Ah Er Soup 阿2老火汤 at ABC Brickworks Market & Food Centre, has made a surprise entrance in the Michelin Bib Gourmand Singapore 2017.
The humble stall serves up Chinese herbal soups, and started off by operating in food courts (at Jurong Leisure Complex Yuan Chin Road some years back).
I have visited ABC Food Centre quite often, and there are many food gems within (roast pork, Hokkien mee, Western food, minced pork noodles, Penang prawn mee, xiao long bao… I can go on and on).
While I always see at short queue of say about 5 pax at Ah Er Soup, it never really occurred to me it would get a Michelin guide recognition one day.
Surprising because we could not imagine Michelin inspectors loving fish maw, black chicken, and pork tripe (the menu printed “triple”, but it should be “tripe”).
So never say never.
The stall was established in 2012 by Mr Ma Pit San, serving traditional Chinese herbal soups at affordable prices. Nothing above $6.50. (For our foreign friends, the locals drink these soups because we also believe they are nutritious and have medicinal properties.)
Soups offered include Buddha Jumps Over The Wall ($6.50), Ten Tonic Ginseng Chicken Soup ($5.00), Herbal Ginseng Black Chicken Soup ($5.50), Gingko Pork Tripe Pepper Soup ($4.50), Lotus Root Peanut Pork Ribs Soup ($4.00), Old Cucumber Pork Rib Soup ($3.50), Watercress Pork Ribs Soup ($3.50), and ABC Chicken Soup ($3.50).
An additional bowl of white rice cost 50c, while I would recommend a tastier Pumpkin Rice at 80c.
I had a Buddha Jumps Over The Wall ($6.50). If you think the name of the soup is amusing, the origins is an allusion to the dish’s ability to entice vegetarian monks to leave their temples to try the soup. (I don’t think this version would be that much a temptation…)
While the original version would have more extravagant ingredients such as shark fin, sea cucumber and scallops, Ah Er Soup’s take is still considered ‘luxe’ for its price, with inclusion of fish maw, abalone, and Chinese mushrooms.
Perhaps because the weather was cooling, I thoroughly enjoyed the soup – flavoursome and rich, yet not cloying or intense.
I also didn’t feel thirsty after drinking, and the stall has also indicated “No MSG”.
The Ten Tonic Ginseng Chicken Soup ($5.00), understandably had a stronger herbal taste, still nourishing and delicious, complemented with chicken drumstick soft to the bones. Check out the size of that drum.
If this is your first time having such Chinese soups and are afraid of a strong slight bitter aftertaste, then I would recommend the Lotus Root Peanut Pork Ribs Soup and ABC Chicken Soup then.
Does Ah Er Soup offer the best Chinese soups in Singapore? I cannot say for sure, but the price point along with generous ingredients make it attractive.
My only reservation was that the soups might not be as hot as some other stalls – which sometimes would use steamers to further keep the containers warm.
Popular soups are sold out early, so it is advisable to turn up before the peak meal times.
Ah Er Soup 阿2老火汤
ABC Brickworks Market & Food Centre #01-143, 6 Jalan Bukit Merah, Singapore 150006
Opening Hours: 11am – 2pm, 5pm to 8pm (Mon – Fri, Sun). Closed on Sat
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