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Dec 28, 2008 04:10 PM

Simple Chicken or shrimp Congee

I'd like to refer a friend, who is an excellent thai cook, to the best place in Manhattan for a simple chicken or shrimp congee. The key would be the broth, which should have a hint of ginger and an otherwise good flavor base. Thanks for any ideas.

PS-- I've ruled out Congee Village based on the menu and the mixed reviews for congee. If you disagree--please advise. Thanks again.

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  1. congee village's congee is not good...most of the good bbq places for some reason tend to have good congee

    i usually get mine at wing huang (a total dump on lafayette that has good congee), but most people dont know about that place and the consensus is probably big wong's for congee (its good and im not sure which one is better). I almost always order pork and pidan (thousand year old egg) and i dont think ive ever ordered chicken or shrimp in congee (its def not the usually although i know its available).

    Forgive me if im being too layman here, but when you say "broth" you know that congee is simply rice thats been cooked with alot of water so the rice breaks down into a porridge. So there isn't any broth per se (i.e. there is no beef, chicken or other meat type broth involved) and congee ex-condiments is very plain (just like rice). A bit of ginger is common as its usually put on top along side any meats and then condiments are usually added by the eater (usually pepper, chili oil etc) and people typically dip a you tiao (fried crueller) into it.

    btw we were just discussing this:

    7 Replies
    1. re: Lau

      Thanks for your insight Lau. Some congee recipes call for cooking the rice in chicken broth or fish broth (instead of plain water) as a flavor booster--so it depends who is making it. The last time I had chicken congee, the liquid was clearly made with a base of chicken broth--the flavor was amazing. I would do anything have some of that congee again--but I was traveling outside of NYC at the time.

      1. re: Ora

        that sounds delicious, let me know if u try a place that serves it that style

        i grew up eating cantonese / taiwanese style congee, so that is pretty foreign to that i think of it there is a northern chinese version made out of green beans, but its doesnt taste much different (its pretty plain)

      2. re: Lau

        I was with an unadventurous eater at Big Wong's who wanted to try the congee. She ordered the chicken and it was really bland. It was basically their house chicken cut up and thrown in their congee. As Lau noted, Big Wong just throws some scallions and shredded ginger into the bottom of their bowls, drops some meat, pidan or whatever you've asked for in next, and pours the congee over it. There's no infusion of the ingredients that you might get if you were to cook the congee at home. It's kind of like a Dannon yogurt where the fruit is on the bottom and you have to stir things up if you want to get the good bits.

        1. re: Greg

          yeah it'll be very plain if u don't put anything in it and chicken and shrimp are fairly bland on their own, so i never get them

          i usually get pork and pidan and then hit it with chili oil and pepper and im a huge fan of dipping you tiao in it...with all of that it becomes tasty

          1. re: Greg

            But this is exactly how it should be done for Cantonese congee. You pour the ingredients into the bowl and then the congee on top and let the heat of the congee to cook the ingredients.

            1. re: kobetobiko

              That may be, but the OP and other hounds may be expecting something different from their congee:

              I like Big Wong, but it's not the only kind of congee out there.

              1. re: kobetobiko

                Actually, that is not true. You are suppose to slow cook the ingredients all together so all the flavors meld. You are getting cheated at most of these restaurants because the method you mentioned takes less time to prepare. If you had someone make this for you or you try yourself, you will see the difference is night and day. If you did make this at home I would definitley go with the broth and a fresh killed black feathered chicken, which has more flavor than typical Perdue like chicken.

          2. Hi Ora,

            Big Wong gets my vote but I do want to mention that they serve Cantonese styled congee. I have learnt on some other CH board (home cooking?) that Thai people use broth with ginger and fish sauce for making congee. That's not the case for Cantonese congee. As Lau mentioned, plain white congee is just rice and water, sometimes with the addition of dried scallops and dried citrus peel. For congee restaurants, they will also great a congee base (rice, water, salt pork or similiar) for congee that is intended for additional ingredients (like fish, pork, beef, etc) at the end when customers place their orders. Scallions and ginger are usually added to congee with seafood or offals.

            I just want to make sure that your friend is aware of the difference when he/she tries the congee in Chinatown.

            1. I agree with Wing Huang. They are under new ownership, but the congee seems to be as good as the old owners. Fresh ginger slices and scallions, and a nice broth. Chicken congee is the thing I always order there, and the one thing I know how to order in Cantonese (Gai Zhou!!). I have only tried beef noodle soup at Big Wong - good, cheap, quick, typical Cantonese style. Good, but not as good as Wing Huang.
              A friend of mine who is Chinese claims that restaurants in Chinatown make their congees more delicious by adding lots of fat. I'm not sure about that though.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chmdoc

                Wing Huang sounds like a contender--thanks!

              2. I actually like the congee at Congee Village/Bowery. It has a lot of ginger in it, which I enjoy. I like the roast pork or roast duck with preserved egg, the mixed seafood congee, and sometimes when I am feeling under the weather, I get chicken with black mushroom. I tried the congee at Wing Huang, based on recommendations from this board, but I didn't like it as much as Congee Village. It was a little too bland for me.

                1. Does anyone in NYC serve a congee like this recipe: