Adventures With Island Grrrl! (The Hunt For Tau Kwa Pau)

Tau Kwa Pau

One fine day, the Island Grrrrl had a craving for Teochew Porridge and went to the so-famous-that-everyone-but-this-blog-knows-about Teochew Porridge stall. Unfortunately, they had ran out of their equally-famous-but-this-blog-is-clueless-about Tau Kwa Pau.

The Island Grrrl was, to put it mildly, not a happy Island Grrrl.

Now, there are stories that the Microsoft Messenger is dangerous as it can be used to transmit viruses. This blog can attest that this is true because the Island Grrrl, who was lamenting the missed opportunity of consuming Tau Kwa Pau and, at the same time, extolling the virtues of a healthy and light Teochew Porridge (with a chorus of how she likes Tau Kwa Pau in between), implanted a viral message in this blog’s mind which broke out into an mind-blowing idea: let’s go earlier when the Tau Kwa Pau is available!

The Island Grrrl can be very persuasive and this blog is known, on occasion, to have bright ideas especially when nudged in the right direction using old school signs such as a pillar of cloud by day or a pillar of fire by night.

This blog was went early to the stall and there was already a steady stream of people breaking their fast at the tables near the stall. Porridge was a free-flow, help-yourself affair with a large pot place by the side of the stall.

There wasn’t a huge selection of side dishes, but what they had was superbly done. The famous eggs were the most perfectly cooked eggs I’ve ever seen. Tight egg whites with a soft, almost gooey yolk at the center with none of the greenish tinge.

The Most Perfectly Cooked Eggs I've Seen

While we’re not sure if it’s duck or chicken eggs (I’ll ask the next time), what made it different, i.e. so perfectly cooked was the fact that it’s stewed and not hard-boiled.

Another difference between the usual Teochew porridge fare and this stall is the flavour of the braised meats. Most places serve braised meats with an in-your-face flavor that is full of savory saltiness but I feel that this stall goes for finesse.

The Island Grrrl has an old-school palate which is a challenge to please felt that this stall’s braised meats have a subtle taste. This is a good thing because you have to eat slowly and mindfully to appreciate the full flavors.


The coarsely-sliced pieces of fish cake were very good, with the natural sweetness of fish dipped in their dips of sourish tangy chilli and salted soya beans, it’s just the thing to wake up your taste buds in the morning.

We didn’t order the steamed fish because we felt that it may be too much for us to handle (it’s supposed to be a light breakfast), but after tasting the fish cake, we have to try the steamed fish the next time round.


And how was the Tau Kwa Pau?

It did not have the strong flavors of the famous Joo Chiat version, but again, finesse and subtlety are the keywords to use in describing this stall’s Tau Kwa Pau. You are able to taste each individual ingredient that goes in and their interactions with each other on a background of steamed tau kwa (Compressed Bean curd).


I wanted to take a picture of the stall, but the stall helpers warned us not to do it as they are happy with whatever business they have and do not like any publicity. They even told us that the stall owner has not lost her temper in a long time and wish to keep it that way. If you read of any celebrity or chef recommending a Teochew porridge place but decline to name the place, chances are it’s this stall.

All in all, it was a good breakfast as we managed to catch up and talk deep talks. And the Island Grrrl got her Tau Kwa Pau fix.

I definitely look forward to more adventures with Island Grrrl!

On a scale of 41.823 to 27.532, I rate this stall as Superlatively Substantive.


Posted on 29th May 2008 in Makankaki, Old School, Singapore, Teochew


There Are 15 Comments


tiantianchi commented on May 29, 2008 at 8:35 am

I Think I recognize the column in front of the railing. 😀


Ivan commented on May 29, 2008 at 10:26 am

@tiantianchi: Of course you do! Everyone knows where this place is, but a promise is a promise. 🙂


ice commented on May 30, 2008 at 9:56 am

I think it’s duck egg. 🙂 Go for their poached fish the next time!


bubble commented on May 30, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Nice food blog! It makes me hungry!


dot commented on May 30, 2008 at 10:50 pm

Great food blog! Stumbled on your food blog (found you on a flickr profile of eve+line, who commented on my friend Tym’s photo). Am a failed foodie because I rely on friends to take me to good food, am unmotivated otherwise. Unless good tofu is involved.


Kenn commented on May 31, 2008 at 3:14 pm

not too sure if i’m correct but will verify next visit… green railings and pale orange colour utensils…


Ivan commented on June 1, 2008 at 8:35 am

@Kenn: Do satisfy your curiosity however help me keep my promise by not posting the location here. 🙂

@dot: Thanks! I don’t think there’s such a thing as a failed foodie; you’re just resting and biding your time. 🙂

@bubble: Thanks!

@ ice: Will do!


ice commented on June 4, 2008 at 7:58 am

ivan, you may also wish to check out their brother-sister? team selling the same stuff at the-hawker-centre@amoy-street. 🙂


ivan commented on June 4, 2008 at 9:57 am

One place at a time. I am now being taken on a slow, leisurely food trail by a native expert. 🙂


Weylin commented on July 8, 2008 at 3:04 pm

This is Teo Heng at Amoy Street?

If not, it should be. Their stuff is awesome!


Ivan commented on July 9, 2008 at 6:03 pm

@Weylin: No, it isn’t. From what I hear, this stall is better in some ways. 🙂


ice commented on July 10, 2008 at 10:46 am

I think they are related. 🙂


Ivan commented on July 19, 2008 at 1:02 pm

@ice: We asked, they are the one and only; no branches, relations or franchises. Of course, they could be pulling legs.


TC commented on July 21, 2008 at 10:25 pm

I go there super early at breakfast before going to work 🙂 Have been going for many years now 🙂

I strongly feel that a good Teochew porridge stalls involve doing a few things super well instead of 100 average dishes 🙂

The owner’s older brother runs a stall at Amoy St, same dishes. I prefer that one.

Anyway, Ivan, I love your blog. Keep up the excellent work!


Ivan commented on July 22, 2008 at 1:02 am

@TC: See? Our legs were pulled. 🙂 Anyway, thanks for your comment, I try my best.

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