Drinking coffee, eating claypot rice, curry mee etc in Chinatown Complex Green Zone, I noticed a new stall serving porridge. Weng Kiang Kee Porridge though new here, seemed to already have a good following whom are familiar with the friendly owner and lady boss.
Truth be told, I do not naturally gravitate to porridge stalls or shops. Porridge is comfort food to me and I am drawn to it only when I need comfort, like when I feel a little under the weather. Otherwise, when I go to a hawker centre or restaurant, I look for something that can tingle or titillate my taste buds a little.
But, I did casually remarked audibly that the new kid on the block looked interesting. I would give it a try on another day as I am already over stuffed today, anyway.
Buddy took it as a cue to get Weng Kiang's Signature Porridge, their largest serving at S$4 😂
"Don't worry, can't finish I tabao for my son" he said as he came back with the big bowl of hot porridge.
Dug a little below the surface, the porridge was choked with ingredients - pork slices, minced pork balls, liver, intestine, fish, cuttlefish, century egg etc.
Woh ho... this porridge is nice 😋
The porridge had just the right thickness and mouth feel. It was smooth but we can still make out traces of the fragrant Thai rice grains - it was not a wet paste (i.e. unlike Hong Kong congee). It had a mild natural rice sweetness complemented by layers of savoury sweetness infused from the multitude of fresh ingredients.
Very tasty lah.
There's fresh toman fish (snakehead) slices which were tender and sweet.
Fresh soft spongy crunchy pork liver with nice natural taste.
Small intestines well cleaned, soft tender and sweet.
Everything in the bowl was nice and the most memorable thing was the "birth intestines" 生肠 (fallopian tube). It's hard to describe the texture accurately - let me try. They were soft like jelly and had a tender feather light crunch that went pop gently, to the bite. The "birth intestine" was clean tasting and slightly sweet.
We caught up with stall owner Charlie Chang Weng Kiang who was sold out for the day at 1pm - he was cleaning and preparing for the next business day. He was soaking the "birth intestines" in a flour solution and later clean it with baking soda.
Charlie started his culinary career as a waiter in a Hainanese Western diner in Orchard Towers in the 1970s. He then graduated to work in the kitchen. In the 1980s, he followed his mentor to work in Chinese and Indonesian restaurants in Paris.
After his stint in France, Charlie returned to Singapore to work in the newly opened Crown Prince Hotel in Orchard Road. His resume includes the kitchens of Mandarin Oriental, Ritz Carlton, Raffles and Fullerton in Singapore as well as Setai in Miami, USA. Charlie's last position before retirement was Executive Chef in Grand Millennium Hotel in Beijing.
Charlie is a big fan of Joe Pork Porridge stall in Chinatown Complex. So, he felt a bit sad when Joe closed his stall. As Charlie doesn't want to see the Singapore style of porridge disappear, he decided to bid for the stall and opened Weng Kiang Kee Porridge about 6 months ago.
Charlie has kept his prices affordable despite premium ingredients like air flown Aussie pork etc because keeping the Chinatown community together is one of his goals for Weng Kiang Kee Porridge. Affordable traditional porridge is one of the social glue that bonds the elderly folks in Chinatown. For decades, they come to Chinatown Complex daily for that comforting hot porridge fix. For me, hopefully Charlie also gains a younger following that brings younger folks into the community to keep the porridge culture thriving for generations to come.
Thanks Chef Charlie.
Recommended for you 👍 Restaurant quality traditional porridge personally prepared by a 5 Star hotel executive chef at hawker prices - what more can one ask for?
oh... we finished everything, so buddy's son had to go get a packet of char kway teow instead 😂
More good food in Singapore Chinatown 👈 click
Restaurant name: Weng Kiang Kee Porridge 荣强记粥品
Address: Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, 335 Smith Street, #02-082, Green Zone, Singapore 050335
GPS: 1.282668, 103.842873
Hours: 7:00am to 2:00pm (closed on Monday) (Charlie is still doing consulting projects with local and overseas hotels, so sometimes the stall may close for periods. Look out for notices on their Facebook page.)
Date: 20 Jul 2019
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