This is not the case of seeing double.
There is a new Old Shifu Charcoal Porridge opened at Tiong Bahru’s Seng Poh Road by Chef Cher Kee CHIANG, a few minutes’ walk away from the famous Ah Chiang Porridge. (Also read: 10 Comforting Porridge 粥 In Singapore)
This new porridge eatery is conveniently located across the popular Tiong Bahru Food Centre, at the unit that has changed hands frequently enough in the last few years.
Old Shifu Charcoal Porridge’s co-owner and chef is previously the 2nd generation of “Ah Chiang Porridge”.
He sold the business years reportedly for a six-figure sum in 2005, but remained behind the kitchen at the Tiong Bahru outlet. He has recently decided to strike out on his own.
To be honest, I have eaten at Ah Chiang no less than 10 times across the years, but less during recent times as I noted that my favourite meatballs have shrank in size and didn’t quite have the same bite.
The menu over at Old Shifu is strikingly similar, with various combinations of porridge such as Mixed Pork ($5), Sliced Pork ($5), Pork Ball ($5.50), Sliced Fish ($6), Fish Belly ($6), Century Egg Minced Meat ($5), Shrimp Ball Porridge ($8), and Chicken Porridge ($5).
Pretty affordable considering an air-conditioned space. Added egg is at $0.60 extra.
If you need some side dishes for accompaniment, there are Salted Fish with Beansprouts ($7, $10, $12), Stir-Fried Frog Leg with Ginger ($16, $26, $36), Stir-Fried Pig Liver with Ginger ($7, $10, $12), and Stir-Fried Vegetables of the Day ($6, $8, $10).
The recommended is the Mixed Pork Porridge ($5) which includes minced pork, intestines, mixed lived, and sliced pork. There are no handmade pork balls added, but you can opt for a top-up.
Ingredients used are fresh, not frozen.
Surprisingly, the texture was not as starchy and thick as what I remembered it to be, a tad more watery comparatively and not-as-strong on the flavours.
I found myself having to add some of the specially-blended soy sauce.
The benefit of the cooking porridge via charcoal is that the heat remained even throughout the bowl, and relatively warm after consumption to the last few spoonfuls.
Handmade pork balls made all that difference, with uneven shapes, succulent and bouncy bite.
Unfortunately, the small intestines were not that well-cleaned and had that strange bitter taste.
The other bowl that I enjoyed was the Shrimp Ball Porridge ($8) – no ‘balls’ per se, but shrimps which were crunchy, bouncy, and sweet.
All in all, I have ordered four various bowls (via takeaways and dine-in) and there were slight inconsistencies, but I think they have improved in my most recent visit.
Worthy of mention is the crispy You Tiao ($2) fried fresh in-house so it retained some of the fluffiness, without the case of double-frying or lukewarm sticks.
What customers would love is the ”gu zao wei” or that traditional taste of ‘homemade’ porridge.
Old Shifu Charcoal Porridge
Seng Poh Road, #01-17 Block 58, Singapore 160058
Opening Hours: 7am – 2pm, 5pm – 8pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
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