For over 30 years, Zhen Zhen Porridge at Singapore’s Maxwell Food Centre has been serving rice porridge, or congee, a comfort food. Though popular for breakfast, the dish is enjoyed anytime of the day. You can find congee at restaurants and hawker centres all across the city, but none seem to do it better than Zhen Zhen Porridge.
You can usually tell which stalls are the best by the number of people waiting in line. The better the food, the more people in line. It may not be science, but in my experience, it is true. And, this is true at Zhen Zhen Porridge. While I have been fortunate on my visits, not waiting more than five minutes in line, I have heard some visitors to the stall have waited up to an hour in line. So, it is best to come during off hours.
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Zhen Zhen Porridge Menu
The menu at Zhen Zhen Porridge was simple. You had porridge with the options of fish, chicken, and century eggs.
Each bowl of porridge came in three sizes: small (S$3 or about $2.18), medium (S$4 or about $2.91), and large (S$5 or about $3.64). Undecided which size to order? For me, I thought the medium bowl was filling. I couldn’t imagine eating a large bowl by myself.
In the past, there was a popular raw fish dish on the menu (yu sheng). Due to safety concerns with raw fish, the government required restaurants and hawker stalls in Singapore to remove the item.
The most popular item on the menu was the Fish Porridge (S$4 or about $2.91).
I was surprised how thick and creamy the porridge was. The texture was less of a porridge and more of a soup. To reach this consistency, the grains were meticulously stirred for hours until dissolved. The final result was a thick, rich, creamy soup with a smooth texture. This attention to detail and dedication is why Zhen Zhen Porridge is such a popular hawker stall.
It took some digging around, but under the surface of the porridge was a generous amount of sliced fish. I’m not exactly sure what type was used, but it was a soft white fish that had the same color and texture as the porridge. The fish was surprisingly fresh and moist. Its subtle salty flavors were injected into each bite of the porridge.
For extra flavor, color, and texture, fried shallots, ginger, and green onions were added to the bowl. I enjoyed the fried shallots the most. They were salty and rich and added a much needed crunchy dimension to each bite.
Soy sauce, white pepper, and sliced red chili peppers were optional. Add them as you like. If you enjoy spicy foods, go heavy on the red chili peppers. They weren’t as spicy as I was expecting but added a nice crunchy kick of heat.
Don’t forget to mix everything up in the porridge before eating it. This way you can experience all the flavors and textures in each and every bite.
Service was efficient and to the point, as the same with most hawker centres in Singapore. Wait in line, be ready to order, and pay. After paying, I waited about five minutes to receive my bowl. During busy hours, you may have to wait longer.
For something as simple as porridge, I was surprised how each and every bite was full of ingredients, whether it was fish or crunchy fried shallots. Each bite was unique, infusing the otherwise plain porridge with exciting flavors, textures, and colors. While there were many options for porridge at Maxwell Food Centre, I believe that Zhen Zhen Porridge did it the best.
- Simple yet flavorful porridge
- Colorful and delicious toppings including fried shallots
- Often a line
Wednesday - Monday: 5:30AM - 2:30PM
Maxwell Food Centre
1 Kadayanallur Street #01-54, Singapore 069184
GPS Coordinates: 1.280422,103.844708