Between errands today, I found myself at the half century old three storey public flats at Taman Ungku Tun Aminah (known locally simply as 王后) in Johor Bahru.
Suddenly finding myself with a bit of time on my hands, I indulged in the most inefficient and yet sometimes the most rewarding method of good food hunting - park the car and walk, look, smell, ask around and listen.
Only drawbacks are it can be quite exhausting in today's scorching weather and can also sometimes return a blank .....
Fortunately, today is another Lucky Day ;-D
I stumbled upon Taping fish porridge stall 太平鱼粥 (in Xin Xing kopitiam 亚成茶餐室).
Made my usual round around the kopitiam to see what the locals were eating. A few were families and many were enjoying the dishes from this small fish soup and porridge stall.
Took a peek around the stall and at the ingredients. The stall holders were extremely busy and the chilled ingredients looked very fresh.
So, we decided to try out this little Taping fish porridge stall 太平鱼粥.
We first ordered this RM7 Fish Head Bee Hoon to taste. (Got a tail fin as well :P)
Tested the broth first.
The clear broth had a nice round body with a good balance of mild savouriness and natural sweetness.
I liked it.
I love fish head because I love the gelatinous parts around the head bones, lips and jaws, and also the extra tender meat around the pectoral fins.
(I also love fish eye balls but it was not in my bowl today.)
Don't ask me why fish eye balls.
Anyway, I know lots of people have the same fetish :P
We love the fish head bee hoon so much that we decided to order another dish to try.
This time we went for Taping's signature Fish Porridge.
The bowl of premium Red Snapper fish 紅鯛魚 porridge costs RM18. There is also a RM7 version.
A beautiful thick piece of ocean fresh red snapper fish with the right balance of tenderness and firmness.
The good quality long grain rice was cooked till soft with still a bit of bite remaining. It reminded me of risotto.
The same lovely clear, savoury and naturally sweet broth.
At first, I didn't pay much attention to this dip as I like to eat my fresh fish with as little distractions as possible.
But, it turn out to be quite delicious.
The sauce is a blend of light soy, sesame oil holding fermented soybeans and bits of chilli padi. The simple dip had an interesting mix of sweet, savoury and spicy flavours, and soft textures that go especially well with the soft, wet rice.
家宝 is the man 小當家 running this busy stall.
15 year old 家宝 is confident, hardworking, very polite and cheerful.
家宝 has got a lot of family support in running his stall. 家宝 and family are originally from Taiping (Perak state), hence the name Taiping Fish Porridge 太平鱼粥.
It's humbling watching 家宝 in action, 15 years old and running his own stall (albeit with good family support). Me? I am still dreaming about running my own pub, chicken rice shop, and Halal ramen shop. What have I done other than loud empty talk during those uninhibited moments after one beer too many....?
I have a lot to learn from this young towkay. Bystanders can murmur and speculate about why 家宝 isn't in school but meanwhile he takes life by the horns and get on with it (with a cherubic smile).
家宝's godfather Mr 王 mentors the young stall holder on making fish porridge and the mechanics of running a business.
Mr 王 himself works in the canteen of Singapore's Nanyang Girls' High School.
Mr 王's uncle owns the coffee shop where 家宝 runs his fish porridge stall and he keeps an watchful eye over the young stall holder.
Mr 王's young son is 家宝's partner, helping out in serving customers.
Mr 王 showing me the belly pork and stock bones that go into making the barrel of savoury, sweet broth.
Customers at Taiping Fish Porridge Stall can pick various types of fresh fish, shellfish and prawns for their porridge.
These are large wild caught fresh prawns trucked daily from Kuala Selangor to JB.
Ending up as another customer's indulgence.
I wish 家宝 the best and if you are a fish soup or fish porridge lover, do check out Taiping Fish Porridge Stall 太平鱼粥. At the moment, this is my favourite place for fish soup in JB.
Restaurant name: Taiping Fish Porridge Stall 太平鱼粥
Address: Jalan Seri Orchid 17, Taman Seri Orkid, Skudai, Johor, Malaysia
GPS: 1.510188, 103.642030
Hours: 6:30am to 12:00pm
Date visited: 13 Jun 2014
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