It just occurred to me that traditionally speaking, Malay cuisines are lacking in any fish-based soup. It seems quite ironic too as at one point in the annals of history, the Malays were seen as a great seafaring race. It’s been 24 years and I’ve yet to experience proper fish soup…until recently, when I patronised You&Me Teochew Fish Soup located at Pasir Panjang Food Centre.
You&Me Teochew Fish Soup is run by Daanyal Chee, a Muslim convert of nearly 2 decades. The stall was a relatively recent addition to the hawker centre, as it opened on 16 Nov 2022. Before this, Daanyal was a corporate worker and cited that he wanted to do something that he likes, which is cooking, before he gets too old (he’s 50 now).
Despite admitting that he was more familiar with cooking Malay cuisines, he opted to open a Muslim-friendly Teochew fish soup stall since there were already other Malay stalls in the hawker centre and he wanted to offer something unique. He assured me that the recipe he follows was as authentic as it can get, excluding only the use of wine and pork bones in the soup.
What I tried at You&Me Teochew Fish Soup
I was surprised at how varied a fish soup stall could be. There are soup items such as Batang Fish Soup (S$5.50/S$7.50), Fried Fish Soup (S$5.50/S$7.50) and Seafood Soup (S$5.50/S$7.50). Every order of soup also came with a choice of carbs ranging from the signature Bee Hoon to Udon Noodles (S$1).
There were also other food choices like Fish Porridge (S$3.50) and Rice with Fried Fish and Egg (S$4.50), the latter of which comes with different sauce options namely Lemon Sauce, Sweet and Sour and Black Pepper. We decided on Fish Porridge and Seafood Soup with Udon Noodles.
For every order of soup, an option to add milk was given but we had ours as it was. Something I’ve noticed with fish soups in general was how deceptively simple they tend to look and this was no different. The Seafood Soup had additional ingredients such as a couple of prawns, crab sticks and fishballs along with the expected Batang fish slices.
My first sip of the soup left me in a daze. I couldn’t quite decipher what I had just tasted. The subsequent sips did nothing to relieve me of my pondering. This was nothing like I’d ever tasted before and yet I was going for spoonful after spoonful as if I was used to it.
It was a smooth-tasting soup with hints of sweetness and a tangy finish, which I reckoned was from the sliced tomato. Surprisingly, the soup was absent of any fishy taste which was what I fully anticipated. It was refreshing too and didn’t leave me thirsty. Even my colleague agreed that this tasted exactly like the fish soup he knew and loved!
The slices of Batang fish were delicate to bite and had a welcoming fishy taste. What further cemented my enjoyment and appreciation for the fish slices was how Danyaal mentioned he only had one fresh Batang fish to work with every day and doesn’t reuse old produce, as the lack of freshness greatly affects the texture and taste of the fish.
The prawns and crab sticks were nothing to write home about, though I enjoyed the crab sticks more than the prawns because of their added sweetness (artificial or not). In hindsight, I would have opted for other carb options as the thick udon never fully absorbed the flavours of the soup. It also got bloated surprisingly quick, losing its pivotal bite and chew.
Astonishingly, the Fish Porridge had a more full-bodied sweetness to it with defined flavours of fish stock. I also encountered a slice of ginger, which added a refreshing flavour that permeated throughout the porridge. Additionally, it was topped with crispy, salty and slightly bitter fish skins which provided a nice change of both texture and taste.
The denser porridge also works seamlessly with the Batang slices to give it a fuller bite.
I had such a good experience at You&Me Teochew Fish Soup, with warm and hearty soups and an even warmer stall owner. The rarity of Muslim-friendly Teochew soup should be enough to warrant a visit to the relatively ulu area of Potong Pasir. Though I preferred the Fish Porridge, don’t let that stop you from trying the soup as well.
The only gripe I had with my lunch was that a downpour only began after I was done with my meal. Oh, what an even warming experience it could have been!
Expected damage: S$3.50 – S$5.50 per pax
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