At 5pm in the center of Duong Dong, Phu Quoc, the 30/4 street is busy with people, a row of porridge is nestled modestly at the beginning of an alley near the Phu Quoc Chinese Association, and parents are waiting to buy their children. .
Porridge sold on 30/4 street in Phu Quoc
We came to the shop after looking for another restaurant according to a Google search, also on 30/4 street but in the end, we couldn’t find it. Many years ago, I had the opportunity to go to Phu Quoc and enjoy a dish called porridge.
My memory of this dish is not much, just remember that that day after traveling around taking wedding photos for my best friend by motorbike until late at night, we were tired and were led by the groom who is from Phu Quoc. Go eat porridge to warm your stomach.
I just remember we pulled into a small porridge shop, near a Chinese temple. The bowl of porridge is nothing too special, just porridge eaten with fish cakes. But that was indeed the first time I saw people eating fish cakes with porridge, even though fish cakes were no stranger to me because I was born and raised in Phan Thiet.
However, the bowl of porridge that night left me with a rather special impression, not so delicious that I had to crave it, but I still remembered it and sometimes mentioned it.
This time when I had the opportunity to go to Phu Quoc with my husband, I suddenly remembered this dish and wanted to eat it again. Seeing that his wife was a little disappointed because she couldn’t find the restaurant, my husband picked up the phone and called a friend who was a “territory” in Phu Quoc.
“Ah, porridge, right now, there’s only one shop selling it, also on the same 30/4 street, run up a bit next to the Chinese temple, there’s a saleswoman wearing a conical hat …”, I heard the call. The other side enthusiastically guides.
“But it’s just a sidewalk restaurant, porridge is a sidewalk dish,” the friend added timidly when he heard my husband say he wanted to take his wife out to eat. I chuckled, thinking what more could I expect.
According to the instructions, we drove a short distance until we discovered a shop of porridge, even though the saleswoman was not wearing a conical hat. The shop has no name, no sign, is nestled close to the beginning of a small alley next to Khai Tri school.
Rice porridge shop on 30/4 street in Phu Quoc
Rushing into the shop, we ordered two full bowls, 35,000 VND a bowl, while eating more dishes, 10,000 VND per plate.
Less than a minute later, two hot bowls were brought to the front including porridge, thinly sliced fish cakes, boiled blood, spring rolls, and an extra plate of stir-fry.
There are also bean sprouts and lemon, chili served, sprinkled with a little green onion, coriander and fried garlic.
Sauteed garlic and herbs make the dish smell good
“The shop I sell here has probably been around for nearly twenty years, from 2pm until the end, around 9pm. My rice has to be roasted and then cooked, and the rolls are made from virtual fish, fresh barracuda…”, the salesgirls enthusiastically explained.
Porridge is cooked from roasted rice, so the rice grains expand without being crushed.
Take a spoonful of porridge and feel the sweetness of the porridge, the fresh and chewy fish taste mixed with the smell of pepper, fried garlic and herbs to wake up the entire nasal cavity, add a piece of soft, sweet, and lightly buttered doughnuts. A bowl of hot porridge in the middle of a rainy afternoon is so reasonable.
A bowl of porridge is full of cha, meat, and blood
Chow mein served with porridge
It is also strange to think that an “easy to eat, easy to make” dish consists of only two main ingredients, porridge and rolls, but very few sellers and few people know about it.
What, compared to other dishes on the Phu Quoc culinary tourism map such as vermicelli, herring salad, porridge is nothing. Not only that, finding out, there are only a few stores that also sell this dish all over Phu Quoc.
Even more strange is that there seems to be no place selling this dish outside Phu Quoc, or because I have not been to my whole country to find out.
The history of community formation in Phu Quoc recorded that the Central Coast fishermen and the Chinese came here very early, so is that why the local culinary culture also reflects the convergence of regions?
Sausage pan – a strange dish, but once you eat it, you will find it very familiar. Sweet roasted rice porridge with the taste of bone broth and blood like this, you can go everywhere in the West and don’t see it, if you don’t see fish cake in the whole Central region, who doesn’t know it, it is also served with Chinese-style cross-stir, this is not the case. The dish sounds strange but blends many familiar culinary elements.
Leaving Phu Quoc, I just hope this dish is not lost, so that tomorrow when I have the opportunity to go to the pearl island, I can enjoy a simple but delicious bowl of porridge.
Porridge shop sells from 2pm to 9pm