Milkfish belly porridge, @ 阿星咸粥
Hokkien-style porridge may be cooked in two ways - either soup is directed ladled over cooked rice 泡饭/饭汤 or the rice grains are cooked with a high proportion of fluid (water or broth) till the grains absorb broth flavors. I prefer the latter.
It is my first time trying milkfish porridge 虱目魚粥 and this has by far become my favorite Tainan or Taiwan dish or snack (breakfast). I enjoy it very much, perhaps because I have always enjoyed Hokkien-style porridge.
Milkfish belly porridge, seafood combination porridge, and pan-fried milkfish belly, @阿堂咸粥
A lot of milkfish porridge stalls in Tainan open really early, as early as 5.30am (some even open 24 hours!). The locals and early-birds sure have a good breakfast before they start their day.
Pan-fried milkfish belly, @台南蔡
Fried shallots, fried garlic, finely chopped coriander and scallions are never missing in the Taiwan milkfish porridge. These ordinary condiments are definitely the flavor punch to an otherwise ordinary-looking porridge, and make the broth exceptionally savory and delicious. Milkfish may be notoriously boney but all the milkfish here have been de-boned and makes enjoying the porridge such a delight.
Seafood combination (oyster, milkfish, flaked pan-fried milkfish) porridge @阿堂咸粥
We tried a few savory porridge stalls, some mom-and-pop, hole-in-the-wall "old stores" 老店 such as more than 40 years 阿堂咸粥 and 阿星咸粥 and chain stores like 台南蔡.
阿堂咸粥 - Ah Tang Savory Porridge is famous among local travelers and tourists but personally I think it is over-hyped. Of all, I like 阿星咸粥 Ah Xing Savory Porridge, better. Though the menu at 阿星咸粥 is limited (does not offer combination seafood, or pan-fried milkfish belly), they kept it simple and done it really well. The light and clear broth of 阿星咸粥 is savory and delicious, a tasty fish broth indeed. 阿堂 milkfish porridge broth borrows the flavors from the pan-fried mackerel flakes and fresh oyster - it is also tasty but I prefer the umami-savory-sweet and distinct taste of fish broth.
阿星咸粥, 台南市民族路三段289號, 0600-1300hrs
阿堂咸粥, 台南市西門路一段728 , 0530-1230hrs
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