Our visit to Old Place Seafood Taiwan Porridge (古早坊台湾粥煮炒) in Joo Chiat Place was not only inspired by a CNA review about this Taiwan porridge tze char coffee shop, we even ordered the same four dishes that DJ Denise Tan had selected.
Unlike some of my colleagues, I am not very familiar with restaurants in the east. So it was a pleasant experience to wander around the Joo Chiat Place area. On a weekday afternoon, it has a sleepy laid back feel. Old Place Seafood Taiwan Porridge is located on the ground floor of this corner shop house. There are many other interesting restaurants and food places around this area.
Old Place Seafood Taiwan Porridge shares the coffeeshop space in Joo Chiat with a char kway teow stall and a Hokkien mee stall. Both appear to be very popular. At lunchtime, this was a bustling place but not overcrowded. Diners come and go at around the same pace and so there is always a seat available.
Old Place Seafood Taiwan Porridge Menu
Ordering food at Old Place Joo Chiat has been made easy for everybody, especially for first timers. First, there is a glossy illustrated menu with some of their “top hits” presented in clear pictures. Next, a full menu with prices with more than 120 items is presented on an A3 size multiple-choice order form. Most of the items are served in small, medium and large portions which we find so useful. Just check the boxes or consult the servers to place the order.
Try not to look at the fans because some are heavily coated with more than years of good memories. But do turn your attention to the drinks list stuck on the wall. We were glad we ordered the Blue Butterfly Pea Tea and the Lemon Grass drink. The Butterfly tea for its beautiful looks and the latter for its intense lemon grass and ginger taste. It was almost medicinal and has a healthy feel. The barley drink was quite average by comparison.
The four dishes we ordered with Taiwan porridge were – chye poh nerg (omelette wth preserved vegetables), preserved salted vegetables with pork, fried tau geh (bean sprouts) with salted fish and steamed cod with chye poh.
The fried bean sprouts and chye poh omelette are tze char classics and the ones at Joo Chiat were pretty good but not that exceptional.
What was outstanding and may make us go out of our way to the East was the braised pork with preserved vegetables (picture below). The flavour of the gravy was rich and complex. The pork had some fatty parts to give it an overall juicy feel, but it was mostly lean meat. The preserved vegetables reduced the heavines of the dish. This is the perfect dish to go with simple plain porridge.
The steamed cod would have been quite an ordinary dish but for the topping of a heap of crispy chye poh. The crunch of the topping went well with the oily fish texture and taste of the cod. I am not sure of the price of the cod as it is listed in the menu as “market price”. In the CNA story, it was noted that the price was $27. This may depend on weight but $20-something would be the ballpark price.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
Old Place Seafood Taiwan Porridge
59 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 427783
11am – 3pm and 5pm – 9.45pm
Closed fortnightly on Wednesdays
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog