'Best thing I ate' is a series where we share the best things we have eaten around Singapore. Read more here.
WHAT: Rice porridge with meat and oysters ($12)
WHERE: Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine, ION Orchard #03-05, 2 Orchard Turn
We were seeking just a couple of simple comfort dishes to satisfy us for lunch even though it was our first time checking out the new location of Michelin-starred Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine.
Comfortably ensconced at a corner table at the more elegant and roomy restaurant on level 3 of ION Orchard, we tucked into rice porridge with minced meat and baby oysters, roast duck, pork belly char siew and two dim sum items.
The duck was curiously tough, the mashed yam in the fried wu kok tasted 'aged', the chee cheong fun chewy, and the char siew failed to hit the spot despite looking so succulent. Well, all these dishes certainly paled in comparison to the unpretentious porridge.
True to Teochew tradition, it was sparingly seasoned so that we could taste the natural flavours of the generous amount of chopped meat and juicy round oysters. Although the shellfish made the porridge cloudy, every slurp was gratifying, warming the cockles of my heart.
The few tiny pieces of dried plaice, usually used in the Southern Chinese kitchen to give a bold umami depth to traditional dishes, were still a pleasant complement to the sweet rice grains.
Simple, honest cooking - that's what we treasure more than the overly hyped Instagram-obsessed creations at some new eateries.
The other consolation: the hot almond cream - though it was served in a miserly small bowl.
But still, we might come back - for the large South China Sea flower crabs, braised duck webs and steamed whole mullets that we eyed more closely at the kitchen display window as we sauntered out.
The writer paid the bill for the food reviewed.