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Where Can I Find Congee For Breakfast?

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At breakfast time, not lunch time.

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  1. Might be difficult but probably not impossible? Most Chinese restaurants don't open until 10 or 11AM. In many cases congee or jook is typically made with all the leftover rice towards the end of the afternoon/day. That's what I was told many years ago.

    1. Where do live?
      Dim sum places will have it.
      Yum Cha Cafe the discount dim sum chain has it and they do a decent job.

      4 Replies
      1. re: monku

        Tried the Yum Cha Café in Chinatown, where there are 5 different kinds of congee for $3.39.

        It’s served in a porcelain bowl, but with plastic utensils.

        The consistency of the porridge was standard, not too watery, but not so thick that it seemed like it had been standing for a while. However, it was VERY under seasoned and there was no salt on the tables. I got the pork and preserved egg version, and they gave me a hearty portion of the preserved egg. However, it was falling apart, and I assume they cut a large batch first thing in the morning and just put a handful into the bowl before pouring the porridge on top. It was not freshly cut, as the one at Hong Kong Café was.

        The pork was quite tough, and gamey tasting. I assume it was braised, as it had no outer texture. It was not a deal-killer, but this was my least favorite. It was served with chopped green peppers on top.

        This version would do in a pinch, but I wouldn’t seek it out.

        Yun Cha Café
        638 North Broadway
        Southern Chinatown (downtown)

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        Yum Cha Cafe
        638 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

        1. re: lil mikey

          Jook is very plain tasting as far as seasoning.
          Usually they have soy sauce nearby.

          1. re: monku

            Should not be plain tasting with both pork and thousand year old eggs (assuming that's what lil mikey meant by "preserved egg"). Either the eggs were not preserved right, or the pork was undercooked. Sounds like the latter, since the eggs were most likely outsourced.

          2. re: lil mikey

            The jook we had at Yum Cha in Monterey Park was kind of watery and tasteless. I wouldn't order it again.

        2. there are many places in the SGV that have congee for breakfast. depends on where you're looking for it.

          21 Replies
          1. re: chon76

            I am in the SGV on business a few times a month. Can you give me a couple of suggestions?

            1. re: lil mikey

              Si Hai, Yung Hou Tou Jiang, Yi Mei (Valley location, not Atlantic), Hong Kong Cafe, Doe Jon and probably a handful of others I'm forgetting.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Thank you. I'll start trying them. I also saw an earlier post for LW Congee on Colima. I'll include that one in the tour.

                1. re: lil mikey

                  Well heck, if you're going to include Rowland Heights (and points thereabouts) you're in for a gorgy of congee options ...

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    RH Garden Café does a very good chicken and black mushroom congee.

                    The porridge is very flavorful, made more so by the chicken. They leave the under-skin membrane, with some of the chicken fat ON the chicken slices. So as it cooks, it imparts a nice flavor. It’s a little more difficult to eat, as the pieces are sometimes slightly larger than the spoon. But the flavor makes up for it.

                    The mushrooms are also cut into large slices, and are very moist, tender and also quite flavorful.

                    It’s served with chopped green onion over the top in a large ceramic bowl, with a large Chinese-style spoon (larger than normal). It’s $4.95.

                    I think this version is one of my favorites.

                    RH Garden Café
                    18406 Colima Road (In the HK Food District strip mall)
                    Rowland Heights

                  2. re: lil mikey

                    How late is breakfast? 7 - 10am?

                    1. re: Clinton

                      Unless it's served at a dim sum place you can get jook all day long.
                      Yum Cha Cafe has it all day.

                    2. re: lil mikey

                      L.W. Congee is now closed.

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                      The Congee
                      19 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801

                    3. re: ipsedixit

                      Where is the Yi Mei on Valley? The only one I've been able to find info on is the location on Atlantic south of Garvey, and that one has been closed for months now because of a fire.

                      EDIT: Answering my own question
                      http://www.yelp.com/biz/yi-mei-restau...

                      Is it true that this location is inferior, as one yelp reviewer complains? I never did get around to trying the original location.

                      Mr Taster

                      1. re: Mr Taster

                        On Valley, right before you hit San Gabriel Blvd if you are travelling east. It's in one of those new plazas (Sunny Plaza maybe), which has the obligatory foot massage parlour.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          I stopped by Yi Mei for brekkies a month ago, and they were still closed from the damage due to the fire... Has it reopened?!

                          1. re: J.L.

                            Don't believe so.

                        2. re: Mr Taster

                          I don't think this is the same. I thought this is the replacement for the other "mei" bakery over on Valley by Atlantic. It is not in the Sunny Plaza.

                          1. re: luckattack

                            I believe the English signage is "Ye Mei" ...

                            And I don't think any of the Yi (or Ye) Mei restaurants are related -- either the Monterey Park, San Gabriel or Rowland Heights locations.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Although your info makes this question arbitrary, how does the Valley location (and RH) compare with the closed Atlantic location?

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                Atlantic is better than the Valley location.

                                Rowland Heights has stuff on the menu that I have not seen at the other two.

                          2. re: Mr Taster

                            The location on Valley changed its name from Yi-Mei to Yee May back in 2006. That indicates to me that either (1) there was previously common ownership which was severed or (2) somebody tried to rip off the name and got caught.

                            -----
                            Yi-Mei Restaurant
                            608 E Valley Blvd, G San Gabriel, CA

                            1. re: Chandavkl

                              Here is what I've heard through the grapevine:

                              The location on Atlantic was bought some time ago (more than a year) by someone else. The original owners of Yi Mei (who also own a few other Yi Meis) decided to sell because business has been in constant decline at this location.

                              The new owners did not do much and let the workers from the old regime pretty much run the operation. When the fire happened, a lot of the workers had to go look for jobs elsewhere, since they couldn't just wait around for this place to get back on its feet. Now the new owners are unsure if they will re-open since they might not be able to get the old staff back.

                              1. re: andytseng

                                They also weren't fully (or properly) insured from what I am told.

                          3. re: ipsedixit

                            Thanks Ipse. I’m going to work through your list. I tried Hong Kong Café first.

                            They open at 8:00 a.m., and on a Friday, there were people waiting to get in. By 8:15, the place was half full.

                            The congee is piping hot, requiring a degree of patience I did not possess. So I burned the roof of my mouth as I abandoned my common sense to wait. But it was so good that I kept eating. The porridge was creamy, not necessarily different from others I’d had. But the crunchy flat rice noodles on top, combined with chopped green onions, provided a delicious texture to break up the bowl. I got mine with pork and preserved egg. The pork was not slow-roasted, but rather fried in small strips. At first I didn’t like it, but it kind of grows on you, and by the end I loved it. The egg was very flavorful, and in addition to the flavor, it added creaminess to this good-sized bowl of congee. This is enough food for me for a meal. Price: $3.95, with tax.

                            But not knowing how large the bowl would be, and seeing the breakfast special included congee, bun and steamed rice noodles, I also ordered the bun with butter. This was a delicious fried bun with a very slight sweetness. I later noticed on the bill that it was called a “pineapple bun.” I didn’t taste any pineapple, but maybe they use pineapple juice to sweeten it. This is a large bun, larger than most large donuts. While I’m typically not a donut or sweets guy, I can see having a bun and coffee for breakfast. Price: $1.95, with tax.

                            Hong Kong Café
                            162 West Garvey (near Garfield)
                            Monterey Park
                            (626) 286-7783

                            -----
                            Hong Kong Cafe
                            162 W Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                            1. re: lil mikey

                              No pineapple in the pineapple bun. I think the moniker comes from the appearance, not the content.

                      2. the phoenix chain has jook.

                        1. Harbor Kitchen and Garden Cafe in Alhambra and U2 Cafe on Valley in San Gabriel all have congee for breakfast which is usually between 7am-10am.

                          1. All the cafe has congee all the time too. I like U2 as they have their congee special with noodles or steam noodles too. I believe the cafes are all open during breakfast.

                            1. Saladang Song also serves it for breakfast.

                              -----
                              Saladang
                              363 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: StefTodd

                                I think breakfast service here is an afterthought. I’m guessing they figured that since they’re prepping for lunch anyway, they might as well offer breakfast, which is odd because they have 6-8 breakfast only menu items. Included are various rice soups, as well as rice porridges (or joaks), which I was after.

                                They open at 7:00, and by 8:00 the place has a pungent smell of cleaning fluid. The guy’s out front hosing down the sidewalk, and wait staff is busy updating the kitchen crew on the previous night’s activities. And they have no customers.

                                But simply walking over to the kitchen, I was able to let them know they had a customer. They seemed surprised to see me.

                                The joak was thinner than I’ve had before, and it separated as it cooled. So some spoonfuls had no rice in them at all… just clear broth. The taste was fine, if a little watery. The ground chicken was quite tasty, though. It was seasoned well, had a tender consistency, and a nice flavor.

                                What wasn’t so great was the ginger. It was a pile of raw ginger cut into 2 inch strips and piled on top of the joak along with a pile of cilantro and green onions. This completely overpowered the dish. It transformed the otherwise subtle flavors of the rice and chicken into mouthfuls of strongly-flavored raw ginger. It would have been fine if they used marinated ginger, or if they grated it to make it meld more with the dish. But in this configuration, it was not a dish I enjoyed, nor would I order it again.

                                As an aside, for lunch they have a delightful cold soba salad.

                                Saladang Song
                                383 S. Fair Oaks Ave (about halfway between 210 and 110)
                                Pasadena
                                (626) 793-5200

                                -----
                                Saladang Song
                                383 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

                              2. Not sure how early you're talking but NBC Seafood on Atlantic in Monterey Park opens at 8am. I've had dim sum at that time so I'd have to suspect they'd have congee.

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                                NBC Seafood Restaurant
                                404 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ramenbound

                                  They've got it. Salted pork and preserved egg $2.28. Not sure the donut is included, but they have them.

                                   
                                2. Just had lunch at Har Lam Kee at 168 B E Garvey, Monterey Park - ate a large bowl of seafood congee (one out of 9 choices) and noted that they open at 8.30am every day.

                                  168 B East Garvey Ave. Monterey Park

                                  -----
                                  Har Lam Kee Restaurant
                                  150 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91755

                                  1. Har Lam Kee at 168 B E. Garvey Ave, Monterey Park opens at 8.30am every day and has a choice of 9 different congees (I had the seafood one for lunch today - delicious)

                                    -----
                                    Har Lam Kee Restaurant
                                    150 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91755

                                    1. Mountain Cafe, on 8th just west of Vermont, is small. Like 7 tables small. But they seem to do a brisk takeout business, and they’re open 24 hours.

                                      Jook here was a different style than Chinese (expectedly, since it's a Korean restaurant). It uses longer grain rice, which retains its texture more than congee or Thai jook. The jook with abalone and green onion comes with a raw egg cracked into the middle of the bowl, and you stir it in while the porridge is still hot. The egg gives it a very nice creamy body. The abalone has very little taste, but the texture is nice to break up the bowl. And the green onion adds another little flavor. I liked it, but it’s really a different dish than congee.

                                      -----
                                      Mountain Cafe
                                      3064 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005