Continuing my Singapore trip posts, this time round we made it to Maxwell Food Centre which is just off the tourist belt of Chinatown. I must admit I've never really been around this area! It's pretty interesting with large Chinese temple, Indian temple and a mosque all on the same road. Since we had a lot of time to kill, we walked around the area and saw the touristy stalls and shops.
My original intention for swinging by Maxwell Food Centre was to try the famous Hainanese Chicken Rice. While waiting for them to set up stall, I walked around the whole area. Spying the long queue of people right in front of the porridge stall, I was curious to sample what they were selling. Coincidentally, the newspapers that particular day had featured the same stall in a story about hawker revenues and the tax man. According to the Sunday Times, they had sent a reporter to sit nearby and diligently count the number of bowls/plates sold to estimate the stalls' revenue. Based on their information, it seems this stall sells 36 bowls per hour with an average price of S$4. With a work day of approximately 7 1/2 hours, it's estimated to have a monthly revenue of S$43,860 (on a 30 day month)! Not bad I reckon but definitely back breaking work for the owners.
In fact when I was in the long queue, I could spy the whole process of the porridge stall. They have a large metal container filled with the porridge at the side. It's constantly churned by a machine till the porridge reaches a smooth consistency. Slightly thicker than the ones you get in Malaysia, you won't spot a single rice grain here as it's been churned to a million small pieces. As and when you place your order for which type of porridge, the owner at the back will heat up the porridge in the saucepan over high heat. He adds the ingredients accordingly to cook. Once done, it's placed in plastic bowls and passed on to his wife. She sprinkles a mix of chopped spring onions, fried shallots and fried choy poh (preserved radish) plus a dash of sauce on top of the porridge.
Since I had no idea what to order, I got chatting to this nice girl in the queue right behind me. She advised me they had a lot of varieties - pork slices, century eggs, fish and etc. I decided to try the raw fish slices since it was unique. They do it differently here as it's sliced to wafer thin pieces with a deli meat cutter and topped with lots of toasted sesame seeds, fried shallots, chopped coriander and sliced ginger. There is also cut limes on the side for you to squeeze the juice out on the fish slices. Add it quickly into the porridge to allow it to cook.
We all gave our thumbs up to this porridge - really worth the queue time! The porridge was thick plus smooth. The ingredients were super fresh and a lot for the price we paid. It was about S$7 as I had ordered a small raw fish plate and porridge with century egg pieces. If you're ever around this area, do give this place a try. Only thing is the wait time can be quite daunting.
Zhen Zhen Porridge
Stall No. 54
Maxwell Food Centre
(Non Halal. Stall is open from early morning till 2 pm or until food runs out. Closes on Tuesday.)
*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant for writing this review.
Tagged with: Singapore Food + Porridge