Ye Shang Hai Teochew Porridge: Discover This Taxi Drivers’ Secret Porridge Haunt In Tiong Bahru

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When it comes to comfort food, a tub of Häagen Dazs or fried chicken usually comes to mind. Few would think of porridge. Quite unfortunately, synonymous to “sick people’s food”, the soupy counterpart of rice has lost quite a bit of popularity amongst Singaporeans, as well as our unforgiving weather which doesn’t exactly make us crave for warm foods.

Growing up in a relatively traditional Teochew family, having Teochew mui (porridge) for breakfast, lunch or dinner is commonplace. As with all kinds of food, my ah gong had his one favourite go-to spot for Teochew porridge. You probably already have yours in mind too but hear me out on this one â€” there might be the slightest chance Ye Shang Hai Teochew Porridge may become your new favourite.

Shifting from its previous location in Bukit Merah to the neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru, Ye Shang Hai Teochew Porridge is known to be a taxi driver’s haunt. What may surprise you is the extensive spread of over 50 dishes to choose from but even more so, the self-acclaimed 96-year-old Teochew boss behind it all.

We couldn’t quite tell if the suave old man decked in trendy clothes complete with a fedora hat and leather boots was pulling our leg. Well, if he wasn’t, he’s likely to be the oldest working hawker around.

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Pricing at Ye Shang Hai works similarly to your regular mixed rice and vegetable stall, charging standardised prices according to specific combinations of food you order. A portion of one vegetable and one meat is only S$2.20, while two vegetable dishes and one meat sees an increment of ten cents (i.e. S$2.30), and ordering double of both kinds of dishes amounts to an economical price of S$3.30.

If you’re eating with a couple of friends, we suggest not being restricted by the standardised prices and order as you please, as additional dishes will be fairly charged according to the portion you order!

We were quite spoilt for choice but settled on a good number of dishes to go with the plain porridge. The porridge was still warm and although characteristic of mui (porridge), which is typically watery, the rice grains were not too soft and still had a little bite in them.

Ye Shang Hai Teochew Porridge 2

Amazingly and objectively, we found that all the dishes we ordered to go with our porridge were extremely complementary; it was difficult to pick on something we didn’t like. What stood out the most for me was the Teochew Braised Duck.

Having the tendency to be dry and tough, Ye Shang Hai sure didn’t disappoint. Soaked in a flavourful and fragrant braised sauce, the duck meat remained quite tender. I particularly liked how we were given both the meaty and bony parts, with the former great for easy eating and the latter containing the most concentrated flavours.

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The prawns were unmistakably very fresh and plump, having a firm bite to them. Cooked in a sweet, sour and mildly spicy sauce, there was really nothing not to like about it. It reminded me of sweet and sour dishes at zi char stalls but they did have a more balanced flavour which did not overpower the natural sweetness of the prawns.

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Initially, I thought it was a mistake by ordering the Chilled Teochew Mullet (S$5-9, depending on size) which came without any sauce. Expecting an overpowering briny taste, I was surprised at two things.

The first was how they re-steamed the fish before serving, allowing the meat to remain tender. The second was how there wasn’t the slightest hint of fishiness that I initially worried about. The stream fish went really well with their homemade chilli sauce, adding a sour and spicy tang to the meat.

Ye Shang Hai Teochew Porridge 5

We all know the most indulgent and tastiest foods are usually the most sinful. Yet, we just can’t seem to stop ourselves. I felt that way about the Braised Pork Belly at Ye Shang Hai.

Drained from the braised sauce, the fatty meat was oozing with flavour. Unlike the roasted version, satisfaction didn’t come from the crackling bite into the crispy skin. It was having both fat and meat serving the same robust flavour of the braised sauce accompanied by two different textures at the same time.

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Of course, Teochew porridge wouldn’t be complete without sauces and condiments. Ye Shang Hai Teowchew Porridge provides the mandatory taucheo (salted fermented soybeans) sauce, a special mix of chilli and their braised sauce. They function almost like how curry and rice go together; you could mix your plain porridge with any of these sauces and it would actually be enough.

Sadly, their popular Fried Chicken Feet was completely sold out when we arrived. Unlike most places that sell pre-fried ones, Ye Shang Hai’s boss takes pride in frying them himself.

Yes, we’ll probably never reach an agreement as to where the best Teochew porridge stall resides but it’s nevertheless harmless to venture out from your usual favourite. While some of you may remember the stall opening into the early AM back when it was at Bukit Merah, we heard that it has apparently stopped operating during supper hours.

We’re not sure if this is true, but frequent patrons of Ye Shang Hai Teochew Porridge unanimously agree that it seems as if no matter what dishes you pick out, it’s bound to complement your mui perfectly.

Expected Damage: S$2.20 – S$3.90 per pax 

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Price: $

Our Rating: 5 / 5

Ye Shang Hai 夜上海潮州糜 Teochew Porridge

Blk 55 Lengkok Bahru, #01-387, Singapore 151055

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Our Rating 5/5

Ye Shang Hai 夜上海潮州糜 Teochew Porridge

Blk 55 Lengkok Bahru, #01-387, Singapore 151055

Operating Hours: 10am – 11pm (Daily)

Operating Hours: 10am – 11pm (Daily)

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