Thursday, October 01, 2009

Congee season is here

Walking out into the crisp, chill autumn air, looking for lunch, it hit me. Congee season is here.

You don't have to be Chinese to call this savory rice porridge a soulful comfort food. You just have to be hungry for Asian flavors, wonderful contrasts in texture, and a warm, satisfying glow in your tummy.

In the ID, Homestyle Hong Kong Cafe serves up a burbling, bubbling stone pot filled with the porridge. No Scottish witches here. The cauldron I ordered came with century egg and pork slices, but you can order more flavor variations here than you shake a stick at. Don't forget to also order a side of Chinese donuts to dip into the pot.

Century egg is a preserved egg that looks like something you would find in a Klingon ship's galley. Nestled in the creamy, white porridge, it's purplish hue rises like dorsal tip of a whale just breaking the surface. It's gelatinous texture and creamy yolk complement the rice porridge and also play off the crunchy texture of julienned pickled ginger.

Love that ginger. It's crunch and hot spice pop in your mouth next to the silky pork slices. All the ingredients come together in an umami oomph to the creamy porridge that soaks it up in every spoonful.

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