Street Vendors of Bygone Days

The Kachang Puteh Man

Parked at the entrance of Peace Centre in Selegie Road is the last bastion of Singapore’s yesteryear snack culture. Over the past two decades, a humble pushcart peddling an eclectic assortment of kachang puteh (“kachang” refers to nuts and “puteh” or “putih” means white in Malay) has remained a fixture along the bustling street.

Simply known as “Kachang Puteh”, the metallic pushcart is crammed with 20 types of nuts, legumes and crackers that are housed in bright red-capped bottles. Popular nibbles include cashew nuts, tapioca fritters, sugar-coated peanuts, prawn sticks and murukku. For those who prefer to pop something warm into their mouths, there are also lightly-salted boiled peanuts and chickpeas that are served warm from an electric steamer. Customers can pick and choose which munchies to fill up their folded paper cones (from $1 for two types of snacks).

Mending the stall is Amirthaalangaram Moorthy, a third-generation kachang puteh seller, who arrived here in 2004 from his native Tamil Nadu to continue his family business. The Singapore permanent resident hails from a family that has a long-standing history with kachang puteh. The 51-year-old says that many kachang puteh sellers live in his ancestral village in southern India due to the abundance of nuts grown in the area.

The Ice-Cream Uncles

Hi Foodies, according to a Facebook post by Happy People Helping People community, our beloved Sim Lim Ice-Cream Uncle is back selling ice cream at the same spot! We are so happy that he is finally able to operate his business after being closed due to the circuit breaker.

87-year-old ice cream seller, Ng Teak Boon, had recently caught the attention of netizens after CNA insider released videos exposing poverty in Singapore. For more than 10 years, Mr Ng had been selling $1.50 ice-cream from a bicycle cart beside the Sim Lim Tower. As selling ice-cream is his only source of income, the videos prompted overwhelming support from citizens throughout Singapore.

Ever since the touching story of Mr Ng went viral, many viewers offered to help Mr Ng live a better life. One of them was Andre Chiang, owner of recently closed-down Michelin Starred restaurant, Restaurant Andre. He created an ice-cream sandwich dessert as a tribute to Mr Ng. For every ice-cream he sold at his restaurant, he would donate $5 to Mr Ng.

Plight Of The Tissue Peddlers

I had earlier posted about the PRC man begging (updates below). Curiously, the day after, I met an old lady selling tissue paper outside POMO. I spoke to her at length. She was reluctant to share her personal info but I managed to glean out some. She was going to turn 82 soon. She claimed that both her children didn't give her much hence her need to come out to sell things. She sounded scared to share details even after I assured her of our help because she seemed fearful of her daughter who she claimed had locked her out before. She later said that she was in not too bad a state and only came out to sell occasionally. She also added that she was selling to help someone.

She seemed in good condition and I couldn't determine if she was in financial distress...but at 82 and needing to do this? And with the fragments she shared...I was concerned at her well being from her children.

I asked the authorities to follow up and they found her there after visiting POMO twice. They got more details from her. The assessment is that she doesn't need immediate help but she knows who to follow up with if she does.

Original Alhambra Satay: The Last Survivor Of Singapore’s Historical Satay Club

The year is 1962. You’ve just seen a Technicolor film at the Alhambra theatre. You find yourself walking along the bustling Beach Road, where a band of food vendors have set up shop. Most of them sell only one thing: satay. Before long, the noise and fumes from the adjacent bus terminal fade into the background. The scent of grilled meat hijacks your senses. Seated on a low wooden stool, you take a bite of a glistening, lightly charred satay. Life is good. I’ve never been to the historical Satay Club—I wasn’t yet born when its last true incarnation, the one at the Esplanade, was demolished in 1995. What I’ve just described was my own imagining of the place, cobbled together from stories I’ve heard from my older relatives. And though there were varying details in these stories, all of them had one throughline: 26 hawkers, coming together to offer affordable yet delicious satay in an open-air food centre. It was the precursor to the likes of our present day Lau Pa Sat Satay Street and Satay by the Bay. It was the stuff of legends, allowing satay to make an indelible mark on Singapore’s street food scene.

It saddens me that I will never experience the real Satay Club, but my research helped me discover a remnant of it: Original Alhambra Satay, its only surviving member. Located at Changi Road and Geylang Serai, Alhambra Satay is currently run by Saiful bin Haji Juwahir, 69, its second-generation owner who continues to make satay the traditional way. That means, unlike many of his competitors, Encik Saiful creates his satay without the use of machines—they are entirely handmade. The Satay Club and Alhambra benefitted one another. After screenings, cinemagoers would often walk down the street to have some satay with their friends, and those who were there for satay might be drawn to the larger-than-life allure of the movies. The third element of this equation, however, was troubling—being situated near a bus terminal meant that accidents occurred one too many times. And so in the mid-1950s, the Satay Club moved to a field between Dhoby Ghaut and Prinsep Street, before relocating for the final time to its Esplanade location in 1971. While there were several spin-offs after its dissolution in 1995, this would be the last true Satay Club with all 26 long-time members. The site where the Esplanade Satay Club once stood is now wholly unrecognisable. In its place, the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and the Nicoll Highway extension were built, depriving us of an iconic piece of cultural history.

After inheriting the stall from his father in 1980, Encik Saiful had to steer it through many tumultuous moments. There was the end of the Esplanade Satay Club, which forced him and the other 25 members to either retire or set up shop elsewhere, often with much higher rental costs. “After the Satay Club closed, I got offers from those who want to create similar concept—like the one at Clarke Quay. I rejected because the rental costs too expensive already,” Encik Saiful lamented. That Clarke Quay reboot closed its doors in 2005. Encik Saiful then oversaw several struggling ventures that couldn’t recapture the magic of the old stall at the Satay Club. It was only after the openings of his two current Alhambra Satay outlets that stability was finally brought to the business. But through it all, he remained steadfast in his belief that satay should be sculpted by hand.

The Forgotten Thieves Market 结霜桥

Located between Jalan Besar and Rochor Canal Road, the flea market at Sungei Road is Singapore’s largest and oldest flea market. While the exact origin of the flea market remains unclear, historical records have shown that the flea market began as a small trading spot that sprouted along the river during the mid 1930s.

In the past, the flea market operated between 3.00pm to 6.00pm and its operating hours could have resulted in its nickname "Robinson Petang" or "Robinson in the afternoon". The nickname was probably a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Robinson Department Store which catered to the more well-to-do in Singapore.

During the Japanese Occupation (1942 – 1945), the flea market at Sungei Road was very popular as many locals (especially the poor) would flock to the market to purchase cheap household items and other merchandise which were often in short supply.

Sungei Road Thieves’ Market to shut for good

Bargain-hunters who enjoy shopping at the oldest & largest flea market here, popularly known as Thieves’ Market, will have until July 10 to do so.

Located between Jalan Besar & Rochor Canal Road, the flea market, which has been a venue where sellers have peddled 2nd-hand bric-a-brac since the 1930s, will shut for good on that day, with the site being needed for ground preparation works for future residential development use, a multi-agency statement said on Tuesday (Feb 14).

A unique hawking zone with a colourful, decades-long history, including a reputation as a spot for trading stolen, smuggled & illegal wares, Thieves’ Market had, in 2011, been shrunk in half to make way for the construction of the new Sungei Road MRT Station.

The Karung Guni 'Rag & Bone' men

At a flea market in Woodlands, vendors struggled to sell their wares over the Chinese New Year holiday as a relentless downpour dampened spirits and kept customers away. For these vendors, who are traditional scrap dealers – better known as karung guni men – a dwindling customer base, low profits and waning interest are increasingly affecting their declining trade.

The Market Gaia Guni at Woodlands Industrial Park, which houses 15 stalls, is only open on weekends and public holidays. The vendors collect used items including clothes, electronics, and antiques on weekdays and resell them when the market is open. While the market saw sizable crowds during previous Chinese New Years and some other holidays, peddlers said overall profits are meagre. “For those eight days a month (that our stalls are open), we make around S$1,000. After paying rent, I earn about S$600 to S$800,” said an elderly dealer who has been working in the trade for more than 40 years. “For the other days that I’m not here, I work elsewhere. No choice because on weekdays nobody comes here. Some vendors don’t get much business at all and it’s not worth it for them to set up shop here so they (leave the trade),” he added.

“Karung guni” means “gunny sack” in Malay, which in the past was hauled on the backs of local rag-and-bone men as they visited homes door-to-door while sounding their horns. They traditionally collected old newspapers, used clothing, discarded electrical appliances and other unwanted items that can be resold. Today, due to the gruelling physical work and low payoffs, many of these scrap dealers have given up on the industry. Some vendors staying on in the trade said they are too old to change jobs. “I’m already old, I don’t want to change jobs. Business is not great but I’m getting by,” said another stall owner at the Woodlands market, who earns a few hundred dollars a month. “But a lot of my colleagues have changed jobs, because they can’t do physical work anymore,” he added. Shrinking interest in buying used items among Singaporeans continues to remain a challenge, said vendors at the Sungei Road Green Hub, where shops offer an immense selection of secondhand ware such as clocks, sculptures, bicycle helmets and other knick-knacks. These karung guni men are hoping that younger Singaporeans can jazz up the trade and revive the industry. “Our trade is getting smaller and smaller,” said a stall owner. “We hope that this culture can continue but it now depends on the younger generation to use new ideas. It’s not up to us.”

The 'Tok-Tok Mee' man

In the old days, Mr. Lai Quoquan aka ‘Tok Tok Man’ would walk the streets for 14 hours daily; serving up delicious noodles to hungry Singaporeans who answered his melodious rapping. Now watch him take a walk down memory lane with Jiahui, as he dishes out first-hand insights on how we used to eat, way back then!

Here's the sound of the Tok Tok man, bringer of good noodles

If you grew up in the Internet generation, chances are you would have never heard of the Tok Tok Man. Roving noodle hawkers used to play a bamboo instrument to alert customers of their presence. This was back when a bowl of fishball noodles cost 20 cents.

This bamboo instrument emitted a very distinctive 'tok tok' sound - hence, giving the Tok Tok Man his name. There was a different rhythm depending on what type of noodles the Tok Tok Man was selling that day. Wanton noodles had a straight beat while fishball noodles had a more staccato sound, alternating between high and low pitch.

t was a simple way of life. Customers used a basket to collect the noodles, as well as make payment to the Tok Tok man on the street. If you're interested to know more about the Tok Tok Man, these Youtube videos here and here feature their stories. You can also hear a short clip of the Tok Tok rhythm in the video below.

Fatty’s Wanton Mee: Remember the tok tok mee man?

Do you all remember the ice cream man who would go around the neighbourhood ringing his bell? “Cling cling, cling cling ……”

Everyone will know the ice cream man was around and us kids will start clamouring for ice cream.  But what is a housewife to do when you live in a flat with three young boys and no helper?  The solution was to call out to the ice cream man, place your order and lower a basket with some coins to exchange for some ice cream!  I never knew that the basket trick would work for bowls of noodles as well!

From what I gather, this was a common practice in the good old days and if you are talking about the Joo Chiat area, I know of at least two wanton mee stalls which started out as tok-tok mee.  One was Eng’s and the other was Ang Moh wanton mee.  It was called “tok-tok” mee because the hawker would announce his presence by knocking on a bamboo slab with a stick!  Interestingly, (see video) different types of noodles even have their own distinct rhythms!

Buskers, TissuePaper Peddlers, & StreetWalkers

Mobile peddlers selling packets of tissue paper on the streets are unlicensed hawkers, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) in response to a letter posted on a website that these peddlers are charged a S$120 licence fee.

“Although technically in breach of the laws against itinerant hawking, those peddlers who are needy are referred to the relevant agencies by the NEA for appropriate assistance,” the agency said on its Facebook page on Tuesday.

In a letter posted on the socio-political website The Real Singapore, the writer had questioned the need for street hawkers to pay S$120 to get a licence following his encounter with a visually-impaired man who sells tissue paper for extra income.

Singapore's tissue paper peddlers

The tissue paper vendor - a ubiquitous sight in the Singapore landscape - but how many of us actually understand their personal situation?

RazorTV spoke with two tissue paper peddlers, to find out how they became tissue peddlers.

Catch this and more on www.razortv.com.sg


What happens if you stop brushing your teeth?

Not brushing your teeth could be a deadly mistake!
Not brushing your teeth could be a deadly mistake!

We're all familiar with that moment when we’re drifting towards sleep on the couch and can barely muster the energy to drag ourselves to bed.

It’s so tempting to walk straight past the bathroom and dive between the sheets. But what happens to our teeth if we skip that nighttime brush every now and again? And on that note, what happens if we stop brushing them at all?

Click through the following gallery to find out why it's essential to brush daily, and the horrible consequences you'll eventually have to deal with if you quit cleaning your teeth altogether.


What Is Estate Planning?

Estate planning involves much more than just creating a will

Estate planning is planning for what you want to happen to you and your assets at the end of your life. Many people think that estate planning just means preparing a will, but this type of planning actually covers much more.

You need to decide who will manage your assets and medical care if you lose the capacity to make these decisions, plus what type of medical care you will consent to. Deciding what kind of life insurance you need is also essential. You need to consider whether to build a trust, which is a legal agreement specifying how the assets in the trust will be distributed. A trust also designates a person, called the trustee, who will manage the distribution.

Here are 8 steps to creating an estate plan:
  • Make your medical decisions - This includes deciding when and if you will move into a nursing home, how much and what kind of care you wish to receive, and who can make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated.
  • Choose a trusted person - You'll need to choose the person, known as a healthcare proxy, who will make medical decisions if you're unable to do so.
  • Update your paperwork - Make sure the beneficiaries on any life insurance policies and retirement accounts are updated.
  • Value your assets - Put together a personal balance sheet that includes real estate, stock, bank balances, vehicles, collectibles, and all liabilities.
  • Decide how the assets will be divided - Unless you set up an irrevocable trust, these decisions can be changed.
  • Make a succession plan for your business - If you own and run a business, you probably have an idea how difficult it would be to adjust operations if you weren't there.
  • Engage an attorney - No matter what size your estate is, you'll benefit from working with a professional.
  • Decide what type of life insurance and long-term care insurance you need - Life insurance will support your dependents, and long-term care insurance can save your assets from being used to reimburse Medicaid.


Why women feel pressured to shave?

Update 28 Sep 2023: To shave or not to shave
Women are embracing their power by refusing to remove body hair, turning it into a catalyst for revolution, activism, and social progress

Women around the world have expressed the benefits of not having to shave or wax during the pandemic. This task is often painful, expensive, uncomfortable, and time-consuming. However, societal pressures have led many women to believe that shaving is a choice they must make. In reality, these so-called choices have been influenced by decades of social expectations.

Although many women begin hair removal at a young age, only a few understand the origins and reasons behind this trend. Throughout history, body hair has played a significant role in shaping gender roles, delineating social classes, defining femininity, and exerting control over women through shame. However, these notions are now undergoing transformation.

This article, based on information from CNN, explores the origins of hair removal, its proliferation, and the challenges it faces today. It sheds light on how societal expectations have influenced women's grooming habits and the current movement towards questioning and challenging these norms.

Why women feel pressured to shave?

Type "When did women start..." into Google and one of the top autocomplete suggestions to pop up is, "When did women start shaving?" The answer goes back centuries. Hair removal -- or otherwise -- has long shaped gender dynamics, served as a signifier of class and defined notions of femininity and the "ideal body."

However, in its most recent evolution, body hair is being embraced by a growing number of young women who are turning a source of societal shame and turning it into a sign of personal strength. The rise of gender fluidity, the body-positivity movement and the beauty sector's growing inclusiveness have all contributed to the new wave of hirsuteness.

"It's been deeply stigmatized -- it still is -- and cast with shame," said Heather Widdows, professor of global ethics at the UK's University of Birmingham and author of "Perfect Me: Beauty as an Ethical Ideal," in a phone interview. "Its removal is one of the few aesthetic traditions that have gone from being a beauty routine to a hygienic one. "Today, most women feel like they have to shave. Like they have no other option. There's something deeply fraught about that -- though perceptions are slowly changing."

Hold your razor and go Au Naturale

We might not be used to seeing it, but armpit hair does have a purpose and many millennial women are down for letting it do its thing.

According to research agency Mintel, between 2013 and 2016, 18 per cent of women between the ages of 16 and 24 stopped removing their armpit hair and 7 per cent stopped shaving their legs.

And the proof is in the sales. Between 2015 and 2016, sales in the hair removal industry have dropped at least five per cent, The New York Times reports.

Preserve Your Aurat’s Honour

In the fight against domestic violence and gender inequality, Chinese feminists have opened up a new battlefront: Their armpits.

They ask, why should women have to shave their pits when men are never expected to? To subvert the double standard, feminist Xiao Meili, 25, started an armpit hair photo contest on Chinese social network Weibo.

Dozens of women have participated, including three of the five feminists briefly arrested in March over a protest for gender equality. The participants sent in selfies and glamor shots with their arms proudly raised, revealing natural hair underneath.

Nivea gets flak for stigmatising women with dark Armpits

Women’s rights group AWARE Singapore has slammed Nivea for its latest ad.

The three minute ad depicts the perils of a modern day woman who was caught in awkward social situations due to her dark underarms. The ad has been shared over 383 times since it was posted on 28 February on Facebook and caught the attention of AWARE yesterday following a number of consumers slamming the brand for the ad.

“Apparently having the ‘wrong’ colour of armpit makes you unfit to interact with other human beings. This is supposedly humour – but is promoting shame and insecurity about our bodies a laughing matter?” said AWARE in its Facebook page.

When did women start wearing pants?

In some cultures, pants have been common garments worn by women for centuries or millennia. This was not the case in much of Western society. In the United States, women typically wore long skirts, with the exception of some women who wore pantslike garments to perform work or engage in sports. While there were some women who championed pants in the 19th century, pants as an acceptable everyday clothing option for women didn’t truly catch on until the mid-20th century.

The adoption of pants as a popular item of dress for women in Western society traces its roots to the mid-19th-century dress-reform movement. Although there were women of this time who were already wearing pantslike clothing if they were engaged in physical exercise or household work, the garments were typically worn out of the public eye. Most women usually wore long skirts that felt heavy, looked bulky, and limited their range of motion. Some women, embracing the concept of “rational dress,” wanted the option to wear pants in public. Some wanted it for purely practical reasons, such as for comfort and ease of movement. For others, the freedom to wear pants was tied to the women’s rights movement, a radical and controversial crusade at the time.

In the United States, Elizabeth Smith Miller designed an early version of pants like clothing for women around 1851. It consisted of a skirt extending below the knees and loose “Turkish” trousers that gathered at the ankles, and it was worn with a short jacket on top. Known as “bloomers,” this garment took its name from an early advocate of Miller’s design, Amelia Jenks Bloomer. Other early supporters of pants for women were physician and reformer Mary Edwards Walker and suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Despite enjoying popularity in some circles, bloomers generated much controversy. Their everyday use faded away after a few years, and pants for women were again relegated to a limited range of activities, such as exercise or chores, or were worn in private.


Forest City in Malaysia

Forest City: A Prime Model Of Future Cities

Forest City is the enterprise of Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between Country Garden Group and the Malaysian-government-backend Esplanade Danga 88 Sdn Bhd (EDSB)

Compromising four man-made islands spanning 30km2, the newly-built Forest City will be a smart and green futuristic city that combines environment, technology and cutting-edge technology to create an ideal, idyllic and technology-driven living and working space ecosystem. This is a unique opportunity to be part of this dynamism.

As a group of four man-made islands, Forest CIty is first and foremost, visually distinct from the other developments and townships in Iskandar. It also distinguishes itself in other ways; in building Forest City as independent islands from the ground up, Country Garden Pacificview has the freedom to create an urban landscape and key elements that foster an ideal living environment. These unique features will also enhance the security and privacy of Forest City.

Forest City, Johor

Forest City is an integrated residential development and private town located in Iskandar Puteri, Johor, Malaysia on a land 1,370 hectares wide. First announced in 2006 as a twenty-year project, the project was pitched under China's Belt and Road Initiative.

It was officiated by then-Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak in 2016, with the approval of the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Ismail. Forest City is a joint venture between Esplanade Danga 88, an affiliate of state government subsidiary Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ), through a joint venture, Country Garden Holding Ltd (CGPV), with CGPV holding 60 percent of shares, while KPRJ holds the other 40 percent. Forest City is under the management of the Iskandar Puteri City Council and the Iskandar Regional Development Authority. The development of Forest City is contentious. The project was largely not targeted at local Malaysians but rather at upper-middle-class citizens from China who were looking to park their wealth abroad, by offering relatively affordable seafront properties compared to expensive coastal cities within their country such as Shanghai. However, initial strong sales from China collapsed after its leader Xi Jinping implemented currency controls, including a $50,000 annual cap on how much buyers could spend outside the country. Such lackluster sales were exacerbated by the 2020–2022 Malaysian political crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, with the project now being described as a "ghost town". The project, which is located on reclaimed land, has also been criticised for causing large amounts of habitat destruction in the vicinity

Despite being marketed as "an energy-efficient, ecologically sensitive, land-conserving, low-polluting offshore city", the development has had significant negative environmental impact, with irreversible damage due to reclamation of ecologically sensitive coastal wetlands. The area within which Forest City lies is protected as an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) Rank 1 area, where no development is allowed except for low-impact nature tourism, research and education. Chief to this designation are two areas of international ecological significance, the Tanjung Kupang intertidal seagrass meadow, the largest of its kind in Malaysia, and the Pulai River Mangrove Forest Reserve, designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. Reclamation began in January 2014 without the legally required Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA). Residents from Kampung Tanjung Kupang, a traditional fishing village, complained of reduced catches and other issues to the local and Johor State authorities to no avail.


The magic of Chinese tea

In the eyes of the Chinese, tea-making is a tradition, a philosophy, a way of life. 

China's traditional tea-making has been added to the intangible cultural heritage list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Xinhua's Liu Chang speaks to tea experts to unveil what's unique about the "magic leaves."


Teochew Muay 潮 州 糜 in 1950s

Teochew Muay- a Vanishing Act
She is all of 82 and still going strong in the Maxwell kitchen

We stroll so casually around a food centre and eat whatever we feel like, as if it will forever fall down from food heaven to please us and take for granted. But on closer inspection, realisation and with a stark admission, I predict more than a few dishes will fade into oblivion or go the way of the robotic kitchen factories in the near future. This occasional series will touch on some of such dishes and I detail the harsh realities behind their fade. I sound out, in this new year, the eventual demise of artisanal made-with-love and well-loved humble Teochew Muay.

Whether they offer a dozen or 50 plus iconic and culturally correct items does not matter today. The worrisome fact (if you love this comforting porridge meal) is, no one in the horizon in coming on board to carry on the mantle of the old Teochew masters of this game. Seriously, to put out on average 20 items on brightly lit bain marie food warmers, is not an easy feat. Even if the dishes look simple (the hallmark of Teochew muay dishes) it is hard work and curating the menu is an art in itself. There’s nothing creative and every Teochew muay lover know exactly what they want and expect. I don’t see new faces in this space nor are there decent local makan academies churning them out. It is easier to learn French food than local makan here. I cite two of my favorite, soon to fade Teochew Muay spots.

The little old lady manning the wok, who churns out at least 15 dishes, ready by 11am each day they open, is a phenomena. The matriarch of this Seah family is already 82 and hunches over the wok, singlehandedly to get some comfortingly simple dishes out. Her braised ter ka, has the correct doneness and the “fattier” verision comes with skin, fat and collagen that lovingly withers in the mouth. Her fried leeks is intentionally wok charred at some edges as the bitter sweet umami sensation it delivers is so adorable with the porridge. Her traditional shark meat with chili taucheo is a must-order item. Even the taupok is braised till soft and gives in to the soy stock and absorbs all those goodness. When she retires, no one will continue as her son who mans the counter, does not cook.

Serving up the most comforting Teochew porridge in town

I was shuffling about the very busy lunch hour crowd looking for another stall to try and feature when I stumbled upon a Teochew muay (Teochew porridge) legend. Amid the fancy donburi bowls, truffles and bespoke noodles, roasted almond lattes and fancy millennial chow Amoy Street Food Centre is known for, Teo Heng Teochew Porridge still holds its own.

Mr Teo Heng started in a coffee shop in Chulia Street, and has relocated around the Central Business District where he continues running the stall to this day. It is a 65-year-old icon, but I feel this uber comforting meal is slowly fading into oblivion for so many reasons.

For starters, cooking more than a dozen items is not something the new generation of hawkers or cooks are capable of these days. Because they are so iconic and embedded in our makan ecology, the dishes have to meet the high standards of even the casual Teochew muay fan.

Singapore hawker dishes: Teochew porridge

Teochew porridge or ‘muay’ is so healthy that it doesn’t seem like a typical hawker dish — in fact, it’s likely as close as one will get to home-cooked food outside your home. Pretty much every food court or hawker centre in Singapore will have an ‘economy rice’ stall — a smorgasbord of meats, fish and vegetable dishes to go with a serving of rice, but not all offer porridge. The ones that do usually come with lots of healthy, steamed dishes to combine with the simple porridge.

What differentiates Teochew porridge from the regular economy rice? The latter usually comes with rich tasting dishes, such as curry chicken and braised meats with heavy gravies, which go well with dry rice and are very filling. Porridge Teochew-style is usually very watery and light, so it goes well with steamed, dry dishes that are cooked simply to bring out the best in the fresh ingredients. The dishes are often very salty or fermented to make up for the blandness of porridge — think salty mustard greens, salted egg, salted fried anchovies and pickles.

Protein options usually involve steaming — steamed squid, fish, tofu and fishcake are some typical finds, and these can help balance out the salt from the other preserved side dishes. Beyond the pickled ones, vegetable dishes of the leafy green variety are not commonly found. Good Teochew porridge stalls are popular in the mornings for breakfast, and the meal, by hawker stall standards, does not come cheap. If one chooses premium ingredients like seafood, which is usually very fresh given that there is no gravy to mask it, a Teochew porridge meal can cost upward of S$20 for two people. Some stalls even offer crayfish and crab (you guessed it, steamed).

10 Best Teochew Porridge 潮 洲 粥 Stalls in Singapore You Have to Hunt Down Now

Teochew porridge, also known in colloquial dialect as ‘Teochew Mui’ 糜 to foreigners is a really strange and peculiar dish to say the least as it is nothing like the mushy rice porridge or al dente risotto in any shape or form. Neither is it gooey like the typical Asian congee. So what exactly is it?

Teochew porridge is quite simply cooked rice grains swimming in a soupy broth (might be flavoured or plain) and consumed with a selection of Chinese side dishes like nasi padang. It refers more to a style of serving rather than a particular dish. Typical items a Teochew porridge stall will have include fried or steamed fish, minced pork meat, braised duck, pork intestines, eggs, boiled vegetables, fish cake, squid, tofu or tau pok and many more.  A popular breakfast as well as supper option amongst Singaporeans, Teochew porridge is comforting and delicious.

Here’s my list of the 10 places you should go for the best Teochew porridge around the island:
  • Joo Seng Teochew Porridge & Rice
  • Joo Chiat Teochew Porridge (formerly Teck Teochew Porridge)
  • Choon Seng Teochew Porridge
  • Curry Rice & Porridge (咖 喱 饭 粥)
  • Soon Soon Teochew Porridge
  • Ah Seah Teochew Porridge
  • Ye Shang Hai Teochew Porridge
  • Soon Kee Teochew Porridge
  • Lim Joo Hin Eating House
  • Heng Long Teochew Porridge

Best Teochew Porridge In Singapore

Whether you are a local or just visiting Singapore, there is one dish that everyone has to try at least once and that is Teochew Porridge. However, like with most dishes, every place has their own unique recipe and flavor. So it is important that you can find a restaurant that serves a porridge that your taste buds will not forget. But where should you go to try this distinctive dish? To make your life easier, we narrowed down the almost endless restaurants and stalls that serve Teochew Porridge down to the 10 best of the best. Regardless of which restaurant you choose on this list, we know that you will go home satisfied.

But before we begin with this list, what even is Teochew Porridge? It’s a soup or broth dish that is usually accompanied by a variety of other dishes that allow you to mix and combine flavors to your liking. Common ingredients include fish eggs, meat, vegetables, and rice. This dish originated in Chaozhou, China but made popular in places such as Singapore and Malaysia.

So let’s jump into this list:
  • Joo Seng Teochew Porridge & Rice
  • Choon Seng Teochew Porridge
  • Ah Seah Teochew Porridge
  • Heng Long Teochew Porridge Rice
  • House of Teochew
  • Soon Soon Teochew Porridge
  • Lim Joo Hin Eating House
  • Soon Kee Teochew Porridge
  • Ye Shang Hai Teochew Porridge
  • Curry Rice & Porridge (咖喱饭粥)

12 Teochew Porridge Spots In Singapore Including 24 Hour Stalls

Dim sum supper joints are great for an array of nibbles in baskets, but Teochew muay (porridge) are for times you and your kakis need a feast. Gulp down hot porridge with a mouthful of salty tau kee for warmth and comfort. Here’s a list of the best Teochew porridge supper places for a banquet to feel like a king while keeping your wallet intact!

Teochew Porridge Side Dishes & Rice 裕 成 潮 州 糜 饭 店

潮 州 糜 (Teochew Muay) or Teochew Rice Gruel is rice porridge that is not entirely broken down like the creamy smooth rich tasting Cantonese congee (明 火 白 粥) .

糜 (Muay – Teochew word) is very different from 粥 (Jook – Cantonese word for slow simmered rice porridge). Muay is basically whole rice grains fast boiled with lots of water (not stock) and we do not eat this with Youtiao (stir fried dough strips a.k.a. as You Char Kueh). The water and rice ratio can be anything starting from 3:1 adding more water along the cooking process if you wish but once the rice is split at both ends, the cooking stops. It is also not advisable to cover the pot while cooking as it renders the rice gruel starchy and mushy.

Traditionally, grainy Teochew Muay is cooked in huge clay urns. In local terms, Muay is the porridge itself and Teochew Muay means the meal. It’s been a long time since I had Teochew style Muay and last Friday (Saturday morning actually), my macro kakis and I went for supper at this 10-year-old shop after a gruelling (no pun intended) session in a tunnel full of geckos! There are as many as 30 plus dishes to choose from.

10 Finest Teochew Gruel in Singapore

Teochew Gruel 潮 州 糜 or ‘Teochew Muay or Mui‘ is a kind of rice soup comparable to the Chinese congee however in a non-mushy and also non-gooey means. Contrasted to the Cantonese-style congee, it has a waterier appearance.

The rice grains are typically steamed and also softened in water, and also continue to be entire and also not in a starchy state. It is a preferred kind of rice soup that came from Chaozhou– a location abundant in fish and shellfish and also frequently consumed with numerous tiny plates of salted enhancement. As Teochew food is understood for its fish and shellfish and also vegan recipes, the gruel is normally coupled with steamed or steamed fish, shellfish, shellfish, kiam chai (salty veggies), chai por (maintained radish), and also several others.

Most effective Teochew gruel in Singapore:
  • Choon Seng Teochew Gruel
  • Heng Long Teochew Gruel
  • Tian Tian Fatt Teochew Gruel
  • Joo Seng Teochew Gruel
  • Zai Shun Curry Fish Head
  • Ye Lai Xiang Teochew Gruel 夜 来 香 潮 州 粥
  • Teo Heng Teochew Gruel
  • Kheng Nan Lee Consuming Home
  • Quickly Quickly Teochew Gruel Dining Establishment 顺 顺 潮 州 粥
  • Ah Seah Consuming Home

“I’m Very Tired”: Ah Seah Teochew Porridge’s Owner Closes Popular Stall Shocking Regulars

Most people hope to knock off at 6pm, but a typical work day for Carol Lee starts from 6am and ends after midnight, six days a week. The 55-year-old is the second-gen owner of Ah Seah Teochew Porridge in Hougang, which her parents founded in 1955.

The old-school joint is popular for its Teochew muay with a myriad of side dishes like braised intestines, steamed fish and stewed chicken feet. It also has a long list of celeb fans like Pierre Png, Xiang Yun, Edmund Chen, Zheng Geping and Terence Cao. “Andy Lau came by a few times, many years ago when my shop was still [at the old location] across the road,” Carol shares. So it came as a shock to Carol's regulars when she announced that she was closing her longtime business for good. The eatery’s last day of operation is on June 19, 2022, just before its lease expires on June 30.

Speaking to 8days.sg, Carol says the main reason for the closure is manpower shortage, which took a toll on her and her family members who are helping her to run the eatery. “I’m very tired. It’s seriously very tiring. It’s a busy job,” she tells us wearily. Due to the local manpower quota, Carol struggled with hiring staff. “In the future manpower is going to be an issue. Youngsters don’t want [the job] and the elderly can’t cope. It’s not a glamourous job. In the future it’s quite difficult to be in this line. This is labour-intensive work, you cannot do everything on your own,” she shares. It was a further blow to her when "two aunties” working at her shop resigned. “They said they cannot manage ’cos they are too old,” Carol says. “One of them, her back was bent almost 45 degrees after two years of working. One day she said she cannot already and wanted to leave, so I had to let her go. The other auntie’s husband had a heart attack, so she had to go look after him.”

Ah Seah Teochew Porridge at Kovan closed down on June 19, 2022 after 58 years

Institution and eatery Ah Seah Teochew Porridge closed down on Sunday, June 19, 2022, having been in operation for 58 years. News of its pending closure was put up on Facebook on May 26. No reasons were given.

The announcement thanked its customers who have patronised the business over the years. However, the notice ended with a note on the possibility the eatery will make a comeback. It read: "We look forward to the day that we may serve you again." Ah Seah Teochew Porridge has been described as a family-run business that serves Teochew porridge.

Its founder set up his first stall in the former Lim Tua Tow market in 1964. Over the years, the business relocated several times before settling in its premise at Teck Chye Terrace. The second generation of the family has taken over the business. Teochew porridge is a well-loved staple in the Teochew enclave of Hougang. Its staple dishes include stir-fried vegetables, braised meats, and steamed fish, besides the well-loved classic fares such as salted egg and preserved vegetables.


Ah Seah Teochew Porridge, a popular Teochew Porridge eatery at Teck Chye Terrace (near Serangoon and Kovan), closed on 19 June 2022. The founder, Ah Seah, first started his Teochew porridge stall at the now-defunct Lim Tua Tow market in the 1950s and they relocated several times over the years before settling at the current location at Teck Chye Terrace for the past 11 years.

Other than Ah Seah Teochew Porridge, there are also several eateries located along Tech Chye Terrace and they include 8 degrees Taiwanese cafe, Yaowarat Seafood, Jangsu Korean BBQ Restaurant and Amika Cafe. Ah Seah Teochew Porridge offers more than 50 variety of dishes, including braised dishes, stir-fried vegetables and steamed fish. The signature dishes include minced pork, handmade fish cake, and stingray. 

It is such a shame that a traditional Teochew porridge eatery is closing down and we hope that they will consider to make a comeback in the near future. Meanwhile, you have until 19 June 2022 to try their popular Teochew porridge.

Ah Seah Teochew Porridge

Ah Seah Teochew Porridge is a family-run business that has been serving Teochew porridge, a well-loved staple in the Teochew enclave of Hougang, since the 1960s. The founder set up his first stall in the former Lim Tua Tow market in 1964. Over the years, the business relocated several times before settling in its current premise at Teck Chye Terrace. Today, the second generation of the family has taken over the business.

From National Monuments to memories of diverse communities who call Hougang home, these three thematic trails are designed to bring you on a journey of discovery. Explore Hougang beyond its modern housing estates, trace its stories through its built heritage, and get to know how it transformed from kampongs into the suburb it is today.

Teochew Congee rice Porridge
Authentic Teochew Porridge That Even Grandma Would Approve of

The humble bowl of porridge Teochew Muay 糜 (蘪) and its accoutrements sit unassumingly on the table, akin to an earnest, honest everyday salary man that usually blends into the background and goes unnoticed. However, at “ChaoZhou Porridge”, porridge takes on a new life. It assumes a starring role. It is the pièce de résistance, perfected over 10 years of dedicated study.

ChaoZhou Porriage’s head chef devoted a decade of his life to teasing out every secret and nuance of its preparation. He pursued this consuming passion to the very source itself, seeking out various Teochew chefs in Chaoshan, China to learn from. On his travels, he picked up authentic recipes and honed his technique. Preparing the large spread of dishes requires consummate skill in all styles of cooking, from braising to steaming to deep frying.  Now, back to Singapore, one can join him and discover the simple pleasure of tucking into a bowl of porridge and its accompanying assortment of tasty dishes.

The main course items are:
  • Steamed Minced Meat with Salted Fish Set
  • Fragrant Minced Meat Set
  • Braised Delights Set
  • Braided Duck Set
The side dishes are:
  • Preserved Radish Omelette
  • Stir Fried Broccoli
  • Stir Fried Pumpkin with Preserved Radish
  • Stir Fried Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetable
  • Fried Vermicelli with Cabbage and Golden Mushroom
  • Braised Tau Pok
  • Beancurd Fried Garlic
  • Stir Fried Long Bean with Preserved Radish

Teochew porridge (Chinese: 潮州糜)

A Teochew rice porridge dish is often accompanied with various small plates of side dishes. Teochew porridge is served as a banquet of meats, fish egg, and vegetables that is eaten with plain rice porridge. It may be simply prepared plain (i.e. without toppings), or include sweet potatoes. The rice grains, while softened from cooking, are still whole and not in an overly starchy state. Because the porridge is served plain, it is suitable to accompany salty side dishes. The recipe originated in Chaozhou and was later modified by early immigrants prepared in Malaysia and Singapore over the generations to suit local tastes.

In Singapore, Teochew-style porridge is usually consumed with a selection of Singaporean Chinese side dishes like nasi Padang. There is no fixed list of side dishes, but in Singapore, accompaniments typically include lor bak (braised pork), steamed fish, stir-fried water spinach (kangkong goreng), salted egg, fish cake, tofu, omelet, minced meat, braised tau kway, Hei Bee Hiang (fried chili shrimp paste), and vegetables. Teochew porridge dishes emphasize simplicity and originality, and every dish is cooked with minimum seasoning to retain its original taste. Teochew is famous for steamed fish, which is usually only seasoned with light sauce, spring onion, slices of ginger and a sprinkle of freshly crushed red pepper, so that the freshness and sweetness of the seafood can be fully appreciated.

Teochew porridge is considered a comfort food that can be eaten for both breakfast as well as supper. Singapore Airlines has since 2016 introduced Teochew cuisine on board its flights, which includes Teochew porridge.