I originally had noble nutritional intentions, ordering the cleansing, life-giving comfort food of congee--essentially minimal rice cooked in a big pot of water or chicken stock until you get a watery rice porridge.
Plain congee fat content = negligible.
But as any self-respecting congee fan will tell you, having congee without you zha gui is like a meat pie without sauce, bread without butter, apple pie without ice-cream. Sure technically it can be done, but will your abandoned tastebuds ever forgive your betrayal?
Plain congee + 2 sticks of you zha gui fat content = moderate.
But surely you may as well order a main to share as well. Say, like...
Deep-fried squid with spicy salt $11.80
Plain congee + 2 sticks of you zha gui + deep fried squid fat content = significant.
In retrospect I probably should have ordered seafood or chicken congee which would have arrived with far more interesting ingredients to trawl through, and come with shallots and deep-fried onion shards. However I was somewhat inhibited by the complete absence of congee from the menu. Apart from a banner on the outside restaurant facade, one presumes congee enquirers are expected to make conversation with the waiter--intimidating for many at the best of times.
But congee is one of the big drawcards here if the nearby table occupants were any indication. Families, couples and even a couple of non-Asians in the know were chowing down into communal bowls of congee so huge they almost merited their own postcode.
I livened up my plain congee by adding soy sauce, chilli sauce and the shallots and chilli shrapnel from the deep fried squid dish.
The you zha gui were freshly fried and crispy, although probably not as good as the freshly kneaded and fried ones at Mother Chu's.
The squid was relatively tender but I tend to prefer my squid with a heavier coating of flour and much crispier.
Having said that, we ate till we could eat no more.
Then we ate a little more.
Sigh factor = considerable.
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11/23/2004 11:59:00 p.m.