If you are looking for something exotic, traditional and nutritious in Singapore, look no further! On 15 Apr, I went to hunt for the best turtle soup in Geylang – Tan Ser Seng Herbs Restaurant (陳生成山瑞补品). Although I once tried turtle soup in China more than 10 years ago, I couldn’t really recall the taste of it, probably the taste wasn’t too memorable or I was too young to remember anything. But this time, the texture and the aroma of the soup still lingers in my mind. In fact, the soup is so good that I took away for my family. And I’m enjoying the soup right now at home while writing this post. ;p I shall not let you wait further, let’s delve straight into today’s highlight – Best Turtle Soup Geylang.
Located at Lorong Bachok, Tan Ser Seng Herbs Restaurant has a long history and was first set up more than 70 years ago. At that time, the second generation restaurant owner, Tan Ah Seng, joined his father when they set up a turtle soup push cart stall at Orchard Road. Started with just the large pot of soup and charcoal stove slung on a bamboo pole across their shoulders, their effort and determination has transformed the little family business into a well-know restaurant in Singapore.
Today, the business has been passed on to the future generation, Allan Tan, whom is the son of Tan Ah Seng. Together with his brother-in-law, Allan strives to inherit the legacy by serving the traditional turtle soup to the future generations.
In an interview with Allan, he shared with me that it took him more than 6 months for him to be ready to prepare the soup by himself. “I basically need to learn everything from scratch, from identifying the herbs, to knowing how to prepare turtles.”
Since overtaking the business, Allan’s lifestyle completely changed. “I wake up at 3am every day, and prepare the soups till around 10am, so that the restaurant can open at 11am sharp.”
I had a clay pot of herbal turtle soup – price S$24 for small serving. The soup is well balanced with a gentle taste of Chinese herbs. Allan uses over 20 types of quality herbs to make this broth according to his grandfather’s recipe. Kept warm in the clay pot, the soup is not greasy at all.
Guess what’s the best part? The collagen from the soft shell turtle! It is so Q, firm and I enjoyed this springy jelly texture the most. Many people believe that collagen is good for smooth skin, so this gives me another reason to finish them all! 😀
Another popular dish is the Ginseng Black Chicken Herbal Soup. The taste of the soup has a stronger Chinese herbs taste, which I personally enjoy more. The soup costs $13 and I highly recommend it too!
In fact, the soups are so famous that many celebrities often come and patronise. During the Feb this year, the veteran Hong Kong action star Sammo Hung dropped by with his family, surprising diners and even Allan. According to the Straits Times, Sammo Hung told Allan in Cantonese: “The soup is very good!”
Allan said: “To have a huge star visit us to have a satisfying meal, I’m really honoured and proud.”
Can’t wait to savour the soups? Head to Geylang today and judge for yourself!
Restaurant: Tan Ser Seng Herbs (Turtle) 陳生成山瑞补品
Address: No. 29 Lorong Bachok (off Geylang Lor 21), Singapore 387791 (10 minutes walk from Aljunied MRT station)
Tel: 6748 3953
Hours: 11:00am to 7:30pm (Thurs close)