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Pretty good HK-style clay pot rice (bou zai faan 煲仔飯) @ Clay Pot Cafe

This place opened over the summer in the old King Fung location at the former gas station on Kneeland and Hudson. Same room, no renovations. We just tried a couple pots of rice, not bad at all. It's pretty heavy on the seasoning/oil end of things- not a style where you can add your own sauce and appreciate the flavor of plain rice. It comes to the table fully seasoned, and they even stir it up for you unless you ask them not to. Also, if you get chinese sausage, it comes thinly sliced instead of with big links, which was surprising to me. The burnt layer at the bottom is pretty good, partly owing to the heavy dose of oil added to the whole thing. Their special is an extra-large pot with eel rice- there was a table next to us that had gotten this, and added some hot water at the end to get all the bits.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone got the non-rice dishes. I couldn't tell if any of them are particularly good, or just filler to appeal to people who don't want to eat a clay pot rice-only specialist.

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  1. tried a few dishes off the menu (taishan dumpling soup, five flavors chicken, taishan stir-fry, etc) and they were good but nowhere near as good as the clay pot rice. especially the clay pot rice with chinese sausage and bacon

    11 Replies
    1. re: galangatron

      Yelp reports are not promising, but the Chinese sausage and bacon doesn't seem to fare as poorly as the others.

      1. re: galangatron

        I tried this a couple of weeks ago and haven't had a chance to post. I loved the menu but was a little disappointed in the clay pot rice itself. i got the chicken with chinese sausage clay pot. The rice was fine but the chicken was the boniest bits of remains when the good meat is taken off for other dishes. I've had better experiences as Wings Kitchen and Hong Kong Eatery. That said, their clay pot list is more extensive and perhaps I came on a bad day.

        1. re: gourmaniac

          Was the rice anything like Hainanese chicken rice? is it more sticky/glutinous?

          1. re: Prav

            Neither really. It's nonglutinous rice cooked in a clay pot in the oven with bits of meat or fish such that the bottom is nice a crispy. The rice absorbs the flavor and fat of the meats which is why chinese sausage and bacon work particularly well. A traditional combination is bone on chicken, chinese sausage and black mushroom. Clay pot cafe also has frog and eel, which are harder to find.

            1. re: Prav

              Clay pot rice uses regular long-grain white rice. The deliciousness comes in the cooking in a clay pot which gives it a slightly smokey flavor if cooked properly over a flame. Usually there is a seasoned soy sauce poured on top, with whatever toppings that seep into the rice and add more flavors. And of course, there should be a layer of crisp rice at the bottom.

              1. re: Prav

                For the sticky short-grain version, a similar and exceptional dish is the dungeness crab with xo sauce and sticky rice casserole at Bubor Cha Cha.

                (the green goop on rice in the 2nd pic are crab brains, ceremoniously spooned out by the server)

                1. re: Nab

                  Mmm...that looks good! Traditional bo zai faan is a little different - in Hong Kong you see little eateries that specialize in this. The outside is normally manned by a chef who is heating a number of small clay pots on individual gas burners that line the entrance (I saw one place that looked like he had dozens going at the same time), and it gets served to the customer directly in the whole clay pot. It's a winter specialty that normally starts going around this time of the year. :)

              2. re: gourmaniac

                I liked the salty chicken one, I only ordered it because I wanted bony bits (the chicken itself looks like roadkill when it's preserved, totally flattened and dried out). I really wanted rib bits but didn't see it on the menu. If you don't want bones, yeah, don't get that.

                1. re: Luther

                  Does the salty chicken claypot have salted fish in it?

                  1. re: Crazy Egg

                    Nope, no salty fish. Just chicken and green onion, plus the oil/soy seasoning.

                  2. re: Luther

                    My issue wasn't the bones but the low quality of the meat on the bones. Would have preferred more dark meat and skin and not chicken ribs with a little connective tissue and white meat attached.