Teochew Moey (Teochew Rice Porridge)

Teochew Moey or Teochew Rice Porridge is a meal rarely talked about outside of the Teochew and Hokkien (Fujianese) communities although it forms a large part of their everyday food. The meal consists of plain rice porridge or congee eaten with an array of dishes and condiments. It is very versatile and is served throughout the day. The weight of the meal is dependent on the dishes and condiments the porridge is served with. For breakfast, the porridge is usually eaten with just salted eggs and pickled vegetables. Meatier dishes like Teochew style duck, pork, or tofu cooked in soy sauce together with a variety of pickled and fermented vegetables are the norm for dinner.

Rice porridge or congee have come a long way since it was first eaten. It was served to stretch the rice supply to feed more people in times of famine. Today, this humble food has been elevated to new heights with seafood and other expensive ingredients added to it like this one where I threw in a few dried scallops. And so it is with Teochew Moey, as many hotels in Malaysia and Singapore offer it as part of their breakfast buffet. Do give it a try if you encounter it in your travels.

Teochew restaurants usually offer twenty to thirty dishes and condiments for their Teochew Moey. The favorites are lor ark (braised duck), lor bak (braised pork), lor tau kwa (braised tofu), boey chai (salted mustard stew), kiam nui (salted duck eggs), tau ju (fermented beancurd), sik hu (salt boiled mackerel), and kua’ chai (freshly pickled mustard leaves). Chicken is seldom, if ever served with this porridge. The Hokkien (Fujianese) dishes are different and not as extensive. Some Hokkien favorites are chai por nui (pickled radish omelet), chai por chai tau (fried pickled radish and long beans), and tau cheow kang hu (anchovies cooked in fermented bean paste). Pickles and salted duck eggs are mainstays. The dishes tend to be a little salty (when eaten on its own) to counterpoint the bland rice porridge.

Teochew Moey need not be elaborate. Lots of the condiments come in cans and jars available at the Asian grocery stores. I normally have some of these in my pantry as I like to serve rice porridge for Sunday lunch after church. It only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to cook the porridge. Unlike the Cantonese jook which requires longer boiling, plain rice porridge tends to have more of the rice grains intact.

The texture of fresh fermented beancurd is like that of soft cheese. It is salty and is often used as an ingredient in stir-fries and braised dishes.

Plain Rice Porridge (Congee)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1½ cups (300g) rice, rinsed and drained
  • 8 cups (1.9 litres) water
Choice of Condiments
  • Pickled mustard
  • Chili bamboo shoots
  • Spicy pickled radish
  • Canned dace
  • Fermented beancurd
  1. Combine rice and water in a large pot. Turn on the stove and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and allow it to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove or tilt lid to prevent over boiling. Turn off heat and allow it to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  2. Serve in individual bowls with condiments.
Porridge tends to thicken when allowed to sit. If it gets too thick, dilute with warm water.

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8)

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    • Biren says

      I am glad you enjoy checking out the recipes. Some like this one is quite traditional. Yes, the meal can be different each time depending on the condiments the eater selects.

  1. says

    Oh i really mis this. It’s true most people have not heard of it. In Singapore though, there are eateries just specialising in teochew porridge, with lots and lots of dishes to choose from. I like how light and comforting the porridge is, perfect to pair with any dish!

  2. says

    My Dad used to enjoy his moey with Teochew preserved olives (ka na) :) and since we have decided to stay away from preserved veg/pickles, we now usually have Teochew Moey with simple dishes such as braised cabbage, tau pak etc.

    • Biren says

      If I remember correctly, kana is sweet. I used to love that when I was a kid. I’ve never tried it with porridge though. I have not seen kana here or maybe I am just not looking hard enough.

    • Biren says

      Yes, the Teochews love their porridge. The Hokkiens too! :)

      It is true that Teochew food is not cheap even in KL. Not too many Teochew restaurants in KL. More of them up north in Province Wellesley and Kedah.

    • Biren says

      This makes a great breakfast or a light lunch especially in cold weather. Many thanks for including me in your line-up. I am honored. :)

  3. says

    After seeing the ratio of rice to water I see why it’s called porridge. So do you mixed all of the condiments in with the porridge or eat each condiment separately with a little rice? (Sorry if that’s a stupid question. :) ) I’m a huge condiment person and love the idea, versatility, and look of this dish. It’s really grab my interest as all your recipes have done! Beautiful presentation!

    • Biren says

      Some people do associate porridge with being ill. Those of us who grew up with it learn to enjoy it. It is really quite comforting especially on a cold day. :)

  4. says

    I love meals with so many “sides.” All of the different textures and flavors all melding together gives me a feeling of contentment. This is a beauty of a meal.

  5. says

    Oh… this reminds me of home (my mum’s Teochew). Not sure if century egg is Teochew, but we have these quite a lot served with our porridge, then of course the ‘kiam hu’ (ikan masin) as well as salted egg. Yummy..

  6. Dongxing says

    I love this but usually have this eat this all by myself, not that I mind… For me, the attraction is the variety of small little plates of condiments and accompliments to go with the porridge. As usual, great photography, Biren, makes me want to go home this instant, make and eat it!

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