Over a decade ago when I ate this pork and shark aspic at Lao Liang, there was already this nagging feeling that we may not be having this for very much longer. Ten plus years on, fortunately Lao Liang 老两 stall is still here at Berseh food centre - the same taste, and the same feeling that this may not last much longer.
Understandably Uncle Yu and Auntie Lim suffer from a bit of media and blogger fatigue. "太多了 Too much (media) already" uncle murmured when I asked him about his food and would go no further 😄 In his 60s, Uncle Yu has been making pork and shark aspic since he was 10 years old at the stall founded by his grandfather.
Lao Liang is at stall #02-37 on the upper level of Berseh food centre which is a laid back hideaway, like a sleepy oasis in Singapore's bustling business district. Most of Lao Liang's customers are old regulars who come to savour their old school Teochew classics 猪脚冻 (pork trotter aspic) and 沙鱼冻 (shark aspic).
The shark aspic is made of diced 白牙鯊 shark meat with the white flesh suspended in a translucent jelly of chilled collagen from boiling shark skin. The dish is eaten cold and is served with pieces of ice in the plate to keep the aspic from melting. Lao Liang's shark meat aspic melts in your mouth not in your plate (like that old M&M chocolate tagline).
Sharks (the whole fish) have been part of Teochew cuisine for centuries.
The soft shark meat and springy gelatin don't have much flavour, just a nice tender, bouncy, jelly-like mouth feel and very subtle fish sweetness.
The shark aspic is delicious when dipped in the house made sweet, sour, spicy, toasty nutty sauce.
The pork trotter aspic is made by cooking pork trotters over low heat for 10 hours to melt the collagen into gelatin. Lean meat and skin is cut into small pieces and added to the gelatin which is allowed to cool into a gel. The aspic is then put in a chiller for a day to set, producing the jelly-like aspic. Lao Liang's pork trotter aspic is made with pure pork gelatin with no setting agent like "agar agar" jelly (jelling algae) added.
The pork aspic has the characteristic porky flavour which is quite pronounced when compared to the delicate tasting shark aspic.
The pork aspic is eaten with a spicy sourish sauce made with ginger, chili and vinegar which balances the porkiness of the savoury pork aspic.
Overall, I prefer the shark aspic because I like the novel flavour of bland shark and shark skin jello dipped in the plum, chili, vinegar and sesame sauce. The flavours are more nuanced than the pork counterpart.
3-Star (out of 5). This is one of maybe 2 or 3 hawker stalls in Singapore and Johor to serve shark or pork aspic though it is available at some established (read expensive) Teochew restaurants. (I would love to try all the stalls that serve this Teochew classic.) If I crave for shark aspic, Lao Liang 老两 is my top of the mind choice at the moment.
Restaurant name: Lao Liang Pork Trotter & Shark Meat Jelly 老两猪脚冻沙鱼肉
Address: Stall #02-37, Jalan Besar, Berseh Food Centre, Singapore 200877
GPS: 1°18'26.6"N 103°51'24.0"E | 1.307379, 103.856674
Hours: 11:00 to 2:00pm (Monday off)
Date: 2 Oct 2016
^ click for details
Return to Johor Kaki homepage.