Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Supper at Geylang: Eminent Frog Porridge

While having dinner at J.B. Ah Meng Kitchen in Lor 23 Geylang, I asked my dinner companions - visitors from UK - if they know what else is well known in Geylang. I was hoping they said leggy walkers. But I got no reply from my straight-laced guests (quite liberal when it's poking fun of me). So I had to answer my own question. I told it was claypot frog legs. To be exact, frog porridge (田鸡粥).

Sign board, Eminent Frog Porridge, Geylang, Singapore
Sign board at the corner of Geylang Rd and Lor 19
Upon hearing about it, having barely finished our dinner, my sis-in-law asked if we could go there. Sure, I said. Although I can't stomach the idea, I told myself it was only porridge. Just need to move my bowel a little bit lower to make room for my stomach. I know Qigong.

I told them I haven't tried it myself. I heard about Eminent (their reputation precedes them), but had no idea exactly where they locate.

I fired up my Android phone, and looked up the best frog porridge. We found top 5. Eminent tends to rank at the top and its address is 323 Geylang Rd, and locates at the corner of Lor 19.

Since we were having dinner at the corner of Lor 23 and Geylang Rd, that means it's only 2 streets away (all the odd numbered Lorongs are on one side of Geylang Rd while the even numbers on the other).

Well, if anything, it's too nearby. We needed to walk off our still lukewarm, 5% digested dinner to have frog porridge for supper.

Because of the many night owls, and nocturnal party animals cruising Geylang, porridge restaurants are therefore very popular and many in Geylang. There're probably more porridge eateries here than the rest of Singapore combined.

Geylang is a town that never sleeps (ok, sleeps in the morning). While Singapore's business, and especially eateries, tend to open late and close early, Geylang almost never sleeps. Probably because the blazing flickering red neon lights are too bright and distracting to let Geylang to shut its eyes...

Geylang works from 9 to 5, from 9 pm to 5 am. But she works overtime, most of the time and as hardworking as a Protestant.

Indeed, porridge (or congee) is very popular dish for Chinese as a supper because it's a very watery version of boiled / steamed rice. Because it's a light weight meal, it would kill a lot less bedbugs (just take more nightly toilet trips). Apparently, Chinese are very concerned about killing bedbugs. It must be their Buddhist belief.

2nd Eminent Frog Porridge shopfront

We finally arrived at Eminent, and realise that the distance between dinner and supper is a 2 city-block walk.

Like Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice in Maxwell Food Centre, because of its over-the-top popularity, Eminent establishment took over its neighbour to give the crowd more tables. Since Lor 19 is a short lane, the 2 Eminent shopfronts pretty much takes over the lane. You could say Eminent owns Lor 19.

As somebody who grew up in Vietnam, of course, frog dishes were something I was quite familiar with. Both Chinese and French (British called them froggies) enjoy eating frogs, and so how could somebody who live in Vietnam and had never tasted frogs?

Some people say frog tastes like chicken. Chinese call frog "field chicken" (田鸡). Well, I find these frogs much more supple, smooth, and tasty than chickens. Because the porridge is cooked in claypot, the burnt taste adds to its aromatic richness.

The customers here were more respectable, and no different from any other place. My sis-in-law had already forgotten her unique but nothing unusual Geylang experience. Food conquers all (for food lovers).

As we walked from Lor 19 towards Sims Way to catch a bus, we passed a few frog porridge restaurants. Here's one of them.

Lor 9 Forg Porridge, Geylang, Singapore
More frog porridge restaurant than you can poke a stick at

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