There’s been discussion here of congees at HK/Cantonese breakfast joints, at the dim sum palaces, Taiwanese (Lu’s) and some discussion of chao in Little Saigon, but what about porridges from other Asian countries? I feel I’m fairly up on where to get the best in the SGV, and places in Koreatown for juk, but what about…
Thai chok…any place in Thai Town that has a good version?
Japanese kayu? Does anyone know of any place in Gardena/Torrance that has it?
Indonesian bubur? I haven’t found it on any menus, has anyone else seen it?
Indian? Anything in Little India?
I’ve pored over menus, but haven’t turned up anything for the above.
Full disclosure, this might turn up in an article, but I’m also interested in having these regardless of whether an article pans out or not.
I can highly recommend the (Filipino) arroz caldo at Sari Sari, but last time I checked, it was off the menu. Don’t know if that was because it was summer and it will be back on the menu now that it’s sweater weather.
Also, highly highly recommend the (Japanese-ish) seafood porridge at Orsa and Winston. OMG. If I could afford $30 for lunch every day, that would be where I would spend it.
Pongal and arisi upma, which you might find on Indian breakfast menus, are made like porridge, but they’re not soupy.
Don’t forget the niche / variants:
Vietnamese Chao - Trieu Chau Santa Ana I recall made a good one but it was more Vietnamese Chinese Chiu Chow. Places that specialize in Central Vietnamese Cuisine sometimes would have it as well (7 course beef restaurant in San Francisco for example, would have a beef chao course near the end), and I vaguely recall even Brodard’s version of Chao was ok a few years ago. Look for slight variations of Chao between restaurants and why they are different (from the density of some to the watered down nature of some interpretations)
Teochew/Chiu Chow Cantonese juk - Seafood Palace makes an excellent rendition (hopefully still so, been a few years since I last had it, the location at Las Tunas). If I were to compare I’d say the Chao at Trieu Chau is close in flavor, but far more dense. The version at SP tastes exactly like the kind you find at Chiu Chow restaurants in Hong Kong which also was a great pleasure to have again. The rice grains are cooked but not to the point where they pop and turn into puffy creamy clouds like Cantonese juk, although a lot of good flavor. It’s a different beast altogether compared to Taiwanese style which is used to supplement the small plates stir fry/steam table deliciousness.
Suggestion for the article: might also be informative if describing the texture of all the variations, history/culture as appropriate, and the (general) process of cooking (even better if the chefs are willing to share in general how they cook it…avoid the places that just do shortcuts), in addition to what other foods are paired with it normally.
The congee/jook snobs in Hong Kong judge a bowl just plain (as is). The bowls that contain meat/innards or seafood tend to have other distractions in it (in addition to MSG). The plain one (if HK Cantonese), should be at a minimum a blend of old crop/new crop rice, maybe some dried scallops/conpoy, and the creaminess can be achieved by adding some yuba/tofu skin on top during cooking (at least if doing it at home). Some add gingko nut and of course there’s always some ginger around…and whatever base stock/seasoning is required. But this is HK…a lot of that labor intensive work and nuance gets lost across the Pacific…
Oh I’m sure Porridge + Puffs needs to be mentioned in the article for something that’s unique / out of box!
seems to me that this is one case while yelp might be useful using ‘rice porridge’ as a search argument. the first page included a thai & a cambodian place.
Siam Sunset in Hollywood is probably THE place for Thai-Chinese breakfast/porridge.
Also try the Pork Blood (and Offal) Soup on the breakfast menu:
There is also Khao Tom at Ruen Pair. Foodie media keeps mentioning papaya salad blah blah this is THE place to get late night Thai-Chiu Chow meal. Omelette with turnip, stir fry morning glory, thousand year old egg with basil and some khao tom. That is like straight outta Bangkok Chinatown but y’all wanna get some Som Tom from a non-Isaan granny or auntie lol.
Phnom Penh Noodle Shack also has porridges. Try the House Special and Mo Special. Basically the same noodle soup ingredients in the House and Mo specials in porridge form. The donuts that accompany it are great.
If you are going to do Vietnamese chao, I think the bowl to beat is the Chao Long at Cho Tam Bien and the Fish Porridge at Canton Restaurant/Chao Ca Cho Cu…it’s in their name! Those are pretty unknown spots from the foodie media. Cho Tam Bien makes those sausages, lemongrass and blood, so it’s “artisan”.
Chao Dem in Garden Grove serves up Singapore Frog Porridge. Might be one of the few places that serve it in So Cal. Never had it there so I can’t vouch for it.
Might be worth it to call up Fukagawa to see if they have okayu or if they can do it (off the menu, I find that Japanese Japanese places do a lot of off menu dishes in my experience)
There is plenty of places with zosui though.
Also worth mentioning is saving your broth from hot pot to make porridge and noodle soups. This step is almost completely ignored here but is standard in a lot of Asian families.
The rice porridge made with chicken broth at yakitori ya is pretty fantastic
A great point. That’s “zosui” which is typically at yakitori shops in Japan that may also offer a hotpot / nabe (or chicken shabu shabu) that for a fee, to add rice after most of the solids are consumed, to let the broth that contained all the ingredients from cooking earlier, to absorb into the rice. Some yakitori izakaya have ready made zosui as a carb closer option. A splash of shichimi togarashi and it’s efffin heavenly.
Oyaku on the other hand, is plain congee Japanese style very simply seasoned (not cooked with hotpot broth or other types), sometimes topped with umeboshi, or I’ve heard of just having red beans on top. An ailment for sickness, although I’ll be the first to admit that’s exactly what I needed after yakiniku offal food poisoning last year in Tokyo (lol).
Or taking leftover bones from any restaurant meal to make it.
I wonder if there’s a restaurant that serves our (Armenian/Karabagh) dish called kurkut which is a cracked wheat and pork porridge . I only have it when aunties make it
The process seems quite different with this dish… I didn’t really grow up with that, it maybe from the arabic country type of armenians… i’ll ask my auties… what we grew up with is called Kurkut from actual Armenia (Kharabagh / Artsagh region) and it always has pork not chicken. It’s a very simple dish that is a perfect example of 1+1>2. Not to say i know everything about our cuisine, just not something i’ve ever had.
If you like the black egg with basil at ruen pair you gotta try the one at Yai. It’s my favorite
I love Yai’s Crispy Pork with Chinese Broccoli or Ong Choy with a fried egg and spoonfuls of prik nam pla. I think it’s the best in Thai Town. What else do you like at Yai’s?
I think kurkut is the name of that kind of pearled wheat.
I think you’re the person who first turned me onto Yai with that pork belly/Chinese broccoli rec!
Honestly the only things I’ve been really excited by there are the black egg w basil and the pork belly. Gotta try that ong choy though.
You think it’s the best place in Thai Town or just for those dishes?
That’s right. But we also call the dish that . You know a lot about Armenian food
There are two types of Indian porridge like dishes that I know of: poha and Daliya. But, we usually make them at home.
the closest indian porridge to congee is both very close to it in type and name: the south indian kanji, a watery rice gruel–basically, the water from cooking rice. the question of whether the dish and the name went east/north or south/west, i leave to people with actual knowledge.