I'm normally a rational person, until you put me in front of a good Taiwan or Teochew porridge buffet. All of a sudden, I think it's totally fine to pay $20 for unlimited servings of plain rice gruel and canned peanuts. I can almost hear you screaming, "wah lao, damn waste money leh!"
… Unless, of course, you're just like me. Then you probably gian braised tau kee the same way "foodies" fantasise about atas French oysters and expensive champagne.
High five! Now, read on for porridge buffets in Singapore to feast at.
9 best Taiwan & Teochew porridge buffets in Singapore (2020)
|Porridge buffet||Timeslot||Buffet price|
|Quality Hotel||Supper||$12.80++ (Mon to Thu) / $14.80++ (Fri to Sun)|
|Manle||Lunch / Dinner||$12.90+ (weekdays lunch) / $16.90+ (weekends lunch, dinner)|
|The ART (Assumption Pathway School)||Dinner (every last Friday of the month)||$13.50 nett|
|One Farrer Hotel||Supper||$16++|
|Crystal Cafe||Lunch / Dinner||$16.80++ (Mon to Fri) / $18.80++ (Sat to Sun)|
|Quality Hotel||Dinner||$24.80++ (Mon to Thu) / $26.80++ (Fri to Sun)|
|Spice Brasserie (Parkroyal on Kitchener)||Lunch||$34++ (Mon to Fri) / $50++ (Sat and Sun)|
|Spice Brasserie (Parkroyal on Kitchener)||Dinner||$42++ (Mon to Thu) / $60++ (Fri to Sun)|
|Goodwood Park||Lunch / Dinner||$39++ (Mon to Thu) / $42++ (Fri to Sun)|
Note: Although many Taiwan/Teochew porridge dishes are seafood-, egg- and veggie-based, braised pork is also one of the staple ingredients, so it goes without saying that all of these places are not halal. The most halal-friendly option would be the ART, which doesn't use pork or lard in their cooking.
Quality Hotel porridge buffet ($12.80++ to $26.80++)
Quality Hotel's porridge buffet has been around for so long that it's the first place that comes to mind for many Singaporeans - especially those with late-night cravings for porridge.
That's because they have a really cheap supper porridge buffet at just $12.80++ on weekdays and $14.80++ on weekends. Apart from porridge and the sides like pickles and fermented tofu, there are also Asian buffet items like popiah, laksa, curry chicken, seafood dishes, and desserts. Super worth it!
Quality Hotel also have a dinner porridge buffet, but at much steeper prices.
Supper porridge buffet: 10.30pm to 12.30am daily Buffet price: $12.80++ (Mon to Thu) / $14.80++ (Fri to Sun) Porridge buffet dinner: 6pm to 10pm daily Buffet price: $26.80++ (Mon to Thu) / $28.80++ (Fri to Sun)
Manle porridge buffet lunch ($12.90+ / $16.90+)
Teenager-ridden steak joint Astons has opened Manle, a Chinese restaurant that successfully replicates its winning formula (namely, cheap-a$$ prices) over to Teochew porridge and hotpot. It now has 2 outlets: City Square and Downtown East.
At $12.90+, Manle's Teochew porridge buffet lunch may be a little more expensive than ordering Teochew mui at the hawker centre, but then it comes with air con so you can comfortably gorge on their 30 dishes.
At Downtown East, the Teochew porridge buffet is only available at lunch. But at the City Square outlet, there is a dinner spread too, at $16.90+.
Porridge buffet lunch: 11.30am to 3pm (Downtown East) / 11.30am to 4pm (City Square) Porridge buffet dinner: 5pm to 10pm (City Square) Buffet price: $12.90+ (lunch daily at Downtown East, lunch from Mon to Fri at City Square) / $16.90+ (lunch on Sat & Sun + dinner daily at City Square)
Make a reservation at Manle Downtown East.
Make a reservation at Manle City Square.
The ART porridge buffet dinner ($13.50 nett)
Although it's not your typical porridge buffet place, I just had to include the ART, the in-house restaurant of Assumption Pathway School. The ART is a training ground for students to hone their F&B and service skills.
The cafe usually serves individually plated Western food, but once a month, they put out a porridge buffet to let the students practise cooking local food in larger quantities. It's not halal, but they don't use pork or lard.
Since the students tailor their cooking to the number of patrons, the porridge buffet is by reservation only. Email email@example.com to reserve.
Porridge buffet dinner: 6pm to 9.30pm every last Friday of the month Buffet price: $13.50 nett (adults) / $12 nett (children & senior citizens)
Crystal Cafe Taiwan porridge buffet ($16.80++ / $18.80++)
Did you know that there's actually a cheap Taiwan porridge buffet place along Orchard Road - and in a hotel, no less? … Okay, it's no Shangri-La, but Orchard Grand Court's Crystal Cafe has a certain '80s hotel charm, complete with obiang patterned carpet.
Anyway, the star of the show is the simple and comforting Taiwan porridge buffet spread under $20 per head. Yes, even for dinner.
I especially like that they have an extended lunchtime on weekends, so you can skip dinner after stuffing yourself with enough braised pork belly to feed a small Chinese army.
Porridge buffet lunch: 12pm to 2.30pm (Mon to Fri) / 12pm to 4pm (Sat to Sun) Porridge buffet dinner: 6pm to 10pm daily Buffet price: $16.80++ (Mon to Fri lunch, Mon to Thu dinner) / $18.80++ (Sat to Sun lunch, Fri to Sun dinner)
One Farrer Hotel Teochew porridge buffet ($16++)
Getting random hankerings for porridge in the middle of the night must be quite a thing here, because in addition to Quality Hotel, you can also get a supper porridge buffet at One Farrer Hotel's Escape restaurant on Fridays, Saturdays and eve of public holidays.
One Farrer's Teochew porridge buffet is simple but nice, with sweet potato congee and the classic dishes like steamed fish, pickled veggies and mei cai pork belly. The ambience is quite nice too, especially when you think about how you paid only $16++ for a hotel buffet.
The best/worst thing about One Farrer's porridge buffet is that it starts and ends super late. I'm not willing to sacrifice my ZZZs - even for porridge - but it's definitely a plus for night owls looking for something other than prata.
Supper porridge buffet: 11pm to 3am daily Buffet price: $16++
Orchid Hotel porridge buffet ($18.80++ / $20.80++)
The only Teochew porridge buffet place in the CBD, Orchid Hotel's porridge buffet is a godsend for corporate slaves who just want to binge-eat all their problems away at lunchtime.
On top of the Teochew mui classics, Orchid Cafe also serves quite a lot of veggies and even a salad bar for those who want to eat a bit more healthy.
Porridge buffet breakfast: 6am to 10am daily Buffet price: $22++ (adult) / $12.80++ (child) Porridge buffet lunch: 12pm to 2pm daily Buffet price: $18.80++ (adult) / $13.80++ (child) Porridge buffet dinner: 6pm to 10pm daily Buffet price: $20.80++ (adult) / $15.80++
Spice Brasserie (Parkroyal on Kitchener) buffet ($32++ to $48++)
I apologise in advance to Teochew porridge purists for including this particular Asian buffet, but I needed to include an option that will satisfy both lovers and haters of porridge buffets who have to dine together.
Spice Brasserie's Asian buffet isn't strictly a porridge buffet; it's more a "normal" buffet with a decent-sized Teochew porridge counter (12 dishes). You also get the regular hotel buffet stuff like seafood, live stations, desserts and so on. This way, both species can have a satisfying buffet meal with minimal resentment.
Porridge buffet lunch: 12pm to 2:30pm daily Buffet price (Mon to Fri): $34++ (adult) / $17++ (child) Buffet price (Sat to Sun): $50++ (adult) / $25++ (child) Porridge buffet dinner: 6pm to 10pm daily Buffet price (Mon to Thu): $42++ (adult) / $21++ (child) Buffet price (Fri to Sun): $60++ (adult) / $30++ (child)
Make a reservation at Spice Brasserie.
Goodwood Park porridge buffet ($39++ / $42++)
This one is super bo hua - eh, $50 can get you A LOT of food at a hawker centre Teochew porridge stall - but if you ever feel the need to burn a bunch of money…
Goodwood Park's Coffee Lounge is the place to be. Their Taiwan porridge buffet has been around since 1984(!) and is supposedly legendary.
What's special about it is that it's the only a la carte porridge buffet on the list, so you're getting food specially cooked just for you, not sitting there in its own semi-congealed juices. (Though there's absolutely nothing wrong with semi-congealed juices.)
Instead of the standard cheap dishes like salted egg and braised peanuts, you can get zi char-style dishes like steamed fish, stir-fried veggies/meat/prawn, and Japanese-style chilled tofu. There's also a selection of desserts more typical of hotel buffets, e.g. cakes and puddings.
Porridge buffet lunch: 12pm to 2.30pm daily Porridge buffet dinner: 6pm to 10.30pm daily Buffet price (Mon to Thu): $39++ (adult) / $19.50++ (child) Buffet price (Fri to Sun): $42++ (adult) / $21++ (child)
This article was first published in MoneySmart.