While regular and mala hotpot restaurants continue to enjoy popularity in Singapore, we don’t actually find many Congee Hotpot eateries around.
Congee Legend Hotpot 绝世好粥 is perhaps one of the first of its kind here, specialising in Shunde 顺德 style Congee or Porridge Hotpot.
You can find it at 737 Geylang Road, opened from 5pm to a very late 5am (!), great for supper goers who need your comforting treat in the middle of the night.
Congee hotpot is a concept that originated from Shunde 顺德 in Guangdong Province. Dining is almost like regular hotpot – you add your favourite ingredients into rice water extracted from porridge.
Over at Congee Legend, the congee base is priced at $3 per person, and ingredients differs starting from $2 per portion.
The porridge gets its flavours from the cooking of the various items from seafood, meat to mushrooms, resulting into limitless combination of flavours (depending on the ingredients you use).
For the base, you start with something that has a lighter body and mild sweetness, and move on to a texture that is more velvety-creamy as the cooking continues – the taste just gets better, so you should always stay till the end.
1. Shunde Congee
Shunde is a district of the Foshan city located within the Guangdong province. Guangdong is known for congee, seafood, fish and beef, and Shunde people has taken them all in one hotpot.
There is also one word that describes what Shunde cuisine is all about, which is “鲜 ”(xian), which places the importance of freshness.
Therefore, it is always about the quality and freshness of ingredients, which results in that Congee Hotpot with that umami taste, and cooking in congee preserves the tenderness of the food.
Compared to the spicy Mala-style, Congee Hotpot is more compatible to what the Shunde people look for a healthier diet.
2. No Concrete Rice
The congee base used in the hotpot is called 毋米粥 (wu mi zhou), referring to the fact that you cannot find ‘concrete rice’ within.
The rice is boiled under small heat for hours until the grains dissolve.
Therefore, you would find that the ‘congee soup’ would look thin, clear, without visible grains of rice.
However, as you cook the ingredients within, the ‘soup base’ gradually forms a thicker consistency and creamy concoction which is smooth to the palate.
3. Order of Ingredients: Seafood, Meat, then Vegetables
There is a proper order to adding the food to the hotpot: first seafood, then meat, followed by vegetables.
Seafood is added first to add that mild sweet flavour to the congee; while vegetables and mushrooms are dunked last to prevent over-cooking and soak up the essence of all the previous ingredients.
4. Fresh Seafood and Fish (Stage 1)
Dipping hotpot ingredients into the congee to cook helps accentuate the sweetness and succulence of the food because the high boiling point.
Starting with the seafood, available items at Congee Legend include crabs (seasonal price), scallop ($8), prawn ($6), clams ($5), squid ($5), sliced fish (seasonal), cuttlefish ($5), oysters ($4 per plate), to home-made prawn paste ($6 per plate) and fishballs ($4).
A combination of crabs, prawns and grouper fish slices for a fresh-tasting sweet and savoury mix.
Other than the more traditional style of fishballs, the crowd-favourite is the chewy fishballs filled with lava-like tobiko roe sauce – be careful with the hot fillings squirt outing when biting into them.
5. Meat and Meatballs (Stage 2)
During this second stage, you would realise that the soup becomes more milky-white with thickened texture.
Next up is to add in the meats, including marinated chicken ($5), marinated pork ($6), pork belly ($6), beef short plate ($8), marinated beef ($8), sliced beef ($7), sliced pork ($6), pork liver ($5), luncheon meat ($4), to homemade meat balls ($6).
As the boiling point is relatively high, this base can preserve the freshness and tenderness of meat, with the base very nourishing-tasting as well.
Add in the handmade meat balls, which are especially tender, bouncy and juicy.
6. Vegetables (Stage 3)
At this third stage, adding more greens and mushrooms can add depth to the flavour and natural sweetness.
Choices include Chinese cabbage ($3), cabbage ($3), kang kong ($3), Chinese celery ($3), golden mushroom ($3), king oyster mushroom ($3), shimeiji mushroom ($3) and shitake mushroom ($3).
7. Dipping sauces
There are condiments at the side in which diners can mix their own dipping sauce.
These include garlic, green and red chillies, coriander and spring onion.
Special mention goes to the specially-concocted soy sauce, which makes a particularly-tasty dip for the fish and meat slices.
8. Prawn Heads (as the final stage)
Other than the above three stages, Congee Legend has added an extra option as their ‘signature stamp’.
Diners can end the meal with unique “prawn porridge” at $4 per pax, in which prawn heads are stir-fried then mixed into the congee.
The prawn heads and shrimp oil add provide the much needed seafood umami depth, very shiok when eaten piping hot.
Congee Legend Hotpot
737 Geylang Road, Singapore 389648
Tel: +65 9115 6524
Opening Hours: 5pm – 5am (Mon – Sun)
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with Congee Legend.