[Kuala Lumpur] Teochew porridge at Jalan Sultan

This four decade-old spot in a back alley off Jalan Sultan in KL’s Chinatown is unmissable. Its seating are rickety tables set up haphazardly along the sidewalks. Come early evening, and KL Chinatown’s denizens (those in-the-know) converge upon this perhaps last Teochew porridge spot which still offers an authentic spread of traditional Teochew home-cooked dishes.

The Chow Brothers who run the place are friendly and extremely loquacious - they are Teochew, but through to their KL pedigree, banter in Cantonese with KL’s largely Cantonese-Chinese populace who form their main clientele. They are very entertaining, provided you’re a Cantonese speaker. But they get by with rudimentary English as well, so language is certainly not a barrier here.

Incredible choice of hot, freshly-cooked dishes to order to accompany your bowl of steamed white rice or porridge.

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Thanks Peter. Is teochew porridge like this in places like Shantou? I looked up this type of porridge and it says it originated from Singapore.

The only type of teochew porridge that I tried is the oyster porridge, which is a lot more brothy/ watery vs the porridge in your picture, and flavored as well. Is the porridge in this case plain, with the taste comes from the side dishes, like how the Taiwanese eats their porridge?

Which side dishes did you like from this stall?

This is more like home-cooking - plain rice porridge, served with a variety of side-dishes. The Teochews will eat this at home.

I guess, as Teochew migrants came to work in early Singapore during the 19th-century - most of them single men, leaving their families behind in China - eateries such as this one sprung up to cater to this transient, migrant workforce.

This stall particularly does lightly cooked fish in brown bean (“taucheo”) sauce pretty well. The other dishes are all lightly cooked, the way the Teochew palate prefers them to be. The advantage of a place with fast-moving, regular clientele is that everything on display gets sold out and replenished, or even replaced by new, different kinds of dishes regularly. I notice the womenfolk doing the cooking at their mobile kitchen in the back-lane. Dishes were not done in terribly large quantities, so they retain a “home-cooked” taste, rather than places with massive quantities of food churned out.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold