It must be the gradually-cool weather in Singapore that made me crave for some good-old comforting congee.
Congee, called ”chog” in Cantonese, is a Chinese rice porridge dish added with ingredients such as meat, fish, eggs, peanuts and even seafood.
While there are many variations such as the Teochew muay, this food guide will focus on the thicker Cantonese style.
A smooth, delicious bowl of congee is the perfect food that warms the belly. Here are 12 places in Singapore where you can relish some of the best congee around:
Zhen Zhen Porridge 真真粥品
Maxwell Road Food Centre, 1 Kadayanallur Street #01-54, Singapore 069184
Opening Hours: 5:30am – 2:30pm (Wed – Mon), Closed Tues
There are several stalls famous for congee at Chinatown and Maxwell Food Centre, such as Tiong Shian Porridge Centre and Hoe Kee Porridge, but many have a soft spot for Zhen Zhen Porridge.
However, the waiting time was a bit longer than I would have liked. As mid-morning is their rush hour, you may want to get there a bit early.
The queue was not entirely the reason for the wait, as the aunties inside took a painstakingly long time to cut up the ingredients and get orders.
Choose between Fish Porridge, Chicken Porridge, Sliced Fish with Shredded Chicken and Century Egg, Century Egg and Chicken, and Fish Belly Porridge ($3, $4, $5).
The congee was warm and pleasant with thick and dense rice grains cooked to a perfect consistency. Every spoonful was full of delicious ingredients like meat, chicken, and century egg along with other peripherals of spring onion, shallots and chopped preserved vegetables.
It is easily one of the better congees around Singapore with its smooth texture and varied constituents.
Note: While there are stated opening hours, Zhen Zhen Porridge may close as and when.
Sin Heng Kee
Blk 685 Hougang Street 61, Singapore 530685
Tel: +65 9118 1569
Opening Hours: 7am – 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
When I did a poll on the most recommend congee in Singapore on IG Stories, Sin Heng Kee easily came up tops.
Sin Heng Kee takes up an entire coffeeshop at Hougang Street 61, and has another branch at Yishun Junction 9. The place is always swarming with people and its best to go in early.
They serve extremely thick concoction, which is the result of hours and hours of boiling to right consistency.
The recommended bowl is the Signature Porridge ($5) which includes a mixture of pig’s organs, pork slices and meat balls; while you can also order the Century Egg with Lean Meat, Sliced Fish or Triple Egg Porridge ($4, $4.50).
The congee itself could be a bit bland to some, but the texture was nicely-creamy when mixed with yolk. The best parts were the minced pork and mixed organs which were tenderly-soft. I would have liked the bowl better if I didn’t feel that thirsty after the meal.
You can also get fried dough fritter ($0.80) with the congee. However, it comes in a plastic bag and unfortunately soggy. Most regulars who bothers to, would go to the opposite kopitiam to ta-bao freshly-fried ones, and the shop seems to allow that.
Ah Chiang’s Porridge (Tiong Poh Road)
65 Tiong Poh Road (Tiong Bahru), Singapore 160065
Tel: +65 6557 0084
Opening Hours: 6am – 11pm (Mon – Sun)
Ah Chiang’s Porridge at Tiong Bahru (not the Toa Payoh branch, which is…) has been my regular favourite since the good-old days, though I must say they used to be better – say 2-3 years back when there was visibility more ingredients.
The shop is run on the principles of a healthy, hearty meal at an affordable price.
The setup is quite simple and minimalistic with the porridge shop, opening at 6am and serving simmering hot fresh porridge. Each bowl of porridge is prepared post ordering, so be prepared to wait around 10 to 15 minutes.
The congee is essentially Cantonese style and combines other ingredients like pork, seafood, chicken, vegetables, or century egg. Usually my favourite would be the Mixed Pork Organs with Meatballs.
While it may look simple and plain, it has a creamy consistency with fresh ingredients. Add some soy sauce, pepper and cut chilies, and you have got yourself a delightful bowl. Tip: There are some side dishes of Fried Wantons and Dou-Miao which you can get.
Xian Ji Porridge
57 Eng Hoon Street (Tiong Bahru), Singapore 160057
Opening Hours: 7am – 1pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
This is quite an under-rated congee stall, though it is frequently sold out early in the morning (even though closing time states noon.)
It is run by two sisters who work tirelessly, stirring the pot several hours before the opening hours to get the rice grains to a perfect smooth and creamy consistency.
A bowl ($7) with an egg (additional $1) contains chunks of fresh pork meat, minced meat balls and small intestines, generous portions of chopped vegetables (watercress), and some pepper and soy sauce.
Flavourful, full of ingredients, and extremely comforting.
Mui Kee Congee Singapore 妹記生滾粥品
Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road, #01-12. Singapore 228208
Tel: +65 67372422
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:30am – 3pm Last Order 2.30pm, Dinner 6pm – 10pm Last Order 9:30pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
The classic range of congee includes Sliced Parrot Fish Belly, Homemade Pork Meatballs, Pig’s Innards (livers and intestine), Sliced Beef and Pork with Century Egg priced at $7.80 onwards.
Premium range of congee such as Alaskan Crab Legs, Hokkaido Scallops and Braised Abalone are also available at $16 – $20.
The congee is said to be prepared from scratch, following a five-hour-long process in which the raw rice grains are first mixed with mashed century eggs, which help to break down the grains.
Pork bones and fish stock are then added and the mixture is stirred every 5-10 minutes, for 5 hours for a luxuriously creamy end product. The vanishing tradition of cooking in copper pots is also kept alive here.
This seemed to be more watery than the Hong Kong version.
Yin Ji 银记肠粉店
Far East Square 133 Amoy Street #01-01 Singapore 048775
Tel: +65 6443 3875
Opening Hours: 8am – 8pm (Mon – Fri), 11am – 8pm (Sat), Closed Sun
Yin Ji 银记肠粉店 which originated in Guangzhou in the 50s, has set up its Singapore flagship at Far East Square.
Congee choices include the ‘all-in-one’ Boat ($6.50), Sliced Fish ($7.00), Sliced Pork ($6.00), Sliced Pork and Liver ($7.00), Sliced Tender Bee ($7.00) , Century Egg & Pork ($6.50) and Vegan ($4.00).
The texture of the Congee was very close to what I would find in a reasonably good Cantonese restaurant in Singapore – slightly sticky, with rice broken into smooth consistency.
It was not as out-of-this-world as some of the great Hong Kong ones I tried, but if you are craving for this particular style, it would be a good bet. The bowl was topped with sliced egg, spring onions and peanut which added some crunch.
Some may find this overall slightly to the bland side, and reach out to some soy sauce. But I have the feeling people who work at Raffles Place are more health-conscious, and won’t mind something plainer for lunch.
Ri Ji Porridge
269B Queen Street, Singapore 182269 (Bugis MRT)
Phone: +65 9815 8230
Opening Hours: 7am – 7pm (Mon – Sun)
This congee stalls goes back to 1976. It was first started by Mr. Wong, and the family recipe has been passed down since then with innovations and improvements to bring its regular patrons the best-selling Cantonese porridge in the area.
The business is small and robust with the servers working tirelessly to make the most palatable and rich congee. According to Dr Leslie Tay from ieatishootipost.sg, the porridge is cooked via a steaming process.
Varieties available here include Pork Congee ($3), Fish Congee ($3.50), Cuttlefish and Peanut Congee ($3.50), and Century Egg Congee.
Although the congee looked simple, and possibly one of the ‘plainest’ I had (in this list), the consistency was smooth and slippery, and didn’t feel jelak (rich) finishing the entire bowl.
While you are here, not to be missed is also the Chee Cheong Fun ($2).
Chai Chee Pork Porridge
85 Bedok North Street 4, #01-210 Fengshan Market and Food Centre, Singapore 460085
Tel: +65 96720521
Opening Hours: 5pm – 2am (Mon – Sun)
Chai Chee Pork Porridge is one of those stalls that you would usually find people queuing at the 85 Fengshan Market.
In fact, they are so popular that they have 2 stalls – one which they open in the day, and the other at night till late. The earlier stall becomes a preparation stall for the night stall.
The Pork Porridge ($3.50) was cooked until it is thick and smooth with an almost gluey texture filled with yummy minced pork and lean pork meat, topped with you tiao and spring onions. Such a bowl of happiness.
Li Fang Porridge 丽芳粥品
270 Queen Street, #01-78, Singapore 180270 (Bugis MRT)
Tel: +65 9634 8383
Opening Hours: 7am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)
Li Fang Porridge has a number of shops around Singapore. The main outlet is at Queen Street Albert Centre, with other branches at 20 Ghim Moh Road, ABC Market, 115 Bukit Merah View, 407 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10, 293 Yishun Ring Road, 207 New Upper Changi Road and 208D New Upper Changi Road.
They have a number of seafood-based choices, such as Seafood Congee ($20 – no typo), La La Congee ($5), Mixed Scallop Congee ($5.50), Prawn Congee ($5), Sliced Fish with Cuttlefish Congee ($4.50).
I chose the standard Lean Meat with Century Egg ($3.50), and appealed with its richer taste and creamy texture.
However, of all the bowls of congee I had in this list this bowl left me with the greatest thirst.
127 Lor 1 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310127
Tel: +65 9475 2678
Opening Hours: 7am – 3pm (Tues – Sat), 7am – 2pm (Sun)
88 粥品 (88 Zhou Pin) at Toa Payoh serves up a familiar yummilious taste of Hong Kong styled congee, the quality kind that you would find along the roads of Nathan Lane. On a fine breakfast outing, the single bowl relieved my cravings for Kowloon street food.
What’s Congee without the good old familiar youtiao? The dough stick was freshly deep-fried on the spot and served one long stick on top of the bowl in its entirety.
Some of the recommended Congee included the Meat Ball & Century Egg, Prawn Ball and Meat Ball & Intestine Congee where the meatballs were home-made with a secret recipe.
If you wonder why you could get hotel quality food in a hawker centre, that was because Chef Au worked in Westin Hotel, Raffles Hotel and Hong Kong’s Shangri-La before he moved up to set up his own stall.
Dim Sum Inc by Crystal Jade – Punggol
Block 681 Punggol Drive, #02-36, Oasis Terraces, Singapore 820681 (Punggol Oasis LRT Station)
Tel: +65 6244 8490
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 10:00pm (Mon – Fri), 9:00am – 10:00pm (Sat, Sun, PH)
Most people are familiar with Crystal Jade, but perhaps not Dim Sum Inc.
Known for its comforting and velvety congee, you get options of Lean Meat with Century Egg, Shredded Chicken & Duck, Classic Ting Zai, and Sliced Glass Carp.
The Lean Meat with Century Egg Congee ($8.30) is said to be slow-cooked using top quality rice, to result in that consistent smooth texture. Great for those searching for a light and nutritious meal in the vicinity.
Canton Paradise Marina Bay Sands
2 Bayfront Avenue #01-02 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018972
Tel: +65 6688 7052
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 10:30pm, Last Order 10:00pm (Mon – Thu)
10:30am – 11:00pm, Last Order 10:30pm (Fri – Sun, Eve of PH, PH)
The consistency of this Cantonese style Handmade Meatball Congee ($9.80) should stand out. As I scooped up a spoonful, I could tell by appearance that it had a velvety smooth and silky texture.
Using a combination of Japanese pearl and Thailand fragrant jasmine rice, this is a result of dedicated effort by the chefs who constantly stir the pot to ensure its uniformity.
It reminded me of a good old Hong Kong style congee, looking pearly-white and plain, but tasty enough. I also liked the pork meatballs which were freshly prepared by hand, and had a firm elastic bite.
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