Grandma Helen and I got the craving for turtle soup one day after watching a food hunt programme on the Asian Food Channel. We initially planned to head down to Tai Seng Turtle Soup. However, as we couldn’t find the shop (I think it might have closed or shifted), I googled for the next option within the Geylang area, which led me to Ser Seng Herbs (Turtle) Restaurant. Turtle soup might not be the dish for everyone, but for those in the know, having a good bowl of turtle soup might be the soup to go for, especially if you are craving for some delectable and flavourful textures.
I was pleasantly delighted with the bowl of yam rice available at the restaurant. Apart from it being nicely flavoured with the earthy root, it had a good dose of sliced dried mushrooms, fried shallots and seasoning to flavour the entire dish.
The turtles available at Ser Seng are obtained from commercially available fresh water turtles from Indonesia and specially bred food turtles farmed in China. When stewed properly with a good selection of herbs, turtle soup becomes a very nutritious dish, with some saying it is an exceptional aphrodisiac. Turtle soup, although considerably exotic, also has its share of recipes in Philadelphia and New Orleans in the United States.
Individual portions of turtle soup are available in varying sizes at Ser Seng. However, for lunch I decided to order the $39 Claypot option with a good mix of turtle parts and a bubbling soup base. The herbal aromatics are hard to miss, and it leaves one looking forward to the meal. The herbal soup is crisp and clear, with no overtly strong flavours. A good mix of turtle meat, skin, paw, soft shell is scattered throughout. I would give a thumbs up to the dish if not for the exceptional price that came along with the exceptional choice of ingredient.
You could also request for a single refill of soup, though the portion is limited to a small bowl.
Turtle eggs ($3) were also available for the day. These burst in the mouth yolk rich delights is always a must-order.
When I caught the food discovery show on the Asian Food Channel, it was with a particular scene of some famous singer slurping down a huge portion of turtle fat. I never knew about turtle fat, but was determined to try it for the first time. The serving came as a $3 portion, with yellow chunky pieces of fat floating about the herbal base. Smooth, slightly runny yet with a firm bite, these turtle fat did not carry any overpowering oily flavours. Instead, I would say it is a very comforting portion to indulge in as you pair it with the soup. Legend has it that the fats are good for the body, and it improves blood circulation. True or not, I think I would leave it up to you to decide.
The turtle soup at Ser Seng carries a very good flavour, with good portions of turtle parts albeit with a hefty price tag. I would come back here for the occasional treat, but probably would stick to my neighbourhood’s turtle soup shop when the craving comes about again. I just wonder if they serve turtle fats there.
And if you are feeling especially indulgent after or before the turtle soup meal, drop by for some durian just across the road! Got these at $5 a durian, quite worth the buy. Tis the season to enjoy durian.
|Ser Seng Herbs (Turtle) Restaurant
No. 29 Lorong Bachok
Inside Geylang Lor 21
Tel: 6748 3953
11am – 7pm
Closed on Thursdays