I think hppzz’s viewpoint is correct that this is more akin to vietnamese risotto than the chao we had growing up.
Creating Genuine, Unique Flavors with a Humble Canvas - The Delicious, Interesting Porridges and More at Porridge and Puffs [Thoughts + Pics]
The sliced beefsteak tomatoes and onions will probably be back at APL when beefsteak tomatoes are in season.
I was going to ask you and @Ns1, where are your favorite places to try traditional Vietnamese Chao? Thanks!
Canton Restaurant (Chao Ca Cho Cu) in Westminster for the fish porridge/Chao Ca.
Cho Tam Bien in Westminster for the pork offal and sausage porridge/Chao Long. 2 kinds of sausage! Blood and Lemongrass.
I’m out on this one. Chao is definitely one of those dishes that I’ve only ever had home made. I think @JeetKuneBao had a suggestion for chao long from a place on Bolsa, but chao long is an entirely different animal from traditional chao because the rice is toasted prior to adding liquid.
My point was not so much the process— one post mention it’s just rice and stock to argue against its price point. @robert brought up risotto— no one really nitpicks about the price of risotto which is also rice and stock. Though truth be told I do remember kenji write about restaurants making big batch of risotto and finishing it to order. https://www.seriouseats.com/2017/05/how-to-make-ahead-risotto
The temptation with anything seemingly simple, ie bread, porridge, what have you, is that the source ingredients are so cheap it can’t possibly command a high price. This is esp true of Asian food when many of us have been been lucky to have parents or grandparents cook porridge for us. But one taste of a good sourdough and you’ll agree what you paid was worth it—maybe even tartines’s $13 loaf. In the case of Phan’s porridge, just suspend comparisons to traditional congee and judge it on its own merit to see whether these simple ingredients has been transformed to something delicious for you or not.
It’s just extraordinary rice that’s hard to get. Or for most people most of the year, impossible to get. She doesn’t even use stock.
Restaurants generally don’t make real risotto, which requires a dedicated station to cook it to order.
Come to think of it maybe 4 to 5+ years ago I had a beef chao at Trieu Chau in Santa Ana.
Granted Trieu Chau is Vietnamese Chinese (with Chiu Chow Chinese roots) and pretty much every goes for their noodle soup or dry noodles/broth on the side mostly. But they do have chao there and it was very tasty in memory. This is not Vietnamese Chao, but at the restaurant it is listed and categorized as Chao (with the Chinese character for jook listed as well).
From memory it was really good, as if they added some of the bone/meat stock or used it to cook at some point. Good thickness and almost done in a style of Hong Kong Cantonese Chiu Chow congee but different (for a fairly legit Chiu Chow congee HK Cantonese style, the version at Seafood Palace is pretty legit). So in a way, a hybrid between Hong Kong Cantonese jook, Chiu Chow jook, and Vietnamese Chao, more slanted towards Cantonese style a bit.
I would second JKB’s canton rec, but we usually get the cha ca Thanh long there (fish w turmeric/dill); having said that you high class FTC’ers will likely be disappointed by the fish quality.
Thanks @Ns1. I’ve been looking for a good cha ca thanh long for a while now. I went to one recommended on our old board, but it closed down a while back sadly.
I don’t know how y’all will get over the tilapia issue - VN people generally accept tilapia/basa as default for many items calling for fish.
Maybe there’s a more recent purveyor doing a higher class version of this dish…
Da Chinese wouldn’t mind it one bit…