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Monday, April 05, 2010

Claypot King, Melbourne

What food do you crave when you're feeling ill?

More often than not, it's a dish that harks back to your childhood. Something simple and comforting with clean flavours that arent overly complex.

After two days of non-stop gluttony in Melbourne, Billy and I were already starting to feel a little green around the gills. A post-dinner snack of caramel-filled churros followed by Lord of the Fries hot chips with melted cheese and gravy? Guilty. Did I mention what was dinner? Just a feast of epic proportions at MoVida Aqui. It's true - our gluttony knows no bounds.

On Saturday night, dinner was mostly made up of chocolate, furtively nibbled during the murder mystery evening held at Koko Black. No wonder then, that Billy puts in a bid for claypot chicken for supper. "I need Chinese food," he wails.

Iced lemon tea $3.20

We end up at Claypot King, a brightly lit casual eatery on Swanston Street. The drinks menu includes Hong Kong classics like iced milo, soy bean milk and Coke with lemon as well as fruit smoothies like durian, avocado and an unusual combination of avocado and mango.

Salted fish and chicken claypot rice $10.50

The claypot rice menu is extensive but Billy only has eyes for the salted fish and chicken. The steamed white rice, hot and fluffy, is served in a heated claypot that should ideally crisp the bottom edges of the rice. A wicker basket acts as a trivet and insulator. Billy revels in the salty dried fish and plump slices of chicken.

Hainanese chicken rice $9.20

Apart from congee rice porridge, my go-to food when I'm feeling under the weather is Hainanese chicken rice. The white-poached chicken is soft and succulent, and the accompanying ginger and shallot sauce seems to possess restorative qualities for my system. Even the sprigs of coriander seem to rejuvenate the soul.

Ginger and shallots with chilli sauce

A mound of chicken rice, cooked in chicken stock, is sweet and sustaining. We sigh as we eat, our shoulders relaxing with every mouthful. Rice swells in our bellies like the warmth of a late afternoon sun.

"I feel so much better now," I say to Billy, as we get the bill. "I really needed that."

We stumble into the night, rejuvenated.

What food do you crave when you're feeling ill?

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Claypot King on Urbanspoon

Claypot King
209 Swanston St, Melbourne, Victoria
Tel: +61
(03) 9662 3222

Opening hours:
Open 7 days 11am - 3am

Grab Your Fork visited Melbourne as a guest of Tourism Victoria for the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. We visited Claypot King anonymously and paid for our meals personally.

> Read the next Melbourne post (Abbotsford Convent Bakery breadmaking workshop)
< Go back to the first Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2010 post

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Melbourne - Lord of the Fries
Melbourne - Madame Brussels
Melbourne - MoVida Aqui
Melbourne - Red Spice Road
24 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 4/05/2010 02:06:00 am


  • At 4/05/2010 2:43 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Congee, except this was never a part of my childhood (Anglo family alert!). With lots of ginger, coriander, garlic, and chilli, and maybe some smoked trout flaked on top, it speaks of comfort to me.

    So it was fun to read congee is one of yours, too, and that the same aromatics appeal (in your chicken option).

    Now that I think about it... also oatmeal. With a drizzle of maple syrup and peanut butter melting over the top.

    P.S. My word verification is "foode". Brilliant!

  • At 4/05/2010 3:12 am, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    oh cool. i'll have to remember this place for chicken rice in melbs. looks pretty good and seems to have the right sauces to match the tender chicken which looks boneless :-) i'm still searching for the best in Sydney.

  • At 4/05/2010 7:24 am, Blogger Sydney Shop Girl said…

    Yes! I'm a haninanese chicken rice fan too. We had to have Chinese as well last night - after all the excesses of the weekend.

    SSG xxx

  • At 4/05/2010 7:27 am, Anonymous Mark @ Cafe Campana said…

    Both of these dishes look very good. I like eating massive bowls of pasta when I am feeling ill. Your eating trip to Melbourne sounds like a good time and even your not so sinful trip to Claypot King looked good too. Do you think the title of King is hereditary or did the Claypot King win it in a uber battle for chicken rice supremacy.

  • At 4/05/2010 8:30 am, Blogger foodwink said…

    This post speaks my language. I crave hainanese chicken rice all the time ;-) And thanks to you, I'm now craving salted fish and chicken claypot rice! Do you know any restaurant that does this dish well in Sydney?

  • At 4/05/2010 8:36 am, Anonymous billy @ a table for two said…

    I was dying for something salty after eating nothing but chocolate since 7pm until 9pm!!!

    big chunks of salty fish.. so gooooooddd

  • At 4/05/2010 9:02 am, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Congee! Fried rice made with just egg and spring onions...scrambled eggs on toast =p

  • At 4/05/2010 9:46 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I crave for congee when I am sick. What sydney is lacking is a place for claypot rice! Let me know if you found one :)

  • At 4/05/2010 10:07 am, Anonymous Simon @ the heart of food said…

    I know how Billy feels, with the need for salty after a lot of sweet.

    For me, it tends to be soupy/stewy stuff that is light & fairly neutral tasting, like congee, some variation of ochazuke or the like.

  • At 4/05/2010 10:34 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    Totally with you on the chicken rice or congee for when you're feeling sick. Especially congee, that was my baby food!

  • At 4/05/2010 11:07 am, Blogger Kristy Sayer-Jones @ Southern In Law said…

    I always crave salty foods when I'm feeling ill. Salty, bland foods and loads of fresh fruit and vegetables.
    So that's what I'm currently eating after a weekend full of rich food, cakes and chocolate.

  • At 4/05/2010 11:28 am, Anonymous lis said…

    chicken rice.. congee with fermented tofu :)

    while you're in melb..you should check out Old Raffles Place for their dark soy chai tau kueh..

  • At 4/05/2010 12:10 pm, Blogger Fouad @ The Food Blog said…

    mloukhiyyeh with rice, apple cider vinegar and shallots does me just fine. But a plain chicken soup also does the trick

  • At 4/05/2010 12:21 pm, Anonymous Jacq said…

    Aw I get cravings for Chinese food as well when I'm on holidays and I haven't had any homely Asian meals for a while! I get cravings for soup when I'm feeling sick, particularly chicken soup with lots of vegetables!

  • At 4/05/2010 12:35 pm, Blogger marloperry said…

    Oh, I'm really bad when I'm sick. I eat foods that will be detrimental to my health rather than inspire my immune system to toughen up.

    For me it's usually a bag full of junk from the servo and cuddles with my dog on the couch.

    Other than that- something really spicy to clear my stuffy sinuses haha

  • At 4/05/2010 2:52 pm, Anonymous JC said…

    Sydney claypot rice can be found at First Taste, Hurstville and more recently Chong Hing restaurant, Kingsford.

  • At 4/05/2010 4:12 pm, Anonymous Veruca Salt said…

    Mother always made us plain congee with a tiny bit of mince pork for sweetness. Even when I was going thru my vegetarian phase.

  • At 4/05/2010 4:14 pm, Anonymous ChibbiestChan said…

    Pho dac biet with extra herbage seems to be me thru the rough seas. I also seem to crave pork rolls when I'm feeling ill.

  • At 4/05/2010 4:17 pm, Anonymous Speedy said…

    It's gotta be pork mince congee or chicken mien (cellaphane vermicelli in a chicken broth), shredded chicken and finely chopped coriander, shallots and sawtooth coriander.

  • At 4/05/2010 7:33 pm, Anonymous Esz said…

    I like Claypot King - Very nice :-)

    When I feel ill I generally don't eat much at all. And I don't get ill very often so I'm having a hard time remembering what I like eating then.

    I am partial to things like pastries. I can never say no to a good croissant - especially if it has ham and cheese melted inside. Mmmmm

  • At 4/05/2010 9:58 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I dunno about when I am sick but I am craving hainan chicken rice very badly right now mmmmm

  • At 4/05/2010 10:40 pm, Anonymous penny aka jeroxie said…

    After a day of ramen eating today, we broke it by having a chocolate. Just need to break the cycle a little.
    When I am unwell, it is either soup or congee. but sometimes I crave for ice cream

  • At 4/06/2010 2:22 am, Anonymous Trissa said…

    I don't have just one particular comfort food but congee and hainanese chicken would be in the top 10. I can just imagine you and Billy having that comforting meal and then the next day overloading on the rich stuff again! :)

  • At 4/07/2010 3:40 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Hannah - Oh I'm so impressed that your comfort food is congee. The idea of peanut butter on oatmeal is intriguing - must try it sometime, perfect timing too giving that winter is only around the corner!

    And lol, love your word verification!

    Hi Simon Food Favourites - There were bones in the chicken but I prefer it that way. More flavour!

    Hi Sydney Shop Girl - It's funny how soothing certain dishes can be. A post-Easter Chinese feast sounds perfect too.

    Hi Mark - I'm guessing the Claypot King moniker was self-proclaimed. lol. Pasta is a good one when you're feeling ill. Funny how we all turn to carbs!

    Hi foodwink - lol. I'm glad you speak my language too! I don't order salted fish and chicken claypot much but lucky for you and me both, looks like JC has come to the rescue with his suggestions on where to go!

    Hi Billy - Yes, salt was definitely needed after a dinner of chocolate. I'm still not as big a fan of salty fish as you though. lol. But a rice fix was definitely what we both needed!

    Hi Mademoiselle Delicieuse - Oh I love all of those dishes. I always add heaps of egg when I make fried rice - my favourite part!

    Hi Ellie - Ahh congee is such good comfort food isn't it? I think it's also very easily digested too. JC looks to have found a few claypot leads - will have to check them out myself soon.

    Hi Simon - I rarely have ochazuke except at Japanese restaurants but I agree that soft foods that are mild in flavour are always the order of the day when you're feeling under the weather.

    Hi Stephcookie - Ahh baby food. Congee is always good. Of course the fried bread, deep-fried shallots and century egg can sometimes come in handy too!

    Hi Kristy Sayer - Oh yes, fruits and vegetables. I often subconsciously crave fruit and salads when I know I need a vitamin boost. After the Easter Show I came home to a big salad. Followed by, er, chocolate. lol

    Hi lis - I've yet to really get into fermented tofu but I am trying :) We were only in Melbourne for a weekend but thanks for the tip - will have to check out Old Raffles Place on our next visit!

    Hi Fouad - I do find mloukhiyyeh intriguing. I quite like a Vietnamese dish my friend's mum makes that is a soup version with fresh picked crab. Chicken soup is always great too.

    Hi Jacq - Ha, it's always interesting to monitor how long you can go without rice before you start getting cravings! I love chunky soup too - big fat discs of carrot are always my favourite.

    Hi marloperry - lol. I like your style! I do hear you on the chilli blast to clear your sinuses. Often it works a treat!

    Hi JC - Thanks so much for your tips. Will have to check these out soon!

    Hi Veruca Salt - I like the idea of using pork mince in congee. I find fresh shallots seem to perk me up. I still find it hard to believe you were ever vegetarian too :)

    Hi ChibbiestChan - Mmm pho dac biet is good for the soul, and I hear you on the herbage. I find I crave pork rolls when I'm feeling seedy too - I think it's the coriander that makes everything so much better!

    Hi Speedy - Ooh chicken mien sounds great. I am sensing a coriander trend. It must have health-reviving properties!

    Hi Esz - I definitely know I'm sick when I start to lose my appetite. Always a sad state of affairs. I believe that crossiants have helped many through tough times too!

    Hi Trissa - Were you spying on us? lol. Actually you just know us too well!


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