Soup is a staple here.
The Cantonese have their double-boiled versions with ingredients that need a lot of time to coax their flavours out, like dried oysters, cuttlefish, bitter gourds and even fruits like apples.
The Szechuan pots will churn out equally moreish wonders like their sour and spicy thick soups.
The Hokkien must have their fish maw soups, while our Indian friends thrive on their rasam (tamarind broth).
Then there is fish soup, and we find different versions in our foodcourts.
Seafood soup from AS Seafood Soup at Bedok North. PHOTO: KF SEETOH
Some are done with just one type of fish, like garoupa for the claypot yam and fish soup. Others are recognised for the type of broth, such as fish soup that is thickened with milk.
There is also the hot pot fish head or sliced fish soup that comes with chopped chunks of snapper or garoupa simmering in a chimney-style hot pot. Its soup is redolent with meat and bone flavours that is lifted with smokey teepo, or dried sole fish bones.
Now that I have sparked your craving for soup, add this to your list.
It is known among foodie circles that these stalls are pretty much linked and their seafood soups have a distinct flavour and combination of ingredients.
The first thing that hits your palate is the teepo. The clear soup also has a layer of reddish sediments (prawn head roe). Then they top it with at least four uncommon ingredients - crayfish, minced chunky pork, prawns and fish slices (pomfret or mackerel).
"I learnt from our 'master' at his Marsiling outlet, so the menu and flavour are pretty much the same," says Mr Lua Beng Ann (above), who runs AS Seafood Soup at Bedok North.
His partner runs the Depot Road outlet. They offer a variety of options from crayfish to a mixed shrimps and fish combo. They even serve braised pig trotter done in a very light braise that does not overwhelm the complex, subtle flavours of the main fish soup dish. Each range from $6 to $12 at the Bedok and Depot Road outlets.
The master's version at Marsiling has a slighter more robust teepo flavour and the two "disciples" introduced more shrimp flavour to their version.
What I like about all three outlets is the way they make it.
Each bowl is individually made upon order - the seafood and teepo stock from the main pot is portioned and simmered in a smaller pot with the ingredients.
The minced pork is chunky and tender, with bits of hidden fat. The crayfish and prawns are cooked fresh and it colours the soup.
I had all three versions and the difference is negligible.
AS Seafood Soup
Block 412, Bedok North, Avenue 2,
- 11am to 9pm, daily Tel: 8398-7155
108, Depot Road, #02-22, Yue Hwa Food Court, Depot Heights Shopping Centre
- 11am to 9pm, daily Tel: 9362-7378
Sin Kee Seafood Soup
Teo Chap Bee Eating House, Block 19, Marsiling Lane, #01-329
- 10.30am to 8.30pm, daily (closed on irregular Mondays)
Makansutra, founded by KF Seetoh, is a company that celebrates Asian food culture and lifestyle. It publishes food guides in and around the region, produces a food series, develops interactive mobile content and services, operates foodcourts and eateries, organises food tours and events, and consults on culinary concepts.