First Street Teochew Fish Soup – The Best I’ve Ever Had

When it comes to fish soup, I’ve always preferred the fried fish version. I’ve never been a fan of fresh fish soup but I think I have changed my mind after my sweet encounter with First Street Teochew Fish Soup. Run by a team of a father and his 2 sons, First Street Teochew Fish Soup is a popular old-school fish soup stall that is still hugely popular today. Despite the snaking queues, First Street Teochew Fish Soup is THE ONE to try, especially if you prefer the fried fish version like me.

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Started in the 1980s, First Street Teochew Fish Soup first opened its shutters at First Centre. Now at Upper Serangoon, First Street gets their fish fresh from the market daily, and starts slicing the fish from as early as 4am! It’s hard work but I’d say it pays off. Throughout its years of operation, First Street has garnered a large number of fervent fans. The queues are long, and diners can expect to wait for up to 45 minutes!

We arrived at 930am and there was already a short queue of 6 people! We waited for around 10 minutes to get our orders in, and another 5 minutes before the fish soups arrived at our tables. Unlike many other mediocre fish soup stalls, First Street Fish Soup prices their soups at a premium but for good reason. We got their signature Red Garoupa Fish Soup ($ 9) and added a mere 50 cents for porridge.

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The unassuming dish comes with about 12 thick slices of fresh red garoupa, tang oh, and thin slices of ginger swimming in a pool of deeply-coloured soup. The soup boasted a beautiful colour but its clean and light taste is what won us over. It didn’t reek of fish like some other fish soups but instead offered a full-bodied sweetness that is hard to find today. I really hate it when I pay for fish that isn’t fresh but I’m glad to report that this isn’t the case for First Street Teochew Fish Soup. The red garoupa slices were generous, fresh, and devoid of any fishy smell. I’ll definitely return for seconds or even thirds.

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We also ordered the Pomfret Fish Soup ($ 11) which is also a popular choice with the older folks. Pomfret is often considered a superior fish and is only savoured at special events owing to its higher price tag. Having said that, I think I enjoyed the garoupa fish soup better than the pomfret version because of its sweeter notes. I must admit that 11 bucks for a bowl of fish soup is pretty steep, but if you’re a fan of fish, then this is a must try. One thing that I noted was the lack of the fishy smell which usually turns me off before I get my first bite. Similar to the garoupa fish soup, the pomfret fish soup sees about 12 slices (yes I counted) of fresh pomfret amidst a sea of tang oh, spring onions and ginger. The soup seemed a tad less sweet than the garoupa version but retains a full-bodied flavor. I heard that you can add bar chor for another 50 cents. Overall, I don’t think you will be disappointed either way.

Rain or shine, a bowl of fish soup is comfort food for many. Yet, it’s difficult to find a consistently good bowl of fish soup which checks all the boxes. For me, this is the best fish soup I’ve ever had. Period. For fans of this stall, I can see why you would queue 30 minutes for a bowl of their fish soup. If you haven’t tried, I strongly urge you to give this a shot.

Address: 1014 Upper Serangoon Rd, Singapore 534752

Opening Hours: 8am to 3pm daily. Closed on Mondays. made an anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.

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Nathanael Chan

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