A perfect grill

I’ve driven past this place several times and often wondered why this place always had a steady stream of customers. I wasn’t even sure what it sold and what the name was. In order to write this post, I had to go back and find out its name.

The main draw of this place seems to be the frog porridge and the seafood grill. Served by waiters with arms full of tattoos, I was very happy with what was ordered, especially the grill. We ordered only one fish (ikan selar) at first but ordered a second one subsequently. The fish was grilled perfectly. The sweet potato leaves were also stirfried very well, with just the right dash of belachan (prawn paste) in it. I’m definitely coming back here for reasonably priced and good grilled seafood. I have to credit the belachan for making both dishes so appetizing. It was value for money indeed!

Belachan is made from very small shrimps which is washed in SALT water and dried in the sun for several days. Then they are crushed and dried further before being turned into a paste. In Malaysian food, belachan is usually pounded or blended with chilli and then fried into a very fragrant concoction of shrimp paste and chilli known as sambal belachan. The fragrance is offensive to some and I know of kitchens in some student dormitories which have banned the cooking of this because of the smell. What is fragrant to some is pungent to others. Many Caucasians or foreigners think that the smell is very repulsive when it is first cooked. After it has been cooked and mixed with other spices, the smell is not so repulsive. It was the combination of belachan, chilli and onion that made the food here very tasty, even perfect.

This is another spartan place where people come solely to eat the food. The staff here are quite friendly and the prices are very reasonable. The cars outside this place range from Mercedes and BMW to Kias, Hyundais and Kenaris, and every model in between. Parking lots are taken up very quickly during peak hours and there are not that many of them.

Hong Chang Eating House. 2 Braddell Road, Singapore 359895.

Perfectly grilled fish with sambal. We ordered a second fish.

Stir-fried tapioca leaves with just the right amount of belachan, onion and garlic.

Frog porridge. The more popular version may be the black sauce, spicy version. I ordered the non-spicy one. The porridge here is the watery version, not thick like how some other stalls serve theirs. It took a while to finish one portion.

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