Amoy Street Fish Soup Showdown: Han Kee vs Piao Ji

A dish for a sick soul? Fish soup. A dish for a rainy day? Fish soup. In conjunction with Singapore’s erratic grey skies, this comforting dish it is. 

I initially wanted to do a showdown between 2 Michelin Bib Gourmand fish soup awardees, but a colleague suggested something different – Han Kee and Piao Ji, both at Amoy Street Food Centre! This was going to be my first time doing an area-based showdown.

PIAO JI - FISH SOUP

Similar to the Prawn Mee Bros Showdown, here are 3 factors I will be considering while surfing through this journey with you: Fish, Soup and Value for Money

Boo hoo. I wanted to add a “Chu Mi Fen” factor but I was saddened to learn that Piao Ji doesn’t offer that staple slurp-able. Back to the remaining factors, you can’t say Fish Soup without the “Fish” and the “Soup” LOL. So that’s that. As for the third factor (looking at quality and quantity), I want the best for your wallet in this economy!

FYI, infamously known for snaking queues, Han Kee has a Bib while Piao Ji does not. There must be a solid reason for that, right?

Han Kee Fish Soup 

CBD Readers, you know how crazy Han Kee’s queue can be. Not kidding ah, my jaw dropped when I stared at the long line of customers stretching to 2 rows down. Give or take, 40 people or more – I sheepishly retreated on the first try and vowed to arrive earlier the next day. 

HAN KEE - STOREFRONT Never mind. The snaking queue was horrifyingly immutable. Accepting the situation, I braved the queue for the second time and waited for close to an hour. My feet were aching from standing that long, so I truly applaud the stall’s towkays. Oh, were they fierce? No leh

Contrary to popular belief, while the order-taking aunty was said to be “rude” and “nasty”, I found her pretty okay. Aside from frowning in concentration to memorise orders – it’s true, she could memorise up to 30, I saw the aunty flash a smile as she went down the line instructing customers to prepare their cash to order. 

HAN KEE - QUEUE

Yet, after seeing the crowd go silent when a customer struggled to verbalise her complicated order, I ran through “Aunty, 鱼片米粉小的 (Small Sliced Fish Bee Hoon)” multiple times in my head before spitting it out. I soon collected my Sliced Fish Bee Hoon (S$6) with a good 50-ish customers behind me. 

Let’s get to it. 

HAN KEE - FISH SOUP

This was a fine blend of spice, piquancy and savouriness. Garnished with pepper, coriander and garlic bits, the fish broth was clean-tasting and easy to drink. I personally prefer rich fish soup with milk, and found it rather plain at first.

But when paired with their al dente chu mi fen, I could discern a delicate depth as the noodles effortlessly soaked up the clear liquid.

HAN KEE - BROTH

Infused with subtly sweet umami yielded from fish parts, it was extremely versatile and you can definitely pair this with other signatures like their Sliced Fish Porridge (S$6/ S$8/ S$10) or a simple bowl of White Rice (S$0.50/ S$0.70).

I was here for the fish. 

Straight off the boat, the thick slices of batang (Spanish Mackerel) were so dang fresh. These fishies were macam caught the same morning and most likely cleared by the end of daily operations due to the large number of orders. Look at how white the flesh is.

HAN KEE - FISH

You can see the fish’s circular-shaped muscles with the gelatinous skin intact.

Texture-wise, it’s insane how something so simple could taste so good. Firm yet chewy, the generously-sized batang was perfect in every bite. I observed some chunks of flesh floating away after I prodded them with my chopsticks. Succulent too. 

HAN KEE - BEE HOON

I was surprised to find countless batang slices buried under the towering mountain of bee hoon. This shouts “Value for Money” to the core! Talking about “Money”, I noted that Piao Ji had a slightly higher price point than Han Kee. 

Will they triumph over this Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient? 

7 Maxwell Rd, Amoy Street Food Centre, #02-129, Singapore 069111
Mon to Fri: 11am – 3pm
Closed on Sat & Sun 

Piao Ji Fish Porridge 

I have heard that those who give up queuing at Han Kee will go over to Piao Ji. Hmm.

PIAO JI - STOREFRONT

Although the queue wasn’t as long, the stall had its fair share of loyal customers lah – around 20 people in line. As evidenced by the numerous certificates pasted at their storefront and a printed PayLah/ PayNow QR Code, this stall had a more modern edge.

Not going to dwell much here. Like you, I was curious to know if a higher price of the Fish Soup (S$7) comes with better quality and quantity. As I mentioned earlier, as Piao Ji doesn’t offer chu mi fen, I substituted it with a warm bowl of regular White Rice (S$0.50/ S$0.70) instead. 

PIAO JI - FISH SOUP

As it was topped with pepper, spring onions, coriander, shallots and pork lard, I was expecting some pizzaz as compared to Han Kee’s simple broth. 

Unfortunately, my expectations were let down. I know those who love complex flavours will beg to differ here. Due to the mix of numerous ingredients surrounding the otherwise clear fish soup, the “oomph” was too overwhelming for my tastebuds. The savoury shallots and pork lard overlapped heavily with the piquancy from the spring onions and coriander.

PIAO JI - FISH SOUP

Most importantly, the garnishing overpowered the faint essence of the fish. This resulted in Piao Ji’s broth being (turbid) and somewhat oily. My mum had her head tilted in thought and said, “Maybe they should remove the pork lard.” I wholeheartedly agree. 

After some experimentation, I discovered it’s better when paired with rice. This carb helps to absorb the “heavy” taste without compromising the palate! 

PIAO JI - RICE

Moving on to the batang that I hoped would be a saving grace. Yes, it was thickly sliced and very fresh, but it just wasn’t as impressive as Han Kee lor. Tender as well, the meaty fish’s soft texture just felt regular to me. Surprisingly, my mum preferred the fish here as she felt that there was a sweetness to it.

PIAO JI - FISH SOUP

NGL, I couldn’t point that out until she said it.

But I guess my age-old saying rings true: it all boils down to our unique tastebuds. As for the quantity, it was unexpectedly lesser. Aw, man. Probably because I opted for the smallest portion. Nevertheless, I am willing to give their Fish & Prawn Soup (S$12/ S$15) a try next time. 

7 Maxwell Rd, Amoy Street Food Centre, #02-100, Singapore 069111
Fri to Wed: 10.30am – 3.30pm
Closed on Thu
Facebook

Verdict

The answer is clear. 

As someone who adores dishes that are straight to the point, Han Kee Fish Soup takes the crown. Boasting a clean-tasting broth with notes of the ocean’s best, although plain, their fish soup complemented the included ingredients well. On the other hand, Piao Ji Fish Porridge’s multifaceted broth had an overpowering quality that wasn’t to my liking.

HAN KEE - BEE HOON

I believe that those who enjoy an intricate depth of flavours will prefer Piao Ji though.

Both thickly sliced and astoundingly fresh, the batangs had a close fight. However, I have to give it to Han Kee again. While we managed to discern a sweetness to Piao Ji’s, I appreciated Han Kee’s chewy-firm texture better. For S$6, the portion you get at Han Kee is really generous, therefore yes, Value for Money.

Would I queue for the winner again? Confession: Honestly, no. Perhaps if I am around the Tanjong Pagar area on a rainy day, but my love for fried fish soup will always prevail over its sliced fish counterpart.

How about you?

We tried Singapore’s best-rated fish soup

Newest