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Jook Joints?

  • k

Not the type Quincy Jones sings about, but places that serve rice porridge or congee.

My thread on lefteover rice and Margarets recent post about a jook joint (see link) have given me a craving to try this.

Besides good places to go, how do I eat this. Do you just get a bowl with everything mixed in or is this one of the mix it yourself deals?

Do you order anything else with it? It seems one post mentioned some sort of donut.

Is there a time of day to eat this? i have this impression it is a breakfast food.

What should good jook taste like? Margaret mentioned it should not be too runny.

Anyway what is your favorite type of jook at your favorite jook joint ...

Plsces I've seen mentioned are
Bow Hon on grant
Hing Lung
Washington St. Bakery

What is yau tieu?

p.s. how expensive is it?

Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

Image: http://www2c.airnet.ne.jp/stevie/QUIN...

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  1. "What is yau tieu?"

    One picture is worth 10,000 words.


    Image: http://shanghaisoup.com/xiaolong/yout...

    7 Replies
    1. re: Gary Soup

      oh, i'm hungry now! :)

      there is also a version -- zah leung -- that has these donuts wrapped in thin rice noodles with a dousing of sesame seeds and mild soy mixture. my mom's favorite!!

      1. re: vespaloon

        They sell those noodle wrapped doughnuts at the little jook place on Noriega near the Safeway (30th Ave. or so) that has a purple sign. This place also has some great shrimp-filled (about 5 shrimp in each) dumplings.

        1. re: Nancy Berry

          Would that be Ming Tai on Noriega and 32nd?

          Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            That's the one, Melanie. Ming Tai on Noriega at 32nd Ave. Cash only.

            1. re: Nancy Berry

              It was your reminder that sent me to Noriega for lunch yesterday. But the lure of duck steered me away from Ming Tai...wish I'd been there instead.

        2. re: vespaloon

          Couldn't resist going to Fat Wong's again today because they didn't have the steamed rice noodles the other night. The "zah Leung" at Fat Wong is incredible ($3.50 for three strips, cut into 4 pieces each). The rice noodle is made on location...very thin and very smooth. The YauTieu in the middle is thin, chewy and not greasy. I LOVED it. This place is known for the Zah Leung, along with their jook. They have something like 8 kinds of steamed rice noodles (Cheung Fun). We ordered two: (1)bitter melon w/chicken and (2) Sliced fish with cilantro. I have to say the steamed rice noodles are one of the very best I've ever tasted..including those from HK. The woman who makes it makes this all day until 9:00pm, I believe. The fillings were alright...good but the outstanding part of these dishes is definitely the steamed riced noodles. I am pretty hard to impress but this place is now my favorite destination restaurant for small eats. By the way, their wontons & dumplings were ok.., very good in fact, but not something I need to go here for. We saw some people eat a stewed beef over wonton noodles that looked promising. The stewed beef were sliced thin and in a savory broth, rather than the usual brown anise gravy.

        3. re: Gary Soup

          Mmmmm...yum. What a wonderful picture. Thank you for sharing!

          For the original poster: Youtiao is a basic dough (meaning it's neither sweet nor savory) that's deep fried in these big strips until it's golden brown with lots of bubbles in it for extra crisp. It's also tasty dunked in warm, sweetened soy milk.

        4. Daimo, by the Pacific Mall in El Cerrito/Richmond offers Chinese breakfasts and has a lot of jook options. Also the fried bread. Jook and Chinese donuts are just about the cheapest things you can get in a Chinese restaurant.

          1. krys,
            the places you listed are primarily Cantonese in nature (Hing Lung is known for their jook)- the consistency is usually slightly thickened but not thick...creamy from the breaking down of the rice/starch....the basic jook is usually mildly flavored with stock or bones, etc. but then is garnished with whatever ingredients you order. But jook/congee is enjoyed in countries all over Asia and there are distinct / or not so distinct regional variations. Maybe someone else will be able to fill in some more details but I think the Taiwanese jook is a bit thicker and relatively bland but it is accompanied by a variety of toppings: peanuts, dried fishies, preserved vegetables, salted egg, etc..... Thais have their version also....

            3 Replies
            1. re: gordon wing

              I've tried the Filipino version - called arroz caldo - at a few places. Looser with more whole rice, and so far the chicken broths used in the base have been intensely fantastic. I imagine that places like Jollibee's and ChowKing have lot of bones and extra parts from their fried chicken business that go into the stock pot to create this richness.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                sounds very good - will have to stop next time I am near a Jollibee's.

              2. re: gordon wing

                I think Taiwan Point in the Richmond area of SF has porridge and also toppings too, though I've never tried their version. Years ago, the porridge with topping was a very "in" cuisine. Lots of Taiwanese restaurants in LA served porridge exclusively.

              3. Jook has many different forms . In San Francisco’s Chinatown the version is Cantonese which is like no other. The Cantonese like there jook creamy or in Chinese the rice will open like a flower. When you ask in your jook post on the other board I reply you will not get that use cooked rice as a starter. You only can get that with starting with uncooked rice.

                But to you question Hing Lung is mostly likely your best bet at this time. I recommend there fish jook with a side order of the fried bread, Soy Sauce King Chow Mien and a dish of rice noodle wrap fried bread. I will have to let someone else try to write down how to say it. You may have to invite someone along to help you finish the side dishes. Two fried bread and chow mien will add crispy items to your jook. The jook there has a very good stock base. Jook is taken from a large pot and ingredients are added to create the version you want. But the most important thing is the jook starter. The ingredients add favor but you need a good soup.

                The just closed King Tein was also good. I dislike the service, but the jook was very good and so cheap. They had meal deals on the wall in Chinese (what else) that offer fried bread and rice noodle rolls for under 4 bucks. There bread was good but not nearly as good as HIng Lung.

                But I am sure that everyone will have there own favorite which I sure they will share.

                If you go to the South Bay then you will be able to get the Vietnamese version, Taiwan version and Northern China version. I do not care for them as much but that is because I grown on the Cantonese version. There is not way to settle which is better. It is like a Wild Turkey drinker telling a Jim Beam drinker that his is better. Not settlement there.

                The cost of the jook will depend on the ingredients but 5 bucks a bowl is about right.

                1. Krys,

                  I think jook is like spaghetti sauce in the sense that there must be hundreds of permutation for each region, depending on preferences. Like Yimster said, the ones you mentioned are cantonese. I can summarize the varieties as follows:

                  1. Cantonese: The base to the cantonese jook is the most important part of the dish. It is usually made with somekind of meat broth. There is a version call white porridege which just had gingho nut and dried tofu skin and maybe some dried scallops. Many people like to eat this version with the fried dough for breakfast. However, jook can be eaten anytime during the day...but mostly for breakfast, lunch or night cap. My kids like their home made jook very thick...something I dislike. I like mine a bit runny. so you'd have to try different renditions to gauge your preferences. Ingredients are added raw to boiling jook base to make jook in restaurants. My favorites are Hing Lung on Broadway in SF and Fat Wong's in San Bruno. (Although the jook I had at Fat Wong today was a tat too thick for me...but I like soupier jook). Broadway Bistro in Millbrae has this chopped DRIED oyster jook with thousand year old eggs which is uniques which I crave at times.

                  2. Chiew Jow jook. The jook from this province are very runny. Cooked rice is added to boiling broth or boiling water to get a soup of sort. The rice remains whole. This version is eaten with food on the side. A small dish of chopped dried daikon is served on the side as well. A good place to try this is the Chiew Jow restaurant called "Mun Kee"? on the corner of 23rd Ave & Noriega. You order the Chiew Jow Jook and order small eats on the side...such as salt & pepper white fish, fried oyster pancake, etc. The food is acceptable here..

                  3. Taiwanese jook. I can't say I know everything about this one but the version I've had has yam in a similar watery rice mixture. You also eat this with Taiwanese small eats. Yimster recently had this at 5A's in Burlingame. Another very good place for this is at "Wong Wong Jook" in the Cupertino shopping center off Wolf Road, where the 99 Ranch is. You should go during week days at lunch, when you can order their lunch special. You get to pick three small eat items and they bring you all the taiwanese jooks you can eat. $4.95 Very good.

                  I think my thread is getting way way too long. Sorry. I hope this info helps.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Margret

                    No apologies, thanks for the info.

                    I've had Vietnamese versions - chao - a few times now, and it's in the Teochew (chiew jow) mold. Many of the ethnic Chinese in Vietnam are Teochew, so I guess this makes sense. I looked back at my post on the chao vit I tried in San Jose (link below), and the rice porridge and the green dipping sauce are exactly in Teochew style.

                    The place on Noriega in Men Kee Wonton. As you say, it's acceptable.

                    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                  2. In Oakland Chinatown, our favorite place for jook is Gold Medal on 8th, we usually get the thousand year old egg and shredded chicken version. They used to offer a fixed price breakfast of a large bowl of jook and two sides like yu tiao wrapped in rice noodle and a small plate of stir fried rice noodles for $4.99. Haven't gone in a while, not sure if they still offer that. Jook is normally a breakfast item, though can be a nice midnight snack (xiao ye).

                    Northerners usually eat plain jook (xi fan) with little salty items like fried peanuts, pickled cucumbers, salted duck eggs, etc. on the side.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: anli

                      Several jook choices at Gold Medal that I like:

                      fish jook: slices of raw fish are put into the boiling jook, and are fully cooked by the time they get to your table. Great comfort food --easy to eat, very nutritious, a bit bland.

                      pork liver and kidney jook: same idea, raw slices which get cooked in the jook. They put lots of shredded ginger in it.

                      They offer eighteen different "rice soups." We also like the preserved egg and pork jook (similar to the one you mentioned). Prices range from $3 to $5.

                      My aged mother, who cannot chew very well, has invented a dish: she orders plain jook and wonton soup and mixes them half-and-half.

                      So get your spoon, and explore the jook.

                    2. 'yau tieu' as it is pronounced in chinese literally means 'oil stick'

                      'yau' pronounced in chinese means 'oil' in english

                      'tieu' pronounced in chinese means 'stick'

                      thus , yau tieu literally means a stick of oil !

                      if you put a piece of yau tieu on a paper napkin , the paper napkin will be full of oil grease in a minute or so because of the stick of oil driping its oil from the stick onto the napkin.

                      20 Replies
                      1. re: COTS

                        I prefer the colorful old timer name that translates as "deep-fried devils", referring to the mythology behind these sticks of fried dough. But the countermen look at you like you're from Mars if you ask for a yau jiao gwei these days. Another tradition fading away.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          thanks for the head's up - I'm so behind the times....I didn't know that "oil fried devils" was out of vogue these days! so much to keep up with .....

                          1. re: gordon wing

                            Don't change! Maybe we should try to stem the tide and use the traditional name. Chinese is supposed to be flowery and dramatic in its expression.

                            Link: http://library.thinkquest.org/C004204...

                            1. re: Melanie Wong
                              ChowFun (derek)

                              Great story!!
                              My heads bobbing up and down trying to produce the correct "tone" as I try to say "you za kuei" ...but God knows what i'm really saying..maybe I'm tone *deaf! (*tone hearing impaired)

                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                I just love all these stories behind Chinese food.

                                Thanks to all for the info. I jotted down some notes to take with me so when I'm in the neighborhood of these places I can drop in. I'm kind of thinking a trip to Margaret's place is in order (despite the recent disappointment. I'll go early in the day). I might be down that way this weekend.

                                I've been meaning to become a pupusa expert but keep getting side tracked. Maybe I'll make jook my next food to explore. I just love being back in SF.

                                1. re: Krys Stanley

                                  Btw, "jook" rhymes with cook. Not pronounced like the juke joints that Quincy rhapsodizes.

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                    Well, uh, trust me ... this was the best hint of all. I would have been embarrasing myself all over the Bay area.

                                    1. re: Krys Stanley

                                      Not just you, I mentioned it because "juke" seems to be the preferred pronunciation among many non-Chinese for some odd reason. I've heard it alot. (g)

                                  2. re: Krys Stanley


                                    I am glad you may have a chance to try out this jook place. Just remember that it's new and a ton of people go on the weekends. Going early is a good strategy...or maybe a mid afternoon snack, say after 2:30. Remember to try the fried dough with the jook. You can dip the pieces into the jook to enjoy. I am enjoying all the history discussions from Gordon & Melanie too. It took you to start a fun thread. Margret

                                  3. re: Melanie Wong

                                    along the lines of flowery & dramatic prose....one of my favorite books is Swallowing Clouds by A. Zee subtitled: A playful journey through Chinese culture, language and cuisine .... I suspect you may already have read this but just in case - search it out, it's a gem.

                                    1. re: gordon wing

                                      Thank you, I'll seek it out. Here's a link to an old discussion that discusses "swallowing clouds". (g)

                                      Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                2. re: Melanie Wong


                                  How funny, that's the only name I know. I had no idea it was odd and old-fashioned. Perhaps I should call it Yau Tiew now too.

                                  How do you call the other kind, the sweet, round donut looking dough? Bpa tong koh or something like that is what I know.


                                  1. re: Pim

                                    Well is it fried or steam. If it is the sugar cane cake then Bak Tong Go. If it is the sweet verion of the fried yau Tiew then it is gno lei so. Which is Chinese Beef Tongue Cake. Sorry I can only speak Chinese not right it in English. I learn my Chinese at home. If you are in Oakland then Gold Medal is the best. As I have more time I am slowly checking out Oakland.

                                    1. re: yimster


                                      It's the fried one, and called Bak Tong Go, definitely.

                                      My problem with the Chinese language is even worse than yours, I don't even speak it. I just know a few words and pharses here and there. Enough to be dangerous I'd say. :-)

                                      I get both these fried doughs when I am in the mood for Jook at Hing Lung.


                                      1. re: Pim

                                        Bak tong go is a steamed sugar cake. Bak is the word for white, tong is sugar and go is a cake. So it is white sugar cake. But if you get what you want saying bak tong go then whatevers works.

                                        Maybe next time ask the server how they would say it. I am like to know.

                                    2. re: Pim

                                      No, no! Join me in reviving the old name!

                                      The other part of the tradition that was reinforced with me as a child is that you pull the two halves apart to eat them. Apparently the two traitors were tied together to be fried in oil, but they were buried far apart from each other so that their souls would be separated for eternity. With the symbolic act of separating the two sticks, we remember and punish them again for their treachery.

                                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                                        Oh that just seals it. I have GOT to go have jook and donuts tommorrow and pull apart those devils.

                                        Also, thinkimg it over, I don't know why non Asians call it juke either. I don't think any other word that ends in ook is pronounced 'uke' ... book, cook, hook, look ... etc

                                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                                          Oh that just seals it. I have GOT to go have jook and donuts tommorrow and pull apart those devils.

                                          Also, thinkimg it over, I don't know why non Asians call it juke either. I don't think any other word that ends in ook is pronounced 'uke' ... book, cook, hook, look ... etc

                                          1. re: Krys Stanley

                                            "Kook" and "gook". (vbg)

                                            Referring back to your list of spots in the initial post, Capital only makes jook on Saturday and Sunday (which I sadly found out when I appeared on their doorstep at 9am on Thursday). Also, it sells out early. My tendency is to go to Washington Bakery for morning jook and Hing Lung for late night.

                                            Thursday I went to Great Oriental for jook. It was packed at 9am with most patrons choosing dim sum from the circulating trays. If I made out the sign correctly outside, all sizes - small, medium, and large - are now one price, $1.65 (maybe $1.68?). I didn't have a good experience before here (link below), nor another friend who complained about the place to me, but at that price it might be worth a try again.

                                            Anyway, back to the jook. I ordered the abalone jook. The porridge was the looser style, the way it gets sometimes when reheated and had a reasonably flavorful stock base. The surprise was six thick slices of fresh abalone --- not canned. It was fresh, if not the freshest, but still quite a deal for under $6. Hing Lung's is tastier, but those pieces of abalone make this worth a revisit.

                                            Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                            1. re: Krys Stanley

                                              Hing Lung and Washington Bakery chop the crulers into cross sections. You should tell your waiter you want a whole one so you can pull it apart and dip it yourself.