TeoChew Fish Porridge, Clementi: “The Fried Fish Soup was the X-factor that had me returning”

In the third instalment of my unsolicited, unofficial series of Clementi 448 Market & Food Centre stall reviews, I’m back with yet another gem—TeoChew Fish Porridgelocated just two stalls to the left of Kee Hok Hor Fun.

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While this stall might not stand out in terms of its naming creativity, its innocuousness also cuts straight to the point—“do you want fish porridge or not?”

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Contrary to what might be deduced, though, is the fact that TeoChew Fish Porridge (or as it might be more distinctively known in Chinese as Chao Zhou Yu Zhou Da Pai Dang) serves more than fish porridge. Fish soup, along with an unexpected surprise—braised pork rice—adorn this menu.

It’s probably fortunate that TeoChew Fish Porridge occupies a corner stall, providing more space for the queue that inevitably forms around it. 

What I tried

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It is, ahem, mandatory to order the Fried Fish Soup (S$4 for small, S$6 for big) when you’re here at TeoChew Fish Porridge. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. 

When you order, they will ask if you want milk in your soup, and if you can consume milk, I highly suggest you say yes. I’m mildly lactose intolerant, but I still did. #Badass.

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So, I acquiesce to milk in my soup, and it comes to me pleasingly cloudy, with crispy filets of batang fish swimming merrily in the broth. The fried batter hangs in curtains off each morsel of fish, so there’s ample crunch against the smoothness.

Without a hint of greasiness, everything tastes fresh, too. Paired with steaming, fluffy Plain Rice (S$0.60), this is a simple dish that packs a load of nuance without succumbing to unreasonable complexity. This Fried Fish Soup is the reason why even fussy fish eaters can enjoy its capricious tendencies.

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As my time at Inasal Restaurant and Bakery has life-changingly taught me, trust dipping sauces wholeheartedly. Both fish soup and porridge come accompanied by a garlic-infused tangy dipping sauce that adds a magical dimension to each bite of fish, fried or sliced. It’s savoury, it’s tangy, and it’s mildly spicy. TeoChew Fish Porridge knows what they’re doing, right down to how each cut of fresh red chilli pairs with their mains. 

With its teeth-pleasing crispiness and rich, addictive broth, the Fried Fish Soup was the X-factor that had me returning to TeoChew Fish Porridge to write this review.

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Cuts of fish slices line the display tray in front of the stall waiting to be cooked, and they reappear in bowls of steaming Sliced Fish Porridge (S$4 for small, S$6 for big). These bowls roll out by the dozen, particularly on rainy days when customers are hankering for a milder bite in their broth.

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Though the fish comes off slightly too chewy here, it’s still a dish that will angelically declare your commitment to eating a little healthier that day. If a slightly rubbery fish is still a chip on the shoulder, smother it in dipping sauce and call it a day. 

Pleasantly, the rice grains don’t get soggy so much as they absorb the flavours of the savoury broth. It is Teochew porridge at its finest.

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Scooping spoonfuls of rice and broth here feels like a gratifying regression to an earlier age, when my Hokchew grandmother would feed me Teochew mui. Perhaps that was a bid to keep me connected to my Teochew roots, but then again, that could just be my nostalgia over-thinking. 

The stalls at Clementi 448 Market & Food Centre all seem to harbour a dark horse, and for TeoChew Fish Porridge, it is the Braised Pork Rice (S$1.50). It’s priced like a side, but damn, it’ll satiate as a meal when I’m on a budget. Come to mami.

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Blanketed atop a bowl of fluffy white rice is a braised pork gravy that melds to the point of cohesive indistinguishability with its own components. The pork slices aren’t very chunky, but they’re generously distributed throughout for a sweet and piquant mouthfeel. 

In the sea of fish soup at TeoChew Fish Porridge, this Braised Pork Rice is a welcome goldmine of dark and savoury flavour.

Final thoughts

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TeoChew Fish Porridge offers way more than its name suggests, though it maintains a cohesive theme in its Teochew roots. 

There is a reasonable variety in the menu that doesn’t cross the line into an overkill. Oftentimes, we find comfort in the familiar at hawker stalls, and for me, the regular old Fried Fish Soup or Braised Pork Rice here will be enough to keep me going. Though it sounds appealing, even the Fish Head Bee Hoon (S$4 for small, S$6 for big) will require a hefty amount of coaxing before I can be persuaded to break away from the joys of regularity. 

As the cherry on top, you can find them on GrabFood if you’re having a particularly lazy day, but be prepared for a pared-down menu.

Expected Damage: S$4 – S$12 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 5 / 5

TeoChew Fish Porridge

448 Clementi Avenue 3, Clementi 448 Market & Food Centre, #01-41, Singapore 120448

Our Rating 5/5

TeoChew Fish Porridge

448 Clementi Avenue 3, Clementi 448 Market & Food Centre, #01-41, Singapore 120448

Operating Hours: 9am - 9pm (Daily)

Operating Hours: 9am - 9pm (Daily)