No more squatting for your porridge

GEORGE TOWN: After more than eight decades serving ordinary folk here in Penang, the state’s last remaining “squatting” Teochew porridge stall has decided to call it a day.

The Teochew porridge stall, which belonged to Tan Jin Hock, 80, used to be a popular spot for the elderly to gather during lunchtime along the busy Magazine Road here.

Patrons would squat on a stool on top of benches to slurp down bowls of hot porridge at the stall.

Attempts to contact Tan were unsuccessful but a notice in Mandarin to rent out the place has been put up at the stall.

The daily scene of patrons squatting to enjoy their meal will now become a mere memory for many.

Fortunately, all is not lost as hotel corporate communications manager Ng Su-Ann has managed to capture part of the essence of the dying heritage in the form of a mural at a backlane near Jalan Gurdwara.

Now and then: The porridge stall, located beside Bee Hong coffee shop along Magazine Road, is now open for rent in George Town.Now and then: The porridge stall, located beside Bee Hong coffee shop along Magazine Road, is now open for rent in George Town.

Ng and her colleagues painted a mural depicting the porridge stall when the business was at its peak back in 2019.

“The mural was completed in late 2019 and was part of our idea to spruce up the lane between the shoplots and hotel buildings in the area.

“As we had space on the blank walls, we wanted to capture the essence of the heritage and culture of Penang on it, ” she said when contacted on Tuesday.

Ng said as they work in the area, they often went to the surrounding stalls for lunch.

“That was when the Teochew porridge stall caught our attention. Many of the elderly were squatting around the stall during lunchtime, perched on the stools eating.

“We thought that it was really special and the way they eat was different. So, we took a photo and painted a mural on the walls based on the photo.

“It took us about a month to complete the mural. Now that we see news of the porridge stall closing down, we feel really lucky that we managed to capture its atmosphere before this, ” she said.

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