Fish soup has always been a regular feature in the Singapore food scene. Underrated yet comforting on a cold rainy day. It is believed to have originated from the Teochews. The traditional version of it has always been using snakeheads. Subsequently, it has been replaced by other variations of fishes such as Batang, garoupa, while a more luxurious version of it will use pomfret.
A common misconception of why the stock is always milky is to add in milk, which cannot be more wrong. The actual way of making the broth is to boil the fish bones until the broth achieves its milky texture and color. But the bad news is that it will take up to at least 8 hours. Some people prefer to lightly pan-fry the bones, before boiling them.
The result would look like this:
Image credit to Elizabeth Chua, a fellow fish soup lover
This is what I get for just boiling the soup for an hour. You can see that the soup is kind of creamy but it is far from what I have shown you above.
But Singaporeans being who we are, not everyone has the luxury to always spend a few hours every other day to boil soup before consumption. Hence comes the star of today’s review, I call it the ‘no-name’ fish soup, because they have no name on their signboard. They just spell out whatever stuffs that they are selling. As you can see below.
As you can tell from the picture below, it looks kind of unassuming at first glance. But the soup is heavenly I can assure you. I did not get their permission to film in their stall as I wanted to keep it low key. The owners have a large pot of boiling soup, which they have been boiling since early morning when they set up shop. They start operating from 7 am until they are sold out or 2 pm, Mondays to Fridays, except public holidays and weekends. They usually take a half-hour break between 10.15 am to 10.45 am. So by lunchtime, you can imagine how long that broth been boiling. Although they still add milk into the soup when they serve, it already has a rich and creamy texture by default. There are some customizations that you can do to your fish soup like rice or noodles or vermicelli, you can choose to add pork slices, pork balls or even fish eggs if you are lucky. The fish eggs I refer to is not your regular ikura type that you have at a Japanese restaurant.
They are more well known for their pieces of fried fish than their sliced fish, which they use Spanish Mackeral or what we call Batang in dialect. The fried fish batter tastes so amazing when you let it soak up all the soup in it and take a huge bite off it. The vegetables that they use are Chinese Cabbage also known as Wong Bok, which is what I suspect gives it an added sweetness to the soup as well.
Special mention to its chili sauce. The owners actually painstakingly blend their own concoction of chili sauce which goes so well with the fish slices. Lovers of steamboat will appreciate this chili sauce which is so spicy, yet at the end of it, there is just this little hint of sourness in it. A little secret here only known to regulars is that the stall owners actually do sell this chili sauce takeaway if you wish to purchase it, at $5.50 Singapore Dollars per tub. At my rough estimate, I think the volume is about 300 to 400 ml. Quite frankly, the key to why this fish soup is so wonderful, I attribute it to the chili sauce.
The address is 127 Bukit Merah Lane 1. The name of the coffee shop is called KPT. You can’t miss it. Don’t take my word for it. Try it.