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Jul 15, 2006 03:55 PM

Greasiness at Congee Village

Years ago we discovered Congee Village on Allen and it became our family's favorite dinning spot for a year or two even the wait to get a table was long. Then we started noticing the extremely liberal use of oil by the chef on almost every dish (except congee). By all means we are used to Cantonese food and know some chefs like to pour extra hot oil on top of the dish to add shine and finish the dish but this was outrageous amount of oil all the food was drawn in oil. What hit our mouths was the taste of oil and not the flavor of the food, at least not until several chews later. We always ended up drinking a lot of tea to cut the grease and to wash out the oil coated in our mouth before the meal ended. One waitress we personally know there had noticed the difference and agreed with us about the use of extra oil. We tried 3 or 4 more times in the following 2-3 years and it was still the same disappointing greasy experience so eventaully our family stopped going there several years ago.

I see they are still doing well and being mentioned quite often on this board but no one had mentioned the use of extreme amount of oil. I wonder if they still use outrageous amount of oil. If the oil usage has returned to the comparable amount to other Cantonese restaurants we would love to return to Congee Village and taste many great dishes we used to enjoy there. Any report on this?

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  1. About 10 of us were there for dinner last month and ordered a lot of dishes and I did not notice that the food was on the oily side. It was my first time at Congee Village, but I have been to many Cantonese restaurants C-town. We all thought the food was very good and we had a great time there especially since we were in one of the private rooms with karoke.

    1. I've been a regular at Congee Village for years (since before the renovation and expansion) and for whatever it's worth, I haven't noticed any change in the amount of oil in dishes.

      1. Thanks for replying. I don't know if it was just our consistent bad luck to always have the same chef with heavy hand on oil or it was a phase (and a long one) that the restaurant was going thru. From what you are telling me I think it's time to check out the restaurant again. It's being about 3-4 years since I was there last. I can't wait to have their salted squid w. pepper and cashew again.

        1. I've eaten regularly at Congee Village since it opened and I've never noticed grease or oil. Perhaps this is because of what I like to order: casseroles, "sizzling platters", steamed fish.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Brian S

            Probably. Some dishes are oily or fatty, such as the beef noodle dish with black bean sauce and at least one of the lamb chop dishes, but also, surprisingly, including a soup made with mustard greens, fishcakes, and black mushrooms.

          2. I had an excellent meal there the other day. It wasn't until afterwards that I noticed how oily everything was--even the pea shoots. But I have to admit that despite, or perhaps because of the fat content, it was one of the best Chinese meals I've had in NYC in the past year. We had short ribs in black pepper, the pea shoots in porridge (very fresh, and smothered in garlic), and these amazing patties of minced pork with lotus root that looked and tasted like some kind of pork latkes.

            The best thing about Congee Village is that I don't think they change their food for non-Chinese customers. They appreciate that some people actually want Chinese-style Chinese food. The menu is the same for Chinese diners, and there are only about five dishes on it that have no English translation, and it's safe to assume that those dishes are stranger than the duck tongue and the intestine dishes that are translated. They also don't even offer the option of ordering Beef with Broccoli or sweet and sour pork. If only other restaurants would take note...

            1 Reply
            1. re: PAL

              They do have Beef with Chinese Broccoli, however, and it's quite a good dish. They also have Beef and Chinese Broccoli Chow Mein, which is quite worthwhile and nothing like the chow mein dishes at run-of-the-mill takeout joints.

              I agree that they make the dishes the same way, regardless of customer. The menu is longer than it used to be and includes some items that used to be on a separate two-sided Chinese-only menu, but I'm just guessing that there's still a separate banquet menu and I'm sure that special menus could be made up in advance for a high price (and probably a deposit in advance).