Congee: Gone Oriental

North Park Superior Congee

Over the course of the past two years, people around me have been telling me that I’ve developed something of a fascination with Chinese culture and cuisine.  Of course, whenever people tell me this to my face, I tell them it’s because an overwhelming number of the friends I’ve made happen to be Chinese and I myself have a small fraction of a Chinese bloodline courtesy of my paternal great-grandmother.

Naturally, that’s the story I stick to in public.  Those of you who know me very well know that there is a deeper, er, darker, more nefarious reason why.  :p  But, again, I digress…

In the aftermath of the rich, European excesses of the Yuletide Season, I wanted to eat something filling but without such encumbrances as tomatoes, olives, potatoes, olive oil, and chorizos de Bilbao.  And, ironically, I didn’t want to have any noodles either thanks to the spaghetti pomodoro from Christmas Eve which got turned into Pork Stroganoff for the next day’s Christmas supper.

Again, as in the many times I’ve sought edible comfort, my go-to meal was a thick, savory, steamy-hot bowl of congee, this time from North Park.

For P 171.00 (US$ 3.73), you get a bowl of rice porridge cooked in a properly-seasoned chicken broth and topped with partially shredded leeks.  Of course, that’s not where the goodness ends because you also get all of the following in your bowl:

  • sliced century eggs
  • poached lapu-lapu fillet
  • tender sliced of pork
  • poached beef slices
  • chicken slivers
  • a few Pacific clams
  • julienned Szechuan [salt-cured] vegetables
  • poached prawns
  • meatballs made with chicken mince and ground pork
  • crisp-fried wonton skins to scatter over the surface or stir into the bowl
  • your choice of a boiled egg or a fresh egg that poaches in the porridge whilst you eat

Not a bad deal, certainly satisfying – and no, I’m not sharing the bowl with anyone!  Go get your own!