When you need something comforting on a rainy day, a bowl of congee is the way to go. Congee is a 24/7 inexpensive meal in a bowl and perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner or to wrap up a fun evening at 2am.
When it comes to something like congee and its many forms, every day can be a congee day! If you’re not familiar with congee, it’s a type of soup or more specifically, a rice porridge. It consists of rice being boiled in a large amount of water until it breaks down and becomes very soft and porridge-like. It’s an inexpensive meal which can be prepared overnight and eaten at any time of the day. It can be served plain, but where’s the fun in that?
A perfect accompaniment to congee is “Youtiao” known as Chinese donuts. They are strips of deep-fried dough that come pre-cut or cut at the table with scissors and they are perfect for dipping or just eaten on their own! Congee can be served in any number of ways so I decided to explore a handful of the places that have congee on the menu.
No. 9 Restaurant
Don’t let the five menus overwhelm you when you first get seated. It’s a lot of reading material and there is anything you could possibly want, including over 20 different kinds of congee. I’ve been to No, 9 a few times because of its convenience, it’s a huge restaurant that’s open 24 hours and it’s right beside the Landsdowne station. Their Honey BBQ Pork with rice is one of my favourites dishes, so I decided I wanted to try it with congee. Unfortunately, they were out Chinese donuts which is a good sign for their popularity, but not so good for my taste testing. I will happily return another day.
The good news is that their congee is really good. I prefer congee that is a little more on the creamy, thicker side and that is certainly the case at No. 9. They range in price from $6.55 to $8.35 with the plain one being $3.65. I’d had the congee with shrimp and beef before but the congee with honey BBQ pork was so good! Congee is prepared plain and then served with whatever you’ve chosen so it can take on many different tastes. The pork is sweet and tender which flavoured the congee so nicely. For some additional texture, it’s typically served with peanuts and is a perfect crunchy compliment to the soft texture.
The servings are very generous and one bowl can easily be split between four people which allows you to order lots more dishes! As it’s in the Lansdowne Shopping Centre, there is a ton of free parking. And lastly, it’s cash only and although they do have an ATM, just come prepared with cash!
No. 9 Restaurant
Lansdowne Shopping Centre
5300 No.3 Road
Richmond, BC, V6X 2X9
Tai Hing Congee and Noodle House
Tai Hing is a small restaurant that makes you feel right at home when you walk through the front door and greeted with a smile. I think because it’s not in a major Richmond mall and because it has more of a “Mom and Pop” feel to it, their prices are a slightly less expensive than No. 9. I opted for the Sliced Beef congee which was on their Special Menu for $5.85 and their Chinese dounts.
I think my expectations were higher because they are a “Congee” house and they didn’t disappoint. If the congee at No. 9 was on the thick side, I would say that congee at Tai Hing wasn’t too thick or too thin, but just right. It was full of well-seasoned tender beef which had been sliced very thinly.
As for the donuts, I’m not sure if it was because it was nearing closing time, but they weren’t super crispy and a little on the dense side. I like when they’re really crispy and airy as they make it easier to dip. I will definitely be going back for more congee, so I will give the donuts another try.
Tai Hing Congee and Noodle House
8075 Park Road
Richmond, BC, V6Y 2C1
During a recent post, I tackled a bunch of the great food court options in the Aberdeen Centre Food Court. However, if you’re looking for some sit-down restaurant options for anywhere from 2 to 10 people, Fisherman’s Terrace is a great choice! If you’re looking for a large offering of dim sum items, you’ve come to the right place. I was focused on my congee search, but a glance at the tables around me had all the customary dishes you’d expect to find for dim sum.
When you sit down, you’re presented with a double-sided checklist of 75 items and you just start checking off the dishes you want. The dishes range in price from $3.95 to $5.95. They don’t have many congee options, but it was perfect because the one they did have sounded great! For $4.95, out came a very good sized bowl of Chai Fish and Spareribs congee.
On the thin to thick continuum, I would say this congee was on the thin side, it just wasn’t as creamy as I’d like it. I know that some people prefer it that way, it’s a personal preference. I did really enjoy the spareribs in the soup. You definitely have to be careful not to bite too hard but they were soft and the meat came right off the bone. What I really enjoyed though were the Chinese Donuts wrapped in rice noodle served with dried pork ($5.55) accompanied with hoisin and peanut butter. The crispy dough and the soft noodle dipped in peanut sauce is the perfect combination! As for the dried pork or (pork floss), it’s just cool and tastes great. It goes well with the donuts, with the soup or simply on its own. It’s the pork version of cotton candy. Homer Simpson doesn’t know what he’s missing out on!
Fisherman’s Terrace (3rd Floor)
4151 Hazelbridge Way,
Just like No.9, Double Double has a ton of congee options (and lots of other dishes) to choose from. The Seafood congee was calling out to me this time and I’m glad it was. For $7.50, a very large bowl of congee was presented complete with very crunchy peanuts. When it says seafood or meat, you’re never quite sure what you’ll get, so it’s a bit of a mystery when you scoop our your first spoonful. To my delight, this bowl of congee came complete with shrimp, squid, scallops and fish. Of the four that I ate, this one was by far the creamiest and thickest. I found it very flavourful and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Like the other places, the Chinese donuts ($2.25) were a must have and these came out piping hot and our server cut them into smaller pieces at our table with scissors. I would definitely say they were made to order and they were perfect for dipping. On the menu, they have the option of sweet or salty Chinese donut, I opted for the salty and while they were good, I didn’t notice anything particularly salty about them.
And a word to the wise, they’re also a cash only restaurant.
128 – 4600 No. 3 Road
Richmond, BC, V6X4E8
When a bowl of congee and an order of donuts costs can easily feed up to four people while coming in under $10, you know you’re definitely on to something special. Whether on its own or part of a huge dim sum feast, congee is the perfect compliment to any meal on any day, rain or shine.
About Our Guest Writer: Ethan Adeland is a freelance food and travel writer and the voice behind Feeding Ethan. He shares his honest adventures in the kitchen, behind the camera or iPhone and wherever his travels may take him. He has never turned down an opportunity to Instagram a sunset or his next meal.