Sin Hock Heng: 20-year-old cheap & hearty Teochew porridge with a boatload of side dishes in Geylang
Most of us know of Geylang’s notorious reputation; however, one may be surprised at how much good grub can be found within the district. Just recently, I discovered 20-year-old Sin Hock Heng that serves Teochew porridge known for its affordability.
Despite living very close to the area my entire life, I’ve not heard of this Teochew porridge joint ever. With widespread praise for their value for money, I (a broke Singaporean) was definitely jumping with excitement at the possibility of finding some cheap food. The fact that it opens till a late 3.45am every day adds points in my book!
When I arrived at the address, I was greeted with rather discreet signage. With the exterior of Sin Hock Heng looking extremely similar to all the other rain roofs, I can see why younger me missed it entirely.
Of course, my glance immediately drifted right to the food. Look at that spread! Easily having 25 side dishes to choose from, Sin Hock Heng definitely makes the attempt to have a set of everything on their menu. Perhaps I had arrived too early, though, as I did not see any whole fish,one of the dishes the place is popular for selling cheap.
Upon looking at the selection, it’s easy to be overwhelmed or unsure about what to eat. Cheery Uncle was more than happy to clarify my confusion, so not to worry!
For those who are unaware (it’s okay, I was, too), Teochew porridge is rice porridge that is commonly served with various side dishes. Think cai peng but with so much more variety with porridge. At Sin Hock Heng, there’s even bak kut teh for a flavourful accompaniment.
This porridge spot remains on the emptier side in the late morning, with just a few folk coming in for an early lunch. Sin Hock Heng has varied seating, with tables for groups as large as 6 pax to as little as 2. I was thankful for this, considering the odd looks I’ve received elsewhere occupying a large table as a lone person.
What I tried at Sin Hock Heng
Surprisingly, I was even able to spot a few dishes from my childhood, despite never having been to such an eatery before. Reaching out for my favourites, I got this set that cost S$6.80 which granted me much glee. Such portions for 1 person at below S$10, sign me up!
My beloved San Chun Rou (3 Layer Pork), I have missed you so! Having gobbled this with rice so often in my childhood, this side dish gave me a bout of nostalgia. What I loved most was the lack of bones within the meat, which I often encounter elsewhere. Rather, Sin Hock Heng’s had a good division of fat and meat.
Surprisingly, the gravy had a kick of spice that helped to alleviate the oiliness. Goes fantastically well with the plain porridge.
My staple would have to be eggs! A generous helping of Steamed Egg goes perfectly with porridge, in my humble opinion. Don’t let the colour scare you, as the odd white bit is just unmixed egg white sinking to the bottom and creating that peculiar shade of greenish-white when cooked. Thus, causing the steamed egg to be slightly firmer than I’d have liked.
On the other hand, the mixed part had a light mouthfeel that was a great contrast to the grainy porridge. Taste-wise, the egg was a tad less seasoned than I would have liked. However, it made sense, considering that Teochew porridge caters to lighter taste buds.
Surprisingly, my favourite was this Cabbage side dish. Slathered in a savoury-sweet gravy, the dish contained a boatload of cabbage and a few slices of carrot and fungus. I adored how fresh the vegetable was, with an amazing crunch that went superbly with the porridge. I had practically inhaled it before the rest of the dishes.
Sure, Sin Hock Heng may not be some Michelin-revered eatery, but there is no doubt that it serves hearty dishes for many folks to enjoy. I definitely did, eating a homemade meal that not only nourishes the stomach but the soul as well. Now, it looks like I have another place to get some late-night supper.
Expected damage: S$5.80 – S$8 per pax
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