Cheap & Good

Deliciously plain congee at Yuhua Market & Hawker Centre's Lu Fang Zhou Pin

A stick of youtiao (left) completes the simple meal of congee.
A stick of youtiao (above) completes the simple meal of congee.ST PHOTO: EUNICE QUEK

It does not matter what kind of food guide is released. Foodies here know what their favourites are and stick to them.

While I enjoy delicious debates over which hawker stall or restaurant is better, they mainly just make me feel hungry. No food guide can steer me away from my favourite hawker fare, especially dishes I think of as comfort food.

One of the most under-rated dishes in the hawker scene is Singapore-style congee. For this, Lu Fang Zhou Pin at the Yuhua Market & Hawker Centre has been my go-to stall for many years.

Options include chicken; century egg and lean pork; liver; and peanut ($2.80 each, add 50 cents for an egg). Sliced fish congee costs $3.50. There are no frills, but the hearty portions make for a filling breakfast or lunch.

There is plenty of chicken in the porridge, even though it is shredded.

  • LU FANG ZHOU PIN

    Yuhua Market & Hawker Centre, Block 347 Jurong East Avenue 1, 01-206, open: 7.15am to 5pm or till sold out (Wednesday to Monday), closed on Tuesday

    Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The lean pork slices in the century egg option are tender and not rubbery. I only wish the century egg came in bigger pieces.

While many places rely on the ingredients to jazz up what would otherwise be a bland bowl of porridge, this congee is no less flavourful even when eaten plain. Spring onions, fried crispy shallots and pepper are added to the porridge, but even without them, it is still tasty.

The rice grains are cooked to the right consistency, not too thick or watery.

Just like how some places have a master stock to add depth to soup, Lu Fang Zhou Pin has a vat of "master congee". I notice that a small portion is added to the individual pots when I place my order and I believe that is the secret to the congee's smooth texture.

Nothing completes the meal better than a stick of youtiao (fried dough fritter) dunked into the congee. The youtiao is crisp and not too oily and, if you are lucky, you get one from a freshly fried batch.

The hawker centre is slated for repairs for two months from Oct 1, but it is a relief to know that Lu Fang Zhou Pin will return. I'd better eat my fill now.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 31, 2016, with the headline 'Deliciously plain congee'. Print Edition | Subscribe