I either go to Very Lucky Turtle Soup at Berseh Food Centre or Ser Seng Herbs at Tai Thong Crescent for my turtle soup.
Both establishments have been operating for decades. The difference between the two is subtle and not a major issue.
Herbal turtle soup, complete with meat and turtle eggs, is a hearty pick-me-up. I always enjoy the bits and pieces of gelatinous jelly. Connoisseurs say this is the most amazing part of the softshell turtle. As the turtle grows, part of the nutrients is converted into this dense collection of collagen at the perimeter of the carapace. When cooked, it looks like jelly and a good carapace is a little chewy, instead of melting in the mouth.
Traditional Chinese herbalists use this part of the carapace as a Chinese herb remedy, in powder form or as pieces of jelly known as Guilinggao.
Turtle soup is best when a drop or two of cognac is added. It is believed that the herbs in the soup, combined with this libation, will transform the soup dish into a killer aphrodisiac.
Though I always bring along a minibar-size bottle of Martell Cordon Bleu when I go for my turtle soup, I’ve never found that to be true.
A bowl of vegetable rice is often an accompaniment. Soup and rice and that’s a very satisfying lunch!
NOTE: Turtles sold in Singapore are not endangered and are approved by the authorities for human consumption. This is a species that originated from Japan, but now bred in farms.