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Monday, November 19, 2012

375 Congee & Noodle House, Chatswood

congee with thousand year egg and pork, sticky rice, you tiao and vegetables at 375 congee noodle house, chatswood

Take a handful of rice, cook it for hours in plenty of stock and you end up with congee or rice porridge, a soul-reviving elixir that will cure all your ills. Whether you’re sick, seedy or ridiculously hung-over, congee is the Chinese version of penicillin. Rice porridge may not sound terribly exciting but that all changes after you add a deep-fried Chinese doughnut to the picture. See. That got your attention.

Congee is traditionally eaten for breakfast, but really it can be eaten any time. It’s one of the specialties at 375 Congee and Noodle House in Chatswood, bare bones in décor but cheerfully chaotic with Chinese couples, friends and families getting their congee fix.

congee at 375 congee noodle house, chatswood
Congee with pork and thousand year old egg

The magic of congee is what you add to it. Deep-fried Chinese doughnuts ($2.50) – yau char kwai in Cantonese or youtiao in Mandarin – are just one delight you can add, fluffy mouthfuls of crunch best dunked quickly in the rice porridge and eaten before it becomes completely soggy.

Scoop right down to the bottom of the bowl to get to all the good stuff – your choice of chicken, minced beef, fish, seafood or pork and thousand-year-old egg, a sulphurous egg cured in lime that tastes far better than it smells. The congee comes in a bowl for one ($5.50-$10.50) or a cavernous pot ($8.50-$14.50) to share. The congee set menus ($21.80-$28.80) offer even better value, with variations of Chinese doughnuts, vegetables, sticky rice and noodles included.

lemon cola at 375 congee noodle house, chatswood
Lemon cola $3.50 and mango green tea jelly $4

The four-page menu offers no shortage of other, non-congee options, from Hong Kong café classics like baked seafood spaghetti in Portuguese sauce ($14.50) to 18 types of sizzling hot plates, from Mongolian lamb to king prawns in garlic sauce (both $15.50).

stir fried salmon head in xo sauce at 375 congee noodle house, chatswood
Stir fried salmon head in XO sauce $15.80

On the Chef’s Suggestions list, stir-fried salmon head in XO sauce ($15.80) is our pick of the lot, a jumble of deep-fried salmon chunks coated in sweet and spicy XO made from dried scallops, dried shrimp, chilli and garlic.

chinese pickles with pipis chiu chow style at 375 congee noodle house, chatswood
Chinese pickles with pipis Chiu Chow style $17.80

We tried Chiu Chow-style pipis with Chinese pickles -- a wallop of vinegar, garlic and chilli that wasn't quite what we expected. 

braised beef in clear noodle soup at 375 congee noodle house, chatswood
Braised beef in clear noodle soup $9

The Chiu Chow section offers a large selection of noodle soups, too. Braised beef in clear noodle soup ($9) is the most popular, and with good reason. You’ll be rewarded with a clear sweet broth filled with a huddle of slippery rice noodles and slices of tender and gelatinous beef.

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375 Congee & Noodle House
375 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9884 8233

Opening hours:
Monday to Sunday 9am-10pm

This article appears in the November 2012 issue of Time Out Sydney in my monthly Food & Drink column Eat This! [Read online

Read more Time Out Sydney reviews
20 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 11/19/2012 01:39:00 am


  • At 11/19/2012 6:51 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Oh lord I love congee. If I ever find somewhere to sublet here in Canada, I'm sure I'll be surviving winter partly based on large bowls of congee with smoked salmon, spinach, ginger and chilli, as is my wont. Have never had the doughnuts yet, though! The trials of never having had "real" congee :)

  • At 11/19/2012 8:08 am, Anonymous john@heneedsfood said…

    I still haven't got my tastebuds around the congee concept. I'm not one for regular oat porridge so perhaps that has something to do with it. As for the salmon head in XO, aiyoooh, I'd be tucking into that in no time

  • At 11/19/2012 8:51 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    ahhh congee. it's like one giant hug.

  • At 11/19/2012 9:17 am, Blogger Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said…

    Ah the classic pork and century egg congee. Gotta love that stuff!

  • At 11/19/2012 10:25 am, Blogger Jacq said…

    One of my favourite congee places in Chatswood. Can't go past the sets for a filling lunch, and we always get extra doughnuts coz they make them pretty good here!

  • At 11/19/2012 12:50 pm, Anonymous Eha said…

    It must have taken me a decade of trips to Singapore and all points north ere I could make congee breakfast and actually love it and 'need' it! Nice menu all around actually!

  • At 11/19/2012 2:16 pm, Anonymous gaby @ lateraleating said…

    Congee is in my list of foods I need to try at least once. The soup at the bottom is the perfect picture of comfort food for me.

  • At 11/19/2012 3:30 pm, Anonymous Nic@diningwithastud said…

    That damn deep fried dough gets me every time *drool* lol. I am slightly ashamed to say I have never eaten congee before :( I need to! I feel its my path as a food blogger haha

  • At 11/20/2012 1:20 am, Blogger YaYa said…

    Damn, now I'll never be able to get into this place again;-)

  • At 11/20/2012 7:38 am, Anonymous Mary @ beyondjelly said…

    While I love the deep fried doughnuts in theory, I've never been able to stomach them for breakfast... Although the ones in your pic look less greasy than what I've come across, so maybe it's time to try again. ;)

  • At 11/20/2012 3:06 pm, Anonymous Miss K @ The CK DIary said…

    I just had congee 4 days straight (food poisoning). For some reason I still find this appetising :)

  • At 11/21/2012 12:22 am, Anonymous Sara - Belly Rumbles said…

    I am still trying to love congee, I really am. Maybe it's due to not dunking the crispy donuts in to it? Have had the donuts before but just not with congee. I am really doing it all wrong.

  • At 11/21/2012 4:25 am, Blogger CQUEK said…

    it would be my favourite breakfast.

  • At 11/21/2012 7:43 am, Anonymous currybadger said…

    The braised beef dish looks delicious.

  • At 11/21/2012 4:18 pm, Blogger Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    I absolutely love congee. I could eat it at any time, any where in any weather. It must be an asian thing.

  • At 11/21/2012 9:19 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Oh that congee reminds me of Saturday lunches at home with my mom and dad. A really good congee is almost the texture of rice paste. The use of broken rice is a must! Yum.

  • At 11/22/2012 10:17 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Oh I love congee, it is so simple and comforting! Just delicious. All the food looks so good, I am hungry now :)

  • At 11/23/2012 10:01 am, Anonymous Christine @ Cooking Crusade said…

    Ooh yum. Congee has been a longtime fave of mine and my Mum makes a great Filipino version as well. I love visiting Superbowl in China Town for their congee as well - such a cheap, delicious and filling meal :)

  • At 12/04/2012 12:53 am, Anonymous Alana said…

    After reading this past midnight I have never wanted congee more in my life. HNNNGH.

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