Cheap & Good

Sweet dessert soups that stand out

A great deal of the sweet soup you can buy now tastes anonymous. How do you distinguish between soups from different shops when most of them are similarly sugary and sticky?

You buy some perhaps because you need to wash your mouth with something nicer than the lunch you had, but you might forget it as soon as you sip it.

The sweet soups from Zheng Xin Mei Shi, a stall in Albert Centre that opens only three days a week, are not anonymous.

If you buy its green bean soup ($1.50) for a friend, he or she will ask you: “Who made this?”

That is because few shops make green bean soup so sweet-smelling, full-tasting and beguiling. The scent of Zheng Xing’s soup is from rue, a bitter leaf. The flavour is from coconut milk. Blobs of sago melt in the mouth, giving more texture to the soup.

The stall sells only four items, but each of them counts.

Besides the green bean soup, there is bubur terigu (wheat porridge, $1.50), bubur pulut hitam (black glutinous rice porridge, $1.60) and tau suan (skinned mung bean soup, $1.60). Thick but not gluey, all three have a great consistency.

The bubur pulut hitam has a distinctive ingredient, dried longan, which gives the porridge one more note of sweetness. The tau suan is as it should be. The mung beans are whole and firm, and the pieces of dough fritters taste fresh.

ZHENG XING MEI SHI 
01-64 Albert Centre, 270 Queen Street 
Open: About 9am to about 2pm, Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Closed on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
Rating: ***½