Frogs, Eels & Porridge @ Porridge Hut Restaurant, IpohJuly 24, 2011 | 6,300 views
Plain Porridge with “Kung Pow” (Dried Chillies) Eel
It was with much irony, that I posted a question on the All About Ipoh page about where to go for good porridge in Ipoh, and later on that same evening, I discovered this new eatery named Porridge Hut Restaurant in Greentown.
Seemingly, they started distributing flyers since a week or so before. Appearing spanking new; with a décor not unlike the common kopitiam, the restaurant was crowded on several occasions.
Guess the dearth of good porridge (congee might be the other familiar word that you’re searching for) places in Ipoh, especially come nighttime started to take its toll on the many porridge lovers in town. Or are we so enticed by NEW outlets sprouting every now and then, that we’re drawn in to their allure like fireflies to the flame; however temporary the sensation may be?
A pot of porridge sufficient for four; at only RM5/USD1.70 each.
Porridge Hut’s modus operandi is simple, a throwback to the age-old tradition of no-menus, all-specials recommended by the waiter style. You can either order a pot (yes, the food here comes in a claypot) of plain porridge to go with the several dishes (or specialties, if you would), or you can opt for a pot of their signature frog porridge that comes together with the irresistible amphibians.
Wait, if you have never tried frog porridge, or frog’s meat for that matter, then you don’t realize what you have been missing. Firm, tender flesh not unlike a chicken’s thigh, yet with a smoother texture. Eating frogs (or bull frogs as some might call them) has been a common tradition in our family. When we were small, mum used to cook frog porridge, with live frogs sourced from the nearby morning market of Pasir Puteh, or at times mum would venture to the wet market beside Super Kinta.
A boiling cauldron of frogs cooked in ginger and spring onion, with ample quantity of gravy to add flavour to your bowl of plain porridge. (RM25.00/pot)
If you’re thinking that frogs can easily be caught and should cost no more than a quarter of a chicken, then you may be in for a shock. Frogs are prized for their elusive nature (usually caught from paddy farms/rice fields), and their supposedly health benefits.
It’s been years since we have had frogs at home though. And not many restaurants in Ipoh serve frogs which can be cooked in a variety of manners; but usually either ‘kung pow’ style (sweet and spicy) or ginger and spring onion.
Hot, spicy and extremely warming to the body, this pot of ‘kung pow’ eels (RM25.00/pot) should be relished on a cold night, preferably be seated on the outside with the breeze stroking your perspiring forehead.
Almost instantaneously, I was reminded of Geylang’s famous frog porridge in Singapore. The combination, the claypots and the sweaty beads forming on the neighbouring patron’s forehead.
However, to my surprise, the Geylang’s famed version was all hype. The ‘kung pow’ style of frogs in claypot was mediocre at best.
Porridge Hut‘s frogs and eels were served in different ways, as per recommended by the lady taking our orders. If you’re having the frogs cooked in ginger and spring onion, then go for the ‘kung pow’ style with the eels. Of course they have chicken in the menu too, but I doubt you’d go for that when frog is their specialty.
Bits of muscled frog legswith a fantastic texture, cooked until tender in the savoury sauce.
The pot of ‘kung pao’ eels arrived piping hot, almost scalding the tongue, hence be wary. The heat is contained in the claypot; a perfect heat insulator for the dish within. Very spicy, yet could not help myself from polishing the portion clean. The copious amount of gravy was a perfect complement to the bland porridge, thus you don’t need to put pepper and soy sauce for seasoning.
Blanched lettuce with oyster sauce to supplement the fibre of the meal, and the restaurant from the outside.
All in all, the meal was above average, and this comes from someone who does not like his porridge. Go read up on some of the porridge stories I conjured up from my Hong Kong trip, then you’ll see how picky I can be with my porridge.
But the porridge at Porridge Hut was cooked to such a velvety smooth consistency, you can barely see the grains broken within. Almost bordering on being a liquid gruel than the traditional Teo Chew style of rice submerged in water kind, the porridge mixes well with the gravy from either of the dishes we ordered.
You can see what they have on their menu if you’re seated on the inside, and you understand Chinese. But just ask and they will recommend you the dishes they’re good at.
Minor flaw? The service. As haphazard as it was, and rushed somewhat, I have faith that they can improve on this aspect sooner rather than later. They originated from Penang, though digging up their history was a chore in itself. They were just too busy running about than to attend to petty questions from this persistent and pesky customer.
Or maybe I’m used to being pampered with willing restaurateurs all along. Oh well, and yes … this place gets Motormouth’s nod of approval to some extent.
But rest assured that I would not stop searching for equal competitors on the Ipoh front. Oh hell no. There’s this story about a famous one on Jalan Laxamana that opens at night. But where exactly?
PORRIDGE HUT RESTAURANT (non-Halal)
No 15, Jalan Seenivasagam,
30450 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Tel No : 605-241 2277
Business hours : Mon-Sun; 11.30am – 1.00am.
*Opposite of Good Times Steamboat, and next to Hua Nam Kopitiam. Along the same side as Overseas Restaurant.