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5 Nov 2013

Newday Porridge (新園清香粥) @ Lorong Selamat, Penang

Penang [檳城] • 5 NOVEMBER 2013
Now that nights are getting cooler, thoughts start turning towards warming dinners. I found myself at home alone one night recently craving something hot and soupy.I thought of Chinese rice porridge (also known as congee – but there are variations all over Asia).

Porridge though sounds the same is not entirely the same when it comes to the different dialect groups of the Chinese. Although porridge here is cooked using rice, the style of cooking is entirely different.

Cantonese porridge is cooked till mushy and you cannot see the grains of rice. Usually, they added dried seafoods like scallops, oysters and other foods stuffs to flavour the porridge which is call ‘chok’. Flavourings like salt, sesame oil and pepper are added in the process of cooking.
Meanwhile, I will feature the Teochew porridge today. Well, in the olden days, when people live in poverty and rice is hard to come by, they cook porridge as one cup of rice can make into several bowls of porridge.

There were a wide variety of dishes to choose from. Food was reasonably priced.

It is pure plain rice and water. Sometimes sweet potatoes are added into this porridge as during the Japanese occupation in Malaya during the WWII, most of the villagers survived on sweet potatoes and also tapioca.Teochew porridge is usually served with a lot of preserved foodstuffs like salted duck eggs, salted vegetables, salted fish and fermented beancurds.

The variety and the quality of the items at this stall are, so far, the best I’ve found in town… not that they offer more things than competitors, but what they do offer is always fresh and always delicious. My favourite items include a roast pork, fried fish, the braised pork belly and a really yummy braised fish that is sold in pieces. But don’t take my word for it, check it our for yourself. Just don’t get mad if you can’t get a table right away. I often spend several minutes staring at seated customers, willing them to leave. 

Teochew porridge is quite different from Cantonese porridge in that it is more watery and the grains of rice, while soft, is still quite distinct. Flavouring is never added to the porridge and the idea is to marry all the different tastes of the accompanying dishes that come with the meal with the bland porridge. The basic ones are preserved vegetables, braised beancurd, preserved bean curd, peanuts, salted duck eggs and many more.

Newday Porridge
Lorong Selamat
10400 George Town
Pulau Pinang


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