Schools of thought on seafood porridge seem to be strongly divided. The first, a pessimistic lot say that it’s more trouble than it’s worth and you spend more time de-shelling than degusting. This was the opinion to which I subscribed, never having actually had seafood porridge and resisting several attempts to change this fact. I am now a convert.
Hoong Kee Seafood Porridge is a stall tucked away at the back of Restoran Kam Heong, a bustling hawker shop with only a Chinese signage. (Most of the shop front is blocked by a tree, but it’s below The Boss karaoke and next to UOB bank.) It does a brisk trade in the more pedestrian wantan mee and curry laksa but the seafood porridge is a dark horse, with steaming claypots being borne out of the stall in style every few minutes.
The basic premise – choose any one or more of the following: prawns, clams, sotong, fish paste, crab. I routinely go for the prawn and lala combination, sometimes with crab thrown in for good measure. The lala are tipped in with merry liberalism – sometimes it seems that there are more clams than porridge but they are small, sweet and fresh. The prawns are large, with shells split down the spine for easy removal, and the crab has been painstakingly peeled for you, into little chunks of red and white flesh.
The porridge itself, seasoned with ginger strips, chopped spring onions, and white pepper, is silkily textured without being overly watery and by the end of the meal will have thickened into a rich stock. Bring along a hand sanitiser and throw decorum to the wind – you can’t shell prawns gracefully, so why bother? Emma Chong
|Venue name:||Hoong Kee Seafood Porridge|
Restoran Kam Heong
Next to UOB Bank on Jalan Tengah
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat, 9.30am-2.30pm; Sun, 8am-2.30pm|