually costs $4/=.

One whole Red Snapper fish head steamed to perfection comes at $10. Waaaah... in Singapore still can find prices like these leh.... Petunia is very proud of herself for having found this place!!

In earlier trips, I thought it a pity to be eating steamed fish head cold. The Point-Ladle-Pay system doesn't allow you to demand steaming hot food. Every dish is ready. You eat what is there. These folks don't smile. If you're slow in ordering, they'll yell at you. If you speak too softly, they'll also yell at you.

Oh heck... yell at me all you like, but please let me eat your cooking!

I do like my fish steaming hot, though. Since I didn't dare to complain to these unsmiling people about their cold steamed fish, I decided that I would have to adapt to THEIR schedule. If you arrive at exactly 11.10am, the trays of fish heads come out from the inner kitchen, steam rising gently from the trays. The fish swim gently in sweet soup topped generously with tomato, celery, salted mustard greens, onions and leeks. I think I would pay just to drink the soup the fish head is swimming in.

I did manage to get a smile out of them this morning though. I was so excited about my hot steamed fish that my joy must have rubbed off on them. When I had to leave my table for a bit, helpful strangers flapped the mynahs away from my food. I got myself a friendly scolding and some gentle ribbing about my carelessness... and a BIG smile plus a 10c discount from the genius woman (this little old lady), in charge of steaming the fish.

Simple people... small prices... world class food. **RESPECT**

Soon Kee Teochew Porridge
33 Sembawang Road,
Hong Heng Garden,
Singapore 779084.

Lunch ONLY. Not open for dinner.
Go early 'cos when the food runs out... well, it has run out.
Closed on Sundays.


Blur Ting said...

Sembawang is a little far. I go to one at kovan. Also simple place but nice Teochew food. My son and i go there often. Oh i didn't know you like steamed fish. My father's teochew, so i grew up eating steamed fish and fish heads!

Petunia Lee said...

Ting - I was so inspired that I steamed my own fish tonight!!

Blur Ting said...

Not so difficult, right? What you need is really fresh fish.

Petunia Lee said...

Ting - Yup! It wasn't that difficult!

Malar said...

Good place to have meal!

Petunia Lee said...

Malar - Yup!