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Jook - SF Dish of the Month December 2013

The SF Bay Area Dish of the Month for December 2013 is Jook aka congee aka rice porridge ( 粥; juk (Cantonese, Korean)).

Now is your chance to try versions of Jook that you haven't tasted before. Some things to note might be the thickness or rice texture, type of rice, hints of a base beyond water, and variety of accompaniments.

Some old discussions of the dish on the home cooking boards:

Let's collectively try as many versions of Jook as possible during the month of December! Report back with reviews and photos.

Here's a link to the this month's vote:

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  1. Fish jook ($4.50)

    China First
    336 Clement St, SF
    Btwn 4th & 5th Ave
    (415) 387-8370

    very simple, large portion, boiling hot with tender fish. Great value.
    Do they put the raw fish into the jook just before serving? I don't know.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Joel

      Pork Jook ($1 at happy Hour 3-6PM)
      D & A Cafe
      407 Clement St
      (between 6th Ave & 5th Ave)
      San Francisco, CA 94118

      I've not had the $1 jook, but I have had the $2.50 jook with pork liver. It is decent and the low price makes it all the more tasty.

      1. re: Joel

        "Do they put the raw fish into the jook just before serving?"

        That would be typical.

      2. Getting worried.

        It's December 5; and only two posts, both by the same 'hound, and bargain tips to boot (words like "value" and "decent").

        I voted for this DOTM, not because I know jook well, but because I know it a bit, like it a lot, and want to know it better.

        This is maybe the most apt DOTM I can imagine for these chilly December days; and I'm eager to get out and sample.

        But I need direction from those more in the know--eg.,what are the best places for jook (esp in the East Bay, but also more broadly), what makes great jook great, what types of jook do you love best.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sundeck sue

          Due to travel etc. it's looking unlikely I will be able to sample Jook this month. So I will post observations from past experiences.

          Earlier this year I was in Hong Kong and stayed at a hotel that offered Jook for Breakfast. It was excellent, rich, flavorful, comforting, wholesome and not overloaded with MSG. We ate it every day for breakfast and could not understand why most of the people around us were eating a western breakfast when they could be eating delicious congee.

          In the Bay Area I have tried Jook at:

          Asia pearl in the pacific east mall in Richmond. An acceptable version but not really that special. Lacks a depth of flavor and perhaps has too much MSG.

          Koi palace has really good Jook. Here is a report from October that I reported in a different thread:

          Went to Koi palace yesterday and got the fish cheek Congee. Pricy but it comes with a big plate of fish chow fun. It was off the charts good. Reminded us of something we might eat in Hong Kong. Both the Congee and the chow fun were among the best things I have eaten all year.

          Lastly Ran Khanom Thai, the fabulous Organic thai take out place in the Pacific East Mall in Richmond sometimes had Jook. The last time we had it was last month and it was pork Jook. It was fantastic. We got it as takeout and it reheated very well.

          1. re: sundeck sue

            While I enjoy jook, I only ever eat it when I'm sick so I don't consider it a Chowhound effort for me. Interested in seeing how this thread turns out and perhaps trying it when I'm healthy though!

          2. I've had some good jook from a place here in Alameda called Khang Huong on Lincoln Avenue. I got sick with a cold last month, craved jook and went here for a nourishing bowl of jook with sliced pork and preserved egg (my favorite combo). The jook reheated well after I thinned it the next day with a bit of chicken broth.


            1 Reply
            1. re: Nineteen

              The porridge at Khanh Huong is listed under the Vietnamese name of Cháo. Their first option is the Khanh Huong Chicken Porridge which aligns, protein-wise, with their very good Hai Phong Pho Ga.

              Still, I couldn't resist my typical jook combo of Lean Meat (pork) & Preserved Egg Porridge which Nineteen also enjoyed.

              The bowl is somewhere between $6-7 (has gone up ~50% in price since they opened 3+ yrs ago) and is a pretty decent serving size (I took home leftovers which were good for a late night snack). I already had ladled out a cup before I took the picture attached below (d@mn Android reboot!). When it came out it was bubbling and filled almost to the rim of the claypot.

              I usually doctor up the flavor of jook (too plain for me if just cooked in water) and here it comes with some mustard to add yourself (also have chili oil & soy sauce standard on tables), but this didn't really need much. The porridge itself has more flavor than the average and I assume it is cooked in their chicken broth.

              Generous amount of pork & egg.


              Khanh Huong
              1707 Lincoln Ave
              Alameda, CA

            2. Here's a youtube video of Mui Kee congee in Mongkok (Kowloon side, Hong Kong, food stall in an upstairs wet market that usually sells out by 1 pm) of the original owner's son, showing how the cooking process of their fish soup congee is done


              Even in Hong Kong there are not that many traditional jook shops investing in the effort and labor to make something like this.

              This is one of the best examples of what really great jook can be like. One of the secrets is mixing new and old rice grains together, similar to preparing traditional sushi rice. Using strictly new grains will result in a wet gluey consistency, and the old rice grains brings the balance into play by giving it the additional texture. Then they add some oil and century egg, pan fry some fresh fish (with ginger and scallion) then cook it together, and frequently stirring the large pot. Yuba (tofu skin) is another crucial ingredient that gives the jook a necessary creaminess.

              While we don't have anything like that in SF Bay Area, there are various options around

              High end: any dim sum seafood restaurant will have jook, and usually a larger order to be shared with 4 or more people. You can even make it high end by having seafood cooked with it (e.g abalone, lobster, or crab or shrimp, or geoduck....like at Koi Palace). Never tried doing this, but I would imagine it being quite tasty, although to some a waste, since the fat and juices of shellfish are diluted...and not sure how much you can really taste. Crab might work better, but never tried Dungeness version. Crab jook is quite famous in Macau food stalls and restaurants that specialize in them.

              Low end: Lots of these around, especially in jack of all trade places from run of the mill eateries in Chinatown, cheaper dim sum restaurants, HK cafes. Many of these places I tend to avoid, because they don't add the right kind of rice grains, season and flavor the jook with proper effort, and/or just throw in MSG.

              With that said, there are a few exceptions where I think the jook is quite decent.

              Cooking Papa - I think they just use one type of rice and/or maybe not enough old rice. The grains are too thin and small even after popping. But the bowls are very effective overall for the price and quality. Very creamy and tasty otherwise, and there are several varieties to choose from. Fish filet, beef, and the classics are all done very well. They provide a mini soy sauce dish of condiments, scallions and salted sour minced pickles (which if you ate them plain are overwhelming, but has the effect of adding salt to the jook, and makes it taste a whole lot better). Best of all minimal to no MSG thirst aftereffects. Interestingly they do not add any of their house fish stock to the congee, but there is ginger. If they added some older grains to the mix with a heavier balance, I think this might be perfect.

              Turtle Tower (Larkin Street) - Known for chicken pho, but the chicken chao (Vietnamese style jook) is really good. Less creamier consistency and you can still kind of see the rice grains (they do not burst like traditional Cantonese jook), but if you are a fan of the pho ga broth, the chao does shine. A tad watery for my liking, but otherwise very satisfying. You'll need to eat more with it to really fill you up, unless you are not that hungry

              Fat Wong's (San Bruno) - similar to Cooking Papa....jook is their namesake (Chinese name).

              The jook at ABC (HK café) San Mateo that they serve during breakfast time is dreadful, ladened with MSG and you can feel it on the tip of your tongue after eating a few spoons. Broadway Bistro is not much of an improvement either.

              1. Cooking Papa in Foster City has 18 different types of jook, ranging in price from a $3.25 plain to an $11.25 abalone and chicken porridge. You can add flour crisps (you tiao, long chinese doughnuts), fresh or preserved egg, or dried scallop for an extra buck or two. There's also a $31.95 abalone and seafood house special that serves 4-6 people.

                I came here a few nights back, just before closing. The chicken and roasted duck porridge came with a small saucer of sliced scallions and a minced yellow pickle (I think zha cai (pickled mustard), maybe radish).

                The rice grains had mostly dissolved, leaving a uniform distribution of especially tiny bits of rice and a not too thick porridge. I'm mostly a jook newbie so I can't be sure, but it tasted deeper than just a water base, possibly from finishing the dish with the meaty chunks of duck and chicken. Points of star anise added some complexity as well, and helped to marry the flavors of the poultry and rice--- I'm guessing they're not used in the other jook types.

                The jook stayed delicious as it cooled and never formed the kind of coagulated mess you get from oatmeal after five minutes.

                7 Replies
                1. re: hyperbowler

                  Most of the great Cantonese jooks are done sahng gwun style 生滾, and just like the Mui Kee video, raw fresh ingredients are thrown in and cooked in the jook base so the flavors sink in, and this is also done with cooked items like empress/poached chicken or roast duck. Some of the dim sum restaurants use clay pots, though the Mui Kee clip uses a specific type of pot that retains heat and looks like it has been used for 20 years. The problem with roast duck is that usually there's a lot of fat under the skin so you're getting grease in the jook (some might like it but it's not my style).

                  If you travel outside SF, particularly in the South and East bay areas, there is Taiwanese style jook to be found. There used to be Porridge House in Cupertino Village but that closed (Tong Dumpling is now in its place), but there are scattered examples in Fremont/Newark/Milpitas. Their approach is like this....you pay a base fee per person (like how Little Sheep charges per person for hotpot broth), which you get unlimited refills of their jook, but it's a coagulated mess where you can still see grains...they have enlarged but not quite burst, and is mushy....and they add in orange yams. The idea is that you go to the steam tables and order some side dishes to go with it, sometimes XLB...cold small plate dishes/stir fry, similar to boiled dumpling jiaozi restaurants or the small plates at Shanghainese restaurants (e.g. deep fried batterless soy sauce oil bamboo shoots/yoh mun suen). It's quite a nice experience otherwise, and a lighter meal, but doesn't quite hit the spot as a bubbling hot bowl of creamy jook without MSG.

                  Then there's Arroz (e.g. arroz caldo), which some argue is basically Filipino jook. But I know nothing about it.

                  Hing Lung used to be a golden standard in the day (I'm sure there was some MSG in it) but they're gone and I remember reading that their East Bay location got cited for health safety (or lack thereof). Anyways a relic of the past, time to move on.

                  Just say no to bad quality MSG'd up jook where the rice grains have not burst.

                  1. re: K K

                    I much prefer Taiwanese style over Cantonese style because my earliest childhood memories of breakfast was plain unsalted jook with a piece of yam. Then everyone shares 5-6 plates of salty bits, such as fried peanuts, salmon skin, soy sauce marinated cucumbers, pork sung, etc.

                    While easy enough to make at home, it is quite a bit of prep unless you have friends to share with.

                    The closest I have found in this style in SF is at Thai restaurants, of all places. Lers Ros tenderloin serves it with larger dishes like ong choy, and Ozone tenderloin also had it a few years ago.

                  2. re: hyperbowler

                    Thanks for the info on the jook at Cooking Papa. I loooove jook, but living on the Peninsula, I haven't found many restaurants that serve it outside of dim sum. I will try the Cooking Papa jook. Do you know if you can get it "to go"?

                    1. re: goodeatsgal

                      Jook is on their take-out menu, so you should be able to get it to go at Cooking Papa. It's a fun place to eat at though--- aside from regular restaurant cool things, TV screens show videos of them preparing the food.

                      Also serving jook on the peninsula all day is Blue Sky Cafe in Belmont. They have eleven versions, ranging from $3.50 to $6.95. Trying to follow up on a tip from several years back, I didn't see any jook specials on the Chinese-only white board. However, if I understood the server correctly, the Hainan chicken version listed on the menu uses yellow feather chicken so that might be a good choice.

                      I got the version with fish slices (flounder) tonight. It was thin and not very homogenous-- the view from the top looked like cloudy water. The jook's basic taste wasn't easy to discern because there was an overabundance of fresh ginger. No detectable MSG and not enough salt. Topped with a light scattering of sliced scallions.

                      On the plus side, I was very pleased with their hot and spicy A choy with fermented bean curd and chilies. Good salt and pepper wings too.

                      1. re: goodeatsgal

                        I've read quite a bit on this board that Fat Wong's has good jook. Their Chinese name actually refers to the jook. However, I have not tried it because I relate jook to food you eat when you are sick :) Also because the cheung fun is amazing at Fat Wong's so I never order anything else.

                        When I'm there, there's always a small crowd of people waiting on their to-go orders.

                        Fat Wong's Kitchen
                        1780 El Camino Real, San Bruno, CA 94066

                        1. re: bobabear

                          I could eat jook for breakfast, lunch and dinner! To me, it's an any-time food, but of course, especially good when you're sick (or are feeling like you overdid it the night before!).

                          I also love cheung fun, so I'm definitely going to have to try Fat Wong's for that, too.

                        2. re: goodeatsgal

                          Anyone know if it's till possible to requrest live tilapia jook at Chu Kong in Millbrae?

                      2. My default go to place is Gum Kuo in Oakland


                        The usual pork + preserved egg is good. I do miss Hing Lung in SF Chinatown.

                        They'll be opening up a branch in Dublin, CA.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: Mul

                          I second Gum Kuo in Oakland, my move to Oakland was perfectly timed so that I didn't suffer from the Hing Lung closing.

                          1. re: Mul

                            And if you are in Gum Kuo, make sure you get their made-to-order rice noodle roll as well. Most places in Hong Kong don't even make that from scratch anymore. I'd also recommend getting their soy sauce yellow feather chicken to go, since most Chinatown places only offer the regular non-soy sauce version.

                            1. re: vincentlo

                              I stopped by Gum Kuo last night to check out the jook to go--it seemed like a good late-night meal in the cold. I've been many times before, for the rice noodle rolls and noodle soups, which I've really enjoyed.
                              Unlike several of the other dishes of the month, jook is one I didn't feel like I had a good idea of the variety/traditionally desired characteristics of jook, I still don't have a clear picture. I'm not generally one for subtlety, which may be where the jook is losing me. I definitely prefer a strongly flavored broth, as I mentioned in this thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8340...

                              I ordered the fresh-sliced fish porridge at Gum Kuo, though I was tempted by the house-special sampan (both of which were around $6.50, the regular sampan was more like $5.) While the fish was very tender, there wasn't much overall flavor to the jook, other than the predominant ginger slivers. The texture was pleasant enough--rice was burst, and there weren't really any grains that had much texture left. While waiting for my order the woman behind the counter made another order before mine, both seemingly from plain water-boiled rice.
                              So I guess my question is: is there any style of porridge where the stock flavor is predominant, or is it generally plain rice porridge with add-ins (and/or perhaps I'm not detecting subtle broth notes)?

                              1. re: ...tm...

                                The majority of jook/porridge places are inexpensive (even in China/Hong Kong/Taiwan), and one should not expect any stock flavor, since the ingredients one orders are dumped into the plain jook base at the last minute. Fancier places will cook these ingredients in the jook raw, while others just dump the already-boiled items into the rice broth. For a really nice jook, one needs to head to an upscale restaurant, and order a custom jook, like getting a live whole tail of fish and have part of it cooked in jook and the remainder sauteed or what not.

                                1. re: ...tm...

                                  I have seen some kitchens add a spoonful of powdered yellow chicken base to an order. But more common is plain white rice jook. I typically add a shake of white pepper, which pops a lot of flavor, and sometimes salt.

                                  Both sides of my family make a good stock, strain, skim off the fat, then use it to boil jook. When I became an adult and went to more restaurants and met other Chinese families I was shocked to be served jook that was made by boiling bones, parts and rice all in the same pot. That is, if we were lucky, as most were just white rice.

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                    What a concept, after decades of my family's one-pot method. Would you kindly send along rough guidance for your pre-made stock for basic meat hook? And/or fish?

                                    1. re: dordogne

                                      The fastest and some of the most delicious meat stocks for making jook are with the discards from Cantonese roast meats. That is, the carcass of a roast duck or the roast pig head. Rather than have the deli man chop a duck, I just ask him to cut it in half lengthwise (makes it easier to handle), then I remove the edible parts from the bones at home. This link talks about roast duck stock using the bones, head, neck and wings. It takes about three hours of simmering for a full extraction of the roast duck goodness.

                                      Roast pig heads usually run $2 to $4, depending on size. Recently I had to pay $6 to buy the one at Ranch 99 in Fremont-Warm Springs, but it was huge and the counter man tossed in some other stray bones and the shin too. I usually have it hacked into four to six pieces. Be sure to go over it carefully and pull off any edible meat and pieces of crunchy skin that can be used to garnish your jook. There's usually quite a bit of yield. I will usually boil the head for about four to six hours with a nob of ginger, and the stock sets up firmer than jello once refrigerated. Here's Yimster on making jook from the roast pig. I like CYL's idea of using a pasta pot set up to strain out the bones for a one-step process.

                                      My long ago thoughts on making jook with the Thanksgiving turkey carcass. I'll usually simmer the carcass six to eight hours (overnight is an easy way). When you break the rice grains before cooking, it only takes about an hour (vs. two or three) to cook the rice down, so there's a lot of time saving there.

                                      Fish fumet is fast, only an hour cooking time, starting with saved white fish (sole, sand dabs, rockfish) heads, fins and racks from the freezer, a little rice wine vinegar, ginger, and carrot. Make your jook, then serve with thin slices of fish or scallop,

                                      Some additional jook basics on the Home Cooking board,

                                      When you reheat jook and/or stir it too much, it gets watery and thin. You can thicken it with beaten egg,

                                      While many will season jook with a drop of sesame oil added to the bowl on serving, I prefer the aroma of cooked seasoned oil. You make it by stirring a spoonful of oil in a hot well-seasoned wok. Or if you've deep-fried, save that oil,

                                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                                        Thankyouthankyou!! You are the Jacques Pepin (La Technique) of jook. Until I had my first restaurant jook, all I'd ever had was the soothing but bland post-Thanksgiving turkey carcass, all-into-the-pot-at-once version. I will definitely try the make-ahead stock with duck bones/bony bits (several places on Stockton sell the roast duck heads by the pound) or roast pig head. But with all of the cartilage in the pig head, does the resulting jook also have a stiff texture? I miss Hing Lung and look forward to trying the suggestions in this thread, but will definitely venture into homejooking (sorry).

                                        1. re: dordogne

                                          The cartilaginous stocks are only still when they're chilled. At hot serving temperature you perceive the gelatin as a silky mouthfeel. The jook I've had where the bones and rice are cooked together have not been very tasty, I suspect because the cooking time isn't long enough to extract the meaty flavors and reduce down the liquid.

                                    2. re: Melanie Wong

                                      I live in Berkeley, so we are required by municipal ordinance to eat only brown rice.
                                      We make jook by adding a lot of water to leftover cooked brown rice and boiling it for a long time, then using a stick blender to whip it into a porridge. As mentioned in other places in this thread, it's great food for days of sickness or uncertain digestive tracts.

                                      1. re: Joel

                                        And some people keep ziploc bags in their purses to carry home leftover rice from restaurants to jumpstart their next jook pot.

                                        White jook with no protein addition (salt and ginger are allowed) are the TCM diet for fighting a virus. Also prescribed for cleansing after digestive upsets.

                              2. Mission Chinese Food has a dish called westlake porridge with crab, beef and egg. When we had it a long time ago, it was great and very comforting food :)

                                Not a jook expert by any means, so no idea how it ranks as good jook


                                1. this thread about Hing Lung that just became active also has some info about jook:

                                  separately, seems like the Canton-Hong Kong / Taiwan version of porridge are easily available in the bay area. has anyone eaten the Chiu Chow version of jook around here?

                                  16 Replies
                                  1. re: ckshen

                                    You can find a rather laughable and uninteresting version of Chiu Chow jook at Menkee Won Ton on Noriega in SF, and it actually resembles more like the failed attempts at jook I have made at home in a rice cooker (enlarged water absorbed soggy rice grains with thickened water). So one could in theory make Chiu Chow congee with a rice cooker, since it is temperature controlled...and one of the crucial cooking steps is that when the pot or contents come to a boil, that the heat is turned off. Maybe rice cookers should just call the congee setting "Chiu Chow style".

                                    The salted sour pickled veg they provide on the side helps make it taste a little better. The bigger problem is that they don't have the requisite and properly done side dishes to go with it, and whatever they have is probably better attempted at home (e.g. oyster omlette that had way more eggs and overly pan fried and fry than oysters). If you see "Chinjiew sauce chicken" on the menu, avoid it....celery, black pepper sauce stir fried dried chicken strips.

                                    I am not clear if the two or three so called Chiu Chow style Cantonese seafood restaurants in the South Bay offer anything better.

                                    1. re: K K

                                      "enlarged water absorbed soggy rice grains with thickened water"

                                      That's what I was served by my Chiu Chow hosts at restaurants when I traveled to Shenzhen and Shantou on business. It's not called jook but either (literal translation) rice water or rice soup. Plain unseasoned starchy water with soft grains of rice. They said it was refreshing in the hot weather.

                                      1. re: PorkButt

                                        There is stellar and great Chiu Chow jook in Hong Kong, vs the failed attempt one makes at home (with clumpy oatmeal consistency) and what Menkee Wonton offers (not that far off). It is not as easy to describe the difference but once you taste it, CC jook is not just what I described.

                                        The closest thing I've found so far is Trieu Chau in Santa Ana Orange County (run by ethnic Chiu Chow Vietnamese Chinese folks) that I found very pleasing. I would probably try looking for this style at Vietnamese Chinese run noodle shops (assuming they have congee/jook) but I wouldn't expect it to be close.

                                        At the nitty gritty Chiu Chow "dai pai dong" places (also called "Da Lahng" shops), their congee/jook is made that way because traditional cooked rice takes a lot longer to digest, and the CC congee makes for an easier late night snack with small cold dishes (as well as marinated goose slices). Supposedly CC jook is eaten with chopsticks (like rice) instead of a spoon. The ratio of rice to water is greater than that of Cantonese style jook.

                                        1. re: K K

                                          Here's a video on jook in Chinese. The last segment is on Chiu Chow jook. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=68oPc4NzaEU

                                          1. re: judge dee

                                            Thank you so much for the link. While in some ways there was an excess of footage showing the texture of the jook at various places, it was really instructive to view the relative thickness and degrees of heterogeneity. And Teochew jook is the new thing to me that I learned about in this thread, capped off with this video.

                                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                                              First, That was a great video,,,,but i did not understand a word of it.....I did come away with two observations though...
                                              1. that old guy was a Jook Master

                                              2. the serving bowls and size would be too small for me.

                                              Second, May I make a request..

                                              1. where are these food stalls located in the world.

                                              2. what type of rice did they use. I'd like to try making some myself.

                                              1. re: fourunder

                                                The stalls are in Hong Kong, most of the places featured looks like they are stalls at food hall of the wet markets. That's where most of the old dai pai dong places got moved to.

                                                My family use long grain rice for jook, it's the same rice used for regular steam rice. To get the right texture, rinsing and soaking overnight helps the rice break up faster when cooking.

                                                The different styles are just variation with the rice to water ratio. My mom usually did the thicker jook for us if we were sick.

                                                Anyways, I find using jasmine rice makes perfect jook without overnight soaking. I typically use 3/4 cup of rice to 2.5 qt of water (I only know this exact measurement, because I use the same pot to make jook every time...I don't use a bigger pot because I will totally OD on jook if I let myself). I cook it on the stove stop and don't really stir it. Just bring rice and water to a boil, then turn it down to low-medium (my stove top runs pretty hot) until it's the right consistency. It doesn't take that long ...maybe 40 minutes max.

                                                1. re: gnomatic

                                                  The rice used at the 3:49 mark does not look like long grain or jasmine to me....but then again, I'm no expert on rice.

                                                  1. re: fourunder

                                                    The rice gets a bit fat once it's been soaking for a while. Also, I think the white long grain rice we typically used for everyday rice, aren't as long as some long grain I have seen at a regular supermarket.

                                                    I am no expert on rice either, no idea what variety it might be except it is consider long grain. my parents typically buy their rice in giant 20 lb bags from chinese supermarkets, and they store it in a plain barrel, so I don't see the label info often. We used calrose for other things (my mom keeps that in original bag). I find using shorter grain, like Calrose or sushi rice way to glutinous for my liking.

                                                    I get ended using Jasmine (in particular the Phoenix brand from Thailand) only because it was the smallest bag of long grain white rice my local store had. My parents thinks its "fancy" (it is typically more expensive then what they used), but they loved it (it's much more fragrant when cooked plain). Anyways, I noticed it cooked up way faster without the soak time when making congee then the "regular" rice my parents bought me.

                                                    I eat congee..alot. My parent actually make fun of me, they call me congee king because I can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

                                                  2. re: gnomatic

                                                    Rinsing and soaking overnight helps, but I found rinsing, draining and freezing works much better for Cantonese style jook. Just dump frozen rice kernels into rapidly boiling water. It works equally well with long and short grain rice. Of course, not to use this technique when making Teochew style.

                                                    Didn't Ton Kiang use to serve Teochew jook only when they were at the B'way location? I wonder if they still do.

                                                  3. re: fourunder

                                                    The video does not discuss the type of rice used. The technique of Cantonese jook boils the rice over high heat, then simmers for at least a couple of hours, constantly stirring until water and rice become indistinguishable and is used as jook base, which is more watery than the eventual jook. The ingredients used in flavoring the jook base distinguish various approaches to making Cantonese jook.

                                                    1. re: judge dee

                                                      Thank you very much for that informative post.

                                                      1. re: fourunder

                                                        I used mostly medium grain California rice, plus some long grain. I like the creaminess from the Cal rice, and the long grain mostly stays intact offering a variety of texture. I soak the rice overnight, then before boiling, I crunch the raw grains of rice in a fist to break them up. This helps them disintegrate faster and reduces the cooking time.

                                                      2. re: judge dee

                                                        I am in Hong Kong right now so I will hit up at least one Chiu Chow restaurant and will try to ask what kind of rice they use for their congee.

                                                        Apparently one of the congee noodle restaurants in Quarry Bay, the chef is ex Sang Kee congee in Sheung Wan and he uses a blend of four different rice grains to make congee.

                                                        I made it to Mui Kee yesterday for breakfast and the grass carp belly congee blows away everything in SF bay area...the fish stock has this fantastic complexity and carmelized smokey flavor that packs a punch...the congee itself is not creamy or as fluffy but the texture is good and the whole bowl is just perfect. Same chef, same family run business. Lots of character and personality and local flavor.

                                                  4. re: judge dee

                                                    Just wanted to add that the segment on Chiu Chow/Teochew jook starts around 6:30 on the video. And I so wish I were in HK and could have that lo sui goose.

                                              2. re: K K

                                                Are you using medium grain rice? I never get good texture with long grain, but the common calrose variety works great. I always finish on the stove so I can control consistency.

                                            2. We make jook with our Thanksgiving turkey carcass, water and long-grain rice. Especially good with my smoke-barbecued turkey's carcass.

                                              Garnish with a few shreds of iceberg lettuce and roasted salted peanuts. Delicious.

                                              1. I like the dried fish and peanut jook at TC Pastry on Irving @ 23rd in San Francisco. It goes really well with their "jia leung," which is fried crullers wrapped in thin rice flour sheets, and comes with a sesame sauce.

                                                1. This thread brings to memory this article...


                                                  I would've loved to have some of that jook... ^^

                                                  1. Zen Yai (Thai) in the TL has a really good jook with salted egg, thousand year old egg and pork.

                                                    1. I used to get my jook fix at Sun Hong Kong on Columbus and Broadway in San Francisco (where it was ( and may still be) served late at night through early morning), and more recently (but not for a couple of years) at Porridge King at Skyline plaza in Daly City. I usually go for the pork and preserved egg, and have enjoyed it at both places.

                                                      Usually, when I'm in the mood for porridge, I make Filipino arroz caldo, which is made with chicken, short grain rice, fish sauce, fried garlic, ginger and onion, as taught to me by my Filipino partner. When I don't feel like cooking it, the version at Tselogs (better known for their excellent breakfasts with fried eggs, garlic fried rice and a choice of meat) on Mission St. in Daly City is as good or better than what I make myself. I'm also rather fond of the arroz caldo at Red Ribbon bake shops, a Filipino bakery chain, although my partner insists that shiitake mushrooms, which they include, don't belong in arroz caldo.

                                                      1. One of the best versions of chicken jook was at Cafe Tomo downtown (of all places) on 1st st between mission and market.

                                                        Any idea if they ever reopened elsewhere?

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: osho

                                                          I loved that jook at Tomo. Been wondering about them lately. Hope they reopen.

                                                        2. Last night I got the preserved egg and salty pork jook at Tai Wu Mr. Fong's BBQ & Noodles (there's also a full service Tai Wu restaurant and a bakery in the same complex).

                                                          The uniformly thick jook was topped with slices of green onion. It wasn't a badly executed dish like what I had at Blue Sky last week or at Fat Wong's during the summer ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9220... ). However, the flavors didn't go much beyond what you'd get in a bowl of steamed rice. The additions didn't help much--- The tender salty pork tasted faintly of sesame oil and wasn't at all salty. The preserved egg was flavorless. I tried to amp it up with some roast duck and some juices that had pooled underneath my roast duck appetizer, but the duck had come out cold so it didn't leave a big enough impression.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: hyperbowler

                                                            The BBQ noodle rice plates eatery is definitely several steps down from Cooking Papa and Fat Wong's which I find rather unrefined, but it's a blue collar worker's dinner of champions as the portions are generous at least for the roasties rice plates, and the prices reasonable. I never had the jook there but from your writeup, does not sound very promising.

                                                            With the winter chill in full effect, I find that while a bowl of jook hits the spot in a jiffy, the warmth and filling feeling you get disappears quite quickly. The perfect winter trio of Cantonese food to eat in an ideal situation would be a) snake soup, b) lamb brisket claypot and c) claypot glutinous rice with Chinese sausage (lap cheung and duck liver sausage...salty fatty greasy unhealthy goodness).

                                                            But at this rate, some live from the tank fresh seafood congee and having it prepped another way at Koi Palace does sound good too.

                                                            Not jook per se, but another fun thing to do is to bring several people to Sumika in Los Altos. Order the baitan mizutaki (chicken bone white soup with chicken slices shabu shabu). After cooking and eating everything in the pot (inclusive of vegetables), leave a large amount of soup in, ask for rice, dunk it in, and let it cook longer...and then you have a super delicious zosui (JP jook). Can crack a jidori egg inside too to give it a little texture and flavor. You could pay the $11 to get the Yuba sashimi appetizer, and dunk that in, let it cook and you kind of create your own pseudo Chiu Chow pseudo Canto Japanese themed jook that way.

                                                          2. Had Lunch at Yin Du Wonton House today on Pacific and while i did NOT eat the congee i did happen to notice that they had as many variations of congee as they did of wonton soup. (which isn't saying much, cause it is a small menu.) They had about 7 or 8 variations. Half the tables were eating congee and the other half were eating wonton soups.
                                                            it looked pretty good.
                                                            nothing on the menu was over 5 dollars.

                                                            Next time i am feeling rundown and fluish, or hungover, i will head back for my congee fix.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: jupiter

                                                              I had the fish congee at Yin Du Wonton House today. There was a good amount of tender, perfectly cooked fish with some nice slivers of fresh ginger. Seems like a generic congee base with toppings stirred in. Overall, the flavor was a little weak for me. I'd get it again in a pinch, but I'd love to hear about better options in the SF Chinatown area.

                                                              1. re: limonata

                                                                Yeah, the congee base is as plain as it comes. Tastes of rice and water, nothing else, but I liked the texture. If you don't want any add-ons, for $2, you get a decent sized portion. A few weeks back, I used it as a medium for trying a bunch of random pickles I bought in Chinatown. Not a bad breakfast for $3...

                                                            2. Are there any places that have a buffet style selection of condiments and pickles to choose from?

                                                              1. In downtown Oakland, Annie's Deli has a good chicken version that is a great workday lunch. Hawker Fare also has a good one. Also, I liked Mission Chinese's Westlake rice porridge, though it's been a while since I had it.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: uberbird

                                                                  went to hawker fare,w/ jook in mind--turns out, only an occasional offer on their specials board.

                                                                2. At Ran Kanom Thai at 99 ranch market in the east pacific mall in Richmond. They have Jook today.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Ridge

                                                                    We just ate lunch at Ran Kanom Thai. This is a takeout place but they do have some seats for eating in. We had papaya salad and pork Jook. The Jook was topped with thin strips of fresh ginger, cilantro, green onion, fried shallot, a splash of soy sauce and white pepper. The Jook had pork meatballs. It was excellent. Very rich, velvety smooth and comforting. The toppings provided excellent flavor accents.

                                                                  2. With few other places to eat past midnight near San Mateo, I stopped by ABC Cafe for jook a bit before closing. I chose the variety with preserved egg, salty egg yolk, and pork. The texture was bit on the looser side but homogenous. Little bits of salty egg yolk were distributed throughout the jook and each bit of preserved egg had plenty of funk to remind me that it's not just a boiled egg. There were pieces of pork in every spoonful and they were so dry, like overcooked turkey dry, that they seemed to wick moisture from my mouth at each bite.

                                                                    If I were to return again, I think simpler additions would be more my speed--- there was too much going on that I couldn't get a sense of the base flavor or even the MSG level KK mentioned upthread.

                                                                    1. Last week I had the chicken and roasted duck jook at Cooking Papa. My one previous experience with CP's jook not long after they opened in Foster City was disappointing. The memory of an excellent bowl of fish and taro jook at The Kitchen was fresh in my mind and I was hoping to hit a similar high with CP's taro-less sliced fish jook. The fish was bland and even after adding all the condiments the bowl had little flavor. After that meal instead of jook I'd order one of the rice noodles in fish broth dishes, which filled a similar need.

                                                                      No such complaints about my second CP jook experience. The jook had a pleasing smooth consistency. The bowl was well flavored by the chicken and duck though I did add most of the condiments (scallion and pickles). It came to my table piping hot and I had to be careful to avoid burning my tongue. I noticed the chicken parts were very bony and thought I'd be willing to sacrifice some flavor for the convenience of not having to get the meat off those little bones. Fortunately I didn't get what I thought I wanted. My first piece was part of a chicken back with extremely flavorful meat, well worth the effort to get it off the bones. The duck pieces were no less flavorful and I was a very contented diner. Hot flavorful jook was the perfect antidote for a very cold morning.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: charliemyboy

                                                                        I had the salted pork and preserved egg jook from Daimo last night and it was delicious. I like the consistency of their jook - not too thick or thin, lots of flavor (not sure if they use a chicken broth base or what), with lots of pork and egg. I like it with a little white pepper on top. Perfect winter meal.

                                                                      2. Just had the porridge from Spice Kit in SOMA — it's a breakfast menu special. The menu describes it as "Savory Rice Porridge, Chinese Sausage, Crispy Garlic, Ginger, Peanuts & Soft Egg" and it's a small bowl packed with lots of different flavors. There's some scallion and a bit of cilantro (I think) in there as well. It's $5 for a bowl, which is a hearty breakfast.

                                                                        Texture-wise, it was a little too soupy/watery, but the flavor was never bland. It's just not the thick congee that you get at many other places. The bits of sausage in it are good, but not as sweet as I personally like. Soft cooked egg is a nice touch, and it was cooked the right amount.

                                                                        Not necessarily worth a trip for this dish, but if you're in the hood and want some porridge, it's a nice option.

                                                                        1. Dateline: December 7, 2013

                                                                          With errands to complete in the East Bay, I headed to Fremont’s Chinese Cuisine Restaurant for a late breakfast of jook. The venue had been mentioned as taken over and then abandoned by SF’s Hing Lung folks,

                                                                          A new owner came on board less than a month earlier and changed the Chinese name to Gum Wong though the name in English remains the same. It offers dim sum and Hong Kong style cooking. Here’s the jook section of the menu,

                                                                          It was nearly full on this Saturday, and most tables had a plate of lobster noodles and various dim sum. I ordered the “fish fillet & lettuce congee”, $6.99. Served in an iron pot, the combination of lumpy white on white looked pretty barfy. And it turned out to be fish paste rather than fish fillets. A better option in fact, the lumps of fish paste had a decided white pepper seasoning and the fluffy texture of fish quenelles, which I guess they in fact are. The occasional bit of black fish skin and darker colored meat made the dish even more homely.

                                                                          The bowl of jook was accompanied by chopped scallions, salty spicy preserved vegetable, and roasted peanuts. I enjoyed adding them separately and together to vary the taste of my dish.

                                                                          This photo of my individual bowl shows the texture of the jook better . . . thick and creamy base with bloated medium grain rice. The jook was well-flavored on its own from poaching the fish paste and probably a little MSG. Very fine shreds of tender fresh ginger and julienne of lettuce were mixed in.

                                                                          From the check-off dim sum menu, I tried the fried milk, $2.89. Leaden thick batter, grease-logged, starchy interior . . . not recommended.

                                                                          I’d get jook here again and the lobster noodles looked good.

                                                                          Chinese Cuisine Restaurant
                                                                          39144 Paseo Padre Pkwy
                                                                          Fremont, CA 94538
                                                                          (510) 505-9255

                                                                          1. This was a tough month to focus on going out for jook for me. Post-Thanksgiving I have a freezer and refrigerator overflowing with roast turkey stock and smoked turkey stock. I've been making jook at home every week to use some of it, so less motivation to seek it outside. So I honed in on the fresh seafood versions that would be different than what I'd normally do at home. And I chose places that were new to me or in the case of Brother, where I'd not had the jook before. Links to the last filings for the month:

                                                                            12/9/2013 - S & E Cafe in San Francisco, clam and chicken jook. Pretty pointless, not recommended.

                                                                            12/10/2013 - Brother Seafood in San Francisco, live giant surf clam jook. The best of the three spots tried this month.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. Dateline: December 30, 2013

                                                                              Well, I thought I was done with December’s dish of the month. But yesterday, Mom and I were driving by Gilroy at 8:30pm and I figured New Tung Kee was as good a spot as any to grab a bite on a chilly night. It’s a Vietnamese-Chinese chain in Silicon Valley.

                                                                              The small size of combination porridge (chao thap cam) is only $5.50. This first photo shows what it looks like as served. A separation of the burst but still distinct rice grains from the thin and watery liquid portion, a spoonful of cooked oil for that je ne sais quoi aroma and flavor element, and some whole leaves of cilantro. The rice grains were very soft and tender, feeling almost frothy in the mouth. Viewed like this, it’s easy to understand why the Teochew (Chiu Chow) would call it rice water and eat it with chopsticks though a spoon was provided for me.

                                                                              Breaking through the white surface to stir up the contents, I uncovered two tail-on perfectly tender and sweet shrimp, a couple of rubbery meatballs, thin tender slices of pork and chicken, lots of salty and spicy diced hom choy (preserved turnip), and chopped scallions. The liquid fraction tasted like it had been seasoned with some chicken base or a big dose of MSG. It was quite tasty as is though I would suffer from a swollen tongue and great thirst afterwards. All the standard pho condiments were on the table, but I didn’t add anything.

                                                                              I’d ordered the combination porridge a few months ago at cross-town rival, TK Noodle, over by the outlet center. New Tung Kee’s was considerably better, not overcooking the meats and a surer hand with seasonings.

                                                                              At that time I had no idea that there was a distinct Teochew style of rice porridge. Thanks to this thread, I recognized it this go-round.

                                                                              More about New Tung Kee aka Luu Noodle

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                                having keeping tabs on this thread......I can officially say the Jook sucks in new York compared to what I have seen here..

                                                                              2. Just went to Peony (Oakland Chinatown) for the first time in its newly spiffed up (new owner, I think I've read) iteration. Place was packed at lunchtime. Service left a bit to be desired.

                                                                                But tasty jook w/ preserved egg and pork was just the ticket for my sore throat--and a bargain to boot @ $3 and something.

                                                                                1. Well, I'm definitely slow here (two entries, the month after DOTM).

                                                                                  But had a very good (more New Age than trad) jook @ Samovar Tea Lounge (the one in the Castro).

                                                                                  Nice consistency re rice, options of smoked duck or smoked salmon or tempeh on top (I did duck, which was delicious), lots of other little ingredients to sprinkle (fresh ginger, dried garlic, chopped nuts, grated carrot, chopped scallions) and a bit of sauce (soy-based) to stir in as well. I quite enjoyed.

                                                                                  Sipped Tolstoy Sip (black tea w/ bergamot) along side--the server recommended it w/ almond milk and a coconut-something sugar.

                                                                                  1. Dumpling Express makes everything on site in an open kitchen.
                                                                                    tried june 2014
                                                                                    eats: meat porridge (4.13)
                                                                                    -watery rice, tender beef, lots of sodium: msg and salt
                                                                                    -ready in 7 minutes.

                                                                                    note quality similar to New Hing Lung, fremont location last year. hing lung pricier.