The two fish stores on the second level of Amoy Street, Han Kee and Piao Ji, remind me of arch rivals the Montagues and Capulets co-existing side by side but with little love shared between them. It pays to note: they both have their fair share of supporters that rally as early as 11am (thank god the punch card system is a thing of the past yeah?).
I have had Han Kee quite a few times so I decided to give Piao Ji Fish Porridge (#02-100 Amoy Street Food Centre) a go to find out what the hoopla is. At Han Kee, the most expensive item is $5 but that is also what the cheapest item at Piao Ji costs. Sure, you don't need to be Mr Moneybags to buy a meal here, but I can't help but feel like the nobody who can't afford to join in the hoopla because she ain't got the moolah.
Right off the bat, the tang oh didn't agree with me. I'm particularly adversed to parsley or anything that tastes as pungent and replusive. Small setback, moving on.
For $5, there was a mix of pomfret slices and chunks but they were quite fishy. When I read blogs or comments of people howling over the freshness of the fish, I can't help but wonder if we ate from the same store. I definitely prefer Han Kee's thicker, smoother and most importantly, fresher fish slices.
Piao Ji's broth was alot more embellished than Han Kee's, dotted with Chinese parsley, fried shallots and crispy dried fish crumbs. I'm inclinced to stay with Han Kee on the broth as adding fried shallots is like adding bacon or mayonnaise - a cheap, quick act to please.
Instead of the normal red cut chillis in soy sauce, Piao Ji's dipping sauce consists of salted beans, chilli padi and pickled ginger. You would have to pay more if you need more than one but I didn't feel it was some sort of magic dust that added schpazz to the fish soup.
Oh FYI, one must be quite dense to find the presentation "elegant".
On the other hand, it was tasty (hello, fried shallots) and I didn't have to brave any queue for it. Loads of people would queue for Piao Ji but I'm glad I'm not one of them.