A Value-for-Money Taiwan Porridge Buffet @ Crystal Cafe, Orchard Grand Court (Revisit)

I went to SingTel ComCentre to settle my account closure (I switched to M1 after so many donkey years!) and the husband and I decided to look for somewhere to lunch around Killiney Road. Encountered several eateries that we had not eaten at before which were worth trying and blogging about but in the end we made a U-turn and went back to Crystal Cafe for porridge buffet instead, lol. Absolutely nothing could beat hot porridge on a cool, rainy day.

Anyway, I had reviewed Crystal Cafe in the beginning of the year but didn’t have many pictures so I thought I would make this revisit post a little more comprehensive so everyone could have a better idea of what they had to offer and why I’m so hopelessly in love with it.

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To recap, the porridge buffet is available daily for lunch and dinner with prices as follows:

Mon-Thu (Lunch/Dinner) and Fri (Lunch)

Fri (Dinner), PH Eve (Dinner) and Sat/Sun/PH (Lunch/Dinner)

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Nothing much had changed since my last visit 10 months ago. Most of the signature dishes that I had enjoyed were still available.

Here’s a quick look at the buffet table:

Braised Pig Trotters

Braised Pig Trotters

Braised Chicken Feet with Tau Kee (Beancurd Skin)

Braised Chicken Feet with Tau Kee (Beancurd Skin)

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Besides porridge, steamed rice and fried bee hoon were also available. Most of the dishes were braised ones like pork belly, tau kwa (firm tofu) and tau pok (fried tofu puff).

Preserved vegetables, braised eggs, fried leatherjacket fish and ma po tofu

Preserved vegetables, braised eggs, fried leatherjacket fish and ma po tofu

Stir fried kang kong, chap chye (assorted vegetables), omelette and soya sauce chicken

Stir fried kang kong, chap chye (assorted vegetables), omelette and soya sauce chicken

That was about all for the hot food

That was about all for the hot food. What a pity, the chicken curry wasn’t available.

What is porridge without salted egg?!

What is porridge without salted egg?! Loved the yolks. Whites were just too salty.

Some condiments to add to the porridge or to eat with the hot dishes - crispy ikan bilis (anchovies), braised peanuts, fermented beancurd, pickled cucumber, fermented soy beans and chilli

Some condiments to add to the porridge or to eat with the hot dishes – crispy ikan bilis (anchovies), braised peanuts, fermented beancurd, pickled cucumber, fermented soy beans and chilli

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And this is the reason why I like porridge buffets. It’s all about variety even though they are just simple home-made fare and nothing extraordinary. Just like grandma’s cooking and the fact that I was very deprived of heartwarming family meals while growing up – so these were the reasons that made the meal a really comforting one.

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The braising sauce for the chicken feet, pig trotters, tau kwa, tau pok and eggs was the same. I liked that it was full-bodied and not too salty. Everything was just braised to perfection as the savoury sauce penetrated the ingredients, giving them lots of robust flavour. The husband isn’t a big fan of chicken claws so I had several helpings myself. I love munching on chicken with bones, that’s why, lol.

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The omelette might look ordinary but it was thick and tasty with a lot of flavour coming from the sliced onions, red chillies and spring onions. The hae bee hiam (spicy dried shrimps) tasted intensely fragrant, was a little on the moist side but overall it wasn’t too hot. I loved mixing it in my porridge.

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The leatherjacket fish might had been fried but because it was left in the open for too long, the exterior wasn’t as crispy as I hoped it would be but taste wise, it was good because of the use of turmeric powder that really lifted the palates. The soya sauce chicken was normal, nothing to shout about.

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The pig trotters was the killer dish for me. Forget about the diet plans, forget about the cholesterol. Think of the collagen and then savour them, lol. Yes, that was how I psyched myself just so I could have a few more (extra) servings with a little less guilt. The trotters weren’t the fork tender type and in fact, the skin was still a little hard and chewy but I liked that there were a lot of meat and they were very flavoursome because I just thought the braising sauce was lovely.

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Ma po tofu was a little too starchy for my liking.

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The husband’s favourite was the braised pork belly. I lost count of how many bowls he had, lol. Tender and oh-so-good! And I was pretty sure he had at least half a dozen braised eggs!

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Like in Teochew porridge, I loved to combine the fermented soy beans and chilli sauce to create this sour, sweet and spicy concoction that I could dip the omelette, braised pork, etc in. Heavenly!

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I wasn’t too impressed with the desserts last time but I was pleasantly surprised to note an improvement in the taste of these desserts I’d tried. The durian pengat wasn’t fully thawed so this was icy cold when I tried it. Despite that, it had a rich durian flavour. It was like eating a durian sorbet or ice cream – very very addictive. Even the husband who normally don’t really fancy durians thought this tasted quite good.

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Some custard pudding which wasn’t too bad either. Texture wise, it might be a little too dense.

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Glutinous rice balls with peanut filling in ginger soup. Tasted like those from a packet. I liked the spicy ginger soup though. Kinda helped with digestion after a heavy meal.

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Some assorted cakes which were decent tasting but probably not worth the extra calories.

It was our second visit and it didn’t disappoint. Standard of ingredients might be mediocre but at a price of under $20 per person (after taxes), what’s there to complain? An authentic porridge meal should be that hearty and wholesome, just like home cooking. Service was also prompt and attentive as usual. We will definitely be back again, and again for as long as this place shall exist.

Crystal Cafe, Orchard Grand Court
131 Killiney Road
Tel: 6830 2020
Opens: 12.00pm to 2.30pm (lunch), 6.00pm to 10.00pm (dinner) daily


  • bentodays says:

    Wow so glad I saw this post! I simply love teochew porridge and have been looking for one aside from the Havelock Rd stall. Definitely heading down to try this, thanks for the recommendation!

    • Geri Tan says:

      Oh yes, you should try if you like these home-cooked style dishes 🙂 another option would be the porridge buffet at Quality Hotel Marlow…with more variety of dishes but in terms of quality, I think both are pretty much the same. Let me know what you think after you’ve tried this. Enjoy! 🙂

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