Thursday, 5 July 2007

Ah Soon Fish Porridge

Now, this is what I call soup, prepared Teochew style, Meeky told himself. This is the famous Ah Soon fish porridge shop. Although it is called by that name, soups with minced pork, sliced pork. pork liver and small intestines and kidney are offered. Or for that matter you can have meehoon soup. It you want a combination, then there is the mixed soup. The soup is prepared Teochew style, that is, using sliced ‘kiam chai’ or salted mustard cabbage, tomato, and topped with chopped spring onion or parsley. The distinctive taste of the soup is derived from the famous ‘Hang Kang’ he lo, the well known Chinese fish sauce from China that he uses.

Ah Soon, as the owner is affectionately known, has been selling his fish porridge since his humble beginning as a roadside hawker. He later moved to the familiar Peng Kai hawker street. Then in the biggest decision of his life, be bought himself a new three-storey shoplot with a loan from the bank. The interior is quite spacious and clean. However, when there is a crowd it can be quite hot and sweaty.

Business is brisk, especially after 6.30 pm. To avoid the crowd, it is best either to go before 6.30 pm or after 8.00. He is helped by his wife, and his three grown up children. Under his watchful eyes, his son makes the soup or porridge. Apparently, Ah Soon is preparing his son to take over for at one short of period of time, Ah Soon was not seen at all at the shop.

For those who are tired of hawker or restaurant food, and want something simple, and not oily, then he can elect for the fish porridge which consists entirely of fish, or mixed porridge which consists of minced pork, slices of fish, pork, pork liver and small intestines. If you are adverse to pig entrails, you can specifically ask Ah Soon to exclude them. Well, the older Chinese generation, rightly or wrongly believes that eating pig’s brain nourishes your brain, while eating liver and kidney keeps your liver and kidney in tip-top condition. (What about chicken feet? Chicken’s bishop nose? Pig’s tail? Meeky wondered). You could also elect to have only the soup and a bowl of rice.

Under his expert hands, it doesn’t take him more than 10 minutes to prepare a soup. Years of experience have taught him to ensure that the fish, pork and other things are not over boiled.

The good thing about Ah Soon’s fish porridge or soup is that it is nutritious and filling.

The shop is conveniently found at Jalan Peng Kai Dalam. To get there, turn left after the Grace Church at Jalan Mohd Akil (if you are coming from the Batu Pahat town centre). You won’t miss it.

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