Ye Lai Xiang Teochew Porridge: Your taxi uncle’s fave Teochew Mui, open till 4am

What’s Teochew Mui to you?

Think cai fan but substituted with porridge. Akin to a warm bowl of watery mui, this iconic Teochew cuisine is something near and dear to my heart. My family has made it a point to delight in Teochew Porridge and its accompanying dishes whenever it rains. Thus, it was a full-circle moment to cover a homely fare that I know so well.

During my search for the best (and most wallet-friendly) Teochew Mui in Singapore, a particular stall caught my attention.

ye lai xiang - storefront

Word on the street is that Ye Lai Xiang Teochew Porridge at Bukit Merah is popular among taxi uncles on the night shift. Here’s one and another. Interesting! And yes, I have verified that it’s open till 4am.

Transported back to a familiar tradition that my parents started, I felt a strange sense of déjà vu as I dragged both my mum and dad to this “legendary” spot that has been operating for decades.

What I tried at Ye Lai Xiang Teochew Porridge

The late-night supper spot wasn’t hard to miss.

Sporting a bright yellow signboard and a dazzling display of Teochew Mui dishes (a staff member shared that there are days when the stall serves up to 65), Ye Lai Xiang Teochew Porridge truly lived up to their name, “夜来香”, which directly translates to “fragrance comes at night”.

ye lai xiang dishes

Unsurprisingly, the snaking queue was still there even when we left at 9pm.

Fret not, as the line does move relatively quickly. The stall’s workers in their yellow tops were weaving in and out of the kitchen, refilling empty metal trays and taking orders in a quiet but efficient unity. After 5 to 10 minutes of waiting to order, I realised something odd.

They do not have a price list for each dish.

According to the same staff member, prices can vary by up to S$0.80 (e.g. vegetables) to S$4 (e.g. seafood). This depends on the serving size (circle plates are for 1 pax, oval plates are for 2 pax) as well as the chosen dishes, of course. Out of curiosity, I asked, “Is there a list that you refer to?” “We just remember them,” he nonchalantly replied. Oh. Well then, we were left to discover how much our meal would cost.

I was spoiled for choice. Under the low-hanging spotlights, each dish glistened and beckoned me to take a bite. If it weren’t for my dad swooping in to order, I think I’d have taken an embarrassingly long time to select what I wanted.

ye lai xiang dishes

Nevertheless, we settled on 9 dishesBraised Duck, Chai Poh Omelette, Nan Ru Pork Belly, Minced Pork Patty, Braised Tau Kee, Braised Tau Pok, Fishcake, Salted Vegetables and Stewed Vegetables and 3 porridges (not all are captured in the picture above).

That amounted to S$23.10. For 3 pax, that’s not bad at all. Ready to go through these dishes with me? Let’s geddit.

ye lai xiang dishes - porridge

You can’t eat Teochew Mui without the mui (porridge). Unlike Cantonese jook which has a thicker consistency, the mui has a high water content and visible grains of whole rice. Downright comforting.

A perfect complement to their vast spread, Ye Lai Xiang Teochew Porridge’s porridge can be easily compared to a soft, watery medium that lightly cleanses the palate. My hard-to-please mum got another bowl of that.

ye lai xiang dishes - braised duck

All eyes on this Braised Duck. Soaked in dark soy sauce, the thinly-sliced meat boasted crispy skin with savoury flesh. As someone who loves Dang Gui Roasted Duck, this went beyond expectations. Actually a must-try, I dare say that this was the star of the meal.

ye lai xiang dishes - chai poh omelette

Anyone who knows me knows that the only way to my heart is with chai poh. Coming in a triangular-shaped pancake, this Chai Poh Omelette was nicely fried (no burnt sides) with small bits of chai poh that had notes of sweetness. My mum noted that it was on the saltier side though.

ye lai xiang dishes - nan ru pork belly

Remember what I said about the Braised Duck being the star of the show? I take that back. Move over for the Nan Ru Pork Belly. You can call me wayang again but my eyes widened when I first tried it.

What’s more, I looked over to see my dad nodding in approval. Lined with a mouth-watering crust, the tender pork belly had a velvety texture that we could not get enough of. Due to the addition of red fermented bean curd (nan ru), there was also an earthy complexity to this moreish treat!

ye lai xiang dishes - minced meat patty

Now, the Minced Pork Patty. This is the staple ingredient in my cai fan order, so I was excited to see what was in store. Laced with strips of ginger and topped with a singular shiitake mushroom, the circular patty was treading dangerously close to the “too firm” zone. Fortunately, the rich broth below was its saving grace.

4 down, 5 more to go.

ye lai xiang dishes - tau kee and tau pok

Let’s talk bean curd. I usually order Braised Tau Kee and Braised Tau Pok to add a dash of saltiness to the otherwise bland mui. While the silky tau kee was perfectly coated with light sauce, the tau pok was too salty for us. Oozing with braised sauce, the latter had the ideal spongy texture though!

ye lai xiang dishes - fishcake

To be honest, the Fishcake was the regular kind. Dotted with assorted vegetables, this dish checked off the boxes of “moist” and “chewy”. However, I wished that there was more depth of flavour as I could not pinpoint the “fishy” taste.

Now, the Salted Vegetables and Stewed Vegetables. The first is the one dish that I always avoid. But hey, there’s a first time for everything.

ye lai xiang dishes - salted veg and stewed vegetables

According to my dad, the Salted Vegetables were “not too salty and not too bland.” I have to agree. There was a good crunch to the kiam chye and it wasn’t as pungent or briny as I had initially thought.

On the other hand, the Stewed Vegetables featured creamy potatoes and nutty carrots in light soy sauce. Both went extremely well with the mui!

Burp. That’s called a filling meal.

Final Thoughts 

Final Thoughts? No. My Only Thought is that this meal was the epitome of value for money. Coupled with their wide variety of decent-quality dishes, Ye Lai Xiang Teochew Porridge is open from 10am to 4am. 6 hours away from 24. Okay lah.

To drivers out there (or maybe taxi uncles as well heh), its location is conveniently next to an open air carpark! For your further consideration, my mum told me to add this: Due to the spacious shelter and al fresco spaces, dining-in was a breeze to us. What’s not to love?

Enough about the selling points.

Let’s address the elephant in the room. “No price list then they suka-suka charge ah.” I was personally troubled by this too (I asked the staff 3 times BTW). The staff member I spoke to mentioned that except for seasonal seafood prices, all prices are “already fixed”.

As seen by the never-ending queue, it’s safe to say that this business is rooted in trust. So believe me, this will be your next go-to supper spot.

Expected damage: S$4 to S$8 per pax

Beach Road Scissors Cut Curry Rice: Famous supper spot with crowds till 2.30am

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Ye Lai Xiang Teochew Porridge

116 Bukit Merah View, Kim San Leng (Henderson), #01-217, Singapore 151116

Our Rating 4/5

Ye Lai Xiang Teochew Porridge

116 Bukit Merah View, Kim San Leng (Henderson), #01-217, Singapore 151116

Operating Hours: 10am - 4am (Daily)

Operating Hours: 10am - 4am (Daily)