Whether eaten early in the day for breakfast or late at night before bed, porridge has a magical way of soothing all that ails. As the days get colder, it is a duty of care to tell Hongkongers exactly where they can get their nourishing bowl of congee for the ultimate comfort food fix. By Josephine Lau
RECOMMENDED: If congee's not your thing, there are plenty of breakfast joints in Hong Kong that can definitely give you a delicious start to the day.
Where to find good congee in Hong Kong
Tucked away on the streets of Sheung Wan, this congee shop has been rooted in this spot, and the hearts of the community, for over 40 years. The eatery’s supreme bowl of congee is slow-cooked using quality pork bone broth, giving it a naturally sweet flavour. Sang Kee's Dace Fish Ball Congee ($47) is a must-try. Made of fresh fish paste, the fish balls are flawlessly juicy and tender. Top it off with the condiments that come along with it and you’ll be heading home with gastronomic delight.
Established in 1979, one of Mui Kee's long-standing winning formulas is the presence of wok hei in their congee. Using specially-procured copper base brass pots, ingredients get cooked through fast in high heat while retaining their tender texture. Fish and pork bone stock is used for their congee base, which is boiled with mashed century eggs and bean curd skin, resulting in a silky smooth consistency. Every bowl of congee here has a unique smokiness and wok flavour that is totally irresistible. Be sure to order the Fish Belly Congee ($42). Fresh and flavourful, it is truly the masterpiece of this establishment. Saddle that up with some crispy yau tiu (dough fritters), and you’ll have your palate covered.
The Chiu Chow-style congee served at this quaint eatery is totally different from the Cantonese version and is really something to behold. Rather than coming out in a thick, gooey consistency, it is cooked rice in soup – the rice grains remain whole and settle at the bottom of the bowl. The most authentic way of cooking Chiu Chow congee is with oysters, and this restaurant serves their signature congee along with minced pork – which alleviates the fishy aftertaste of oysters – all garnished with pickles. Every spoonful of baby oysters and porridge brings out the rich seafood taste.
Aside from the breakfast favourite – century egg and lean pork congee ($37), Fu Kee is famous for its Cup Dai congee ($39) – a combination of pork delicacies featuring meatballs, pig's heart, liver and kidneys, all imbuing the melt-in-your-mouth congee with a rich meatiness. Top off this soulful bowl of porridge with Fu Kee's home-made soy sauce, or go the extra mile and order their juicy roasted goose. Make sure you eat the congee by gently skimming off the top porridge in a circular motion to prevent the heat from burning your tongue!
Whilst not as historic as the other congee contenders, this humble shop has claimed Michelin recommendations over the years. They pride themselves on their MSG-free congee, with a fish broth base made from six different types of dace fish, giving it a rich, flavourful taste that is good enough to eat plain. But we do highly recommend their bestsellers to date – the Pork Liver and Scallop Congee ($69), and the Rabbitfish Congee ($52). Tack on the Glutinous Rice Dumpling (+$18) stuffed with salted duck egg and meat for an extra dose of comfort.