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Searching for fish porridge in Penang? Head to Cintra Street

The festivities from Christmas last year to Chinese New Year this year is coming to a close, and some simple food is definitely in order. Zac Teo explores an exquisite yet uncomplicated fish porridge in Georgetown, Penang

Fish Porridge at Sin Sun Vood, Chulia Street. Photograph: Zac Teo/

Chinese restaurants and hawkers are abundantly found throughout Penang. However, some of the most outstanding  cuisines  and  cultures  are  concentrated  in  inner  Georgetown.  This is  evident by  most Chinese  eateries  in  the  area  serving  up  excellent  and  authentic  food.  One  particular street  that  plays home to some of the best cuisines in the island is Cintra Street.

Located right in the heart of Georgetown, Cintra Street has an overwhelming appeal of hawker food and  culinary delights.  With  most  stalls  and  eateries  beginning  operation  at  night,  just  a  walk up  and down this  historic  street  will  bring  you  face  to  face  with  some  of  the  best  food  in the  country! Penangites are definitely well-known for enjoying culinary delights, and plenty flock to Cintra Street for its great variety of flavors and indulgence. 

There are plenty to go around in Cintra Street, and the culinary offerings have been covered relentlessly by the masses over the decades. Many outlets here have definitely survived the test of time, with some dating back to over half a century ago! Cintra street starts at the busy intersection with Kimberley Street and ends at Chulia Street, both of which are two historical roads filled with awesome food, perhaps I'll keep that for another post.

We have grown accustomed to the many foods Penang take pride in, such as the famous hawker food like Char Koay Teow, Hokkien Mee (Prawn Mee),  and Penang Laksa ... however Penangites are simpletons in essence - many of us do enjoy  simple bowl of heart warming porridge for the soul. Sin Sun Vood in Cintra Street offers just that, with the fish and chicken porridge having been sold here for many decades.

Exterior of Sin Sun Vood Coffee Shop, Chulia Street. Photograph: Zac Teo/

The porridge served in this establishment is an amalgamation of Hainanese and Cantonese, with the large cauldron of chicken porridge brought to a boil at the side of the stall. Unlike Hokkien porridge, Cantonese style of preparation will have a higher ratio of rice to water, thus ensuring that the final result will be thick bordering on  oats. Each rice grain have been boiled to a smooth consistency, and upon ordering, a spoonful of piping porridge is scooped into the bowl.

Order the fish porridge, better known as sang yu porridge, as thin slices of raw fish will be placed in the bowl before the porridge is poured on top for it to be cooked by itself! Each bowl is garnished with generous cuts of spring onions, ginger strips, deep fried oil crullers and drizzled with fragrant soy sauce. Simply heart warming enough for any given day.

Fish porridge topped with ginger strips, spring onion and salted radish. Photograph: Zac Teo/

Porridge is not the only thing this place is famous for, as the white chicken here is equally exquisite. It draws much propensity of Hainanese for its chicken, for the absence of the thin gelatin layer below the skin and the ginger strips topping off the dish. Just a pointer to share - Hainanese generally do not soak the boiled chicken in cold ice water immediately after while Cantonese preparation actually do, which will result in the thin gelatin layer. I've always loved a little extra for my chicken dish each time I visit this place, thus I'll always have some additional chicken gizzard along with the white chicken dish, although for each their own. 

Chicken and gizzard topped with spring onions and sliced ginger. Photograph: Zac Teo/

Penang always takes pride in the coffee, very much similar to Ipoh - and be rest assured that Sin Sun Vood brews a kick ass cup of kopi-O. Best enjoyed black, the aromatic aftertaste of local coffee is a good throwback to the younger generation on how good our very own coffee can be.

Local coffee/kopi-O makes excellent drinks at Sin Sun Vood. Photograph: Zac Teo/

This porridge stall is located at Sin Sun Vood coffee shop, 31 Cintra Street, 10100 George Town. Business hours are punctually from 8:00pm onwards till about 11:30pm, or earlier depending whether it has sold out. This place is closed on Sundays, and it is part of the inner Georgetown area. Most public transportation to KOMTAR will bring you to a walkable distance to this place.

Other food places of interest nearby would be Tai Tong Dim Sum, Hon Kei Food Center, Line Clear Nasi Kandar as well as Cintra Street Food Corner that is famous for its Chinese rice dumplings.

Zac Teo

Zac Teo

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