Nothing beats a hot, warming bowl of congee — whatever the weather may be. Also known as rice porridge, congee has been around for thousands of years and is made by boiling rice in water. It is typically cooked with flavorsome ingredients like meat or fish, and garnished with condiments. The Cantonese variety is versatile: traditionally eaten during breakfast, it also makes for a popular late-night snack, while milder versions are often consumed during illness. For a good ol’ fashioned bowl of Cantonese-style congee as well as some other regional varieties, check out these congee shops in Hong Kong:
Cheuk Kee Congee Shop | 卓記粥店
This venerable, no-frills congee joint has stood in Kennedy Town since time immemorial and serves up a huge selection of congees at super affordable prices. Classic congees, like thousand-year-old egg and pork, are just $16; the majority of varieties, like fish skin, beef and chicken, are $22; They’re served piping hot and full of flavor — a sure sign that the congee has been cooked with adequate time and care. Congee accompaniments like yau zha gwai (fried dough sticks) are $8. Despite some negative reviews after Cheuk Kee changed hands a few years back, we still think this is one of the best congee spots in town.
G/F, 54 Belcher’s Street, Kennedy Town.
Sang Kee Congee Shop | 生記粥品専家
Not to be confused with a popular cha chaan teng of the same name in Hung Hom, Sang Kee Congee Shop is a Sheung Wan institution. Sang Kee specializes in fish, so you can’t go wrong with one of the fish congees. If you’re after the crab congee, you’d better head there early — it’s often sold out by lunch-time. There’s no English sign, but you’ll recognize it by the hordes of diners lining up.
7-9 Burd Street, Sheung Wan, 2541-1099.
Chan Kan Kee Chiu Chow Restaurant | 陳勤記鹵鵝飯店
Rather than having a sticky consistency like the Cantonese variety, Chiu Chow congee keeps the rice intact, serving it in a broth. A signature Chiu Chow dish, it consists of baby oysters as well as minced pork, garnished with pickles. Try an authentic bowl at Chan Kan Kee, which sources its oysters from Shantou. According to some, minced pork in Chiu Chow congee was added by the Cantonese to combat the fishy aftertaste of oysters — but either way, it makes for a filling meal that’s not too heavy.
11 Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan, 2858-0033.
Fat Kee | 發記腸粉粥品
Yuen Long neighborhood favorite Fat Kee specializes in congees of all kinds. The pork meat and liver congee is a standout, while the steamed prawn cheung fun and turnip cake are also worth a try.
67 Kin Yip Street, Yuen Long, 2474-2201.
Shun Kee Typhoon Shelter
“Sampan congee” originated in China’s southern coastal provinces and was a staple of fishing families. While you’ll find this variety at some congee shops around town, the closest version to an authentic bowl is served at Shun Kee Typhoon Shelter, an old-school eatery that operates out of a sampan on water. Sampan congee consists of roasted duck as well as a whole host of seafood delicacies, like jellyfish, squid and sea cucumber. Dining at the typhoon shelter is an experience in itself — staff take you out to the sampan on… well, another sampan. Save some space for seafood dishes!
G/F, 104 Hing Fat Street, Tin Hau, 8112-0075.
Wai Kee Congee Shop | 威記粥店
Wai Kee has been around for some time and retains a dai pai dong kind of feel to it. Its signature dishes? The mighty trio of congee, yau zha gwai and cheung fun (both plain and char siu-filled are available). All the usual congee suspects are here, like beef or fish, as well as more adventurous types like pig blood curd.
G/F, 8 Stanley Street, Central, 2551-5564.
Wong Ming Kee | 黃明記粥粉麵家
Local diner Wong Ming Kee offers a huge range of noodles and rice dishes — and its congee is particularly popular. Aside from the classics, there are also more unusual kinds available like pig kidney and liver, and mandarin skin with rabbitfish.
G/F, 80 Kai Tak Road, Kowloon City, 2716-2929.