Wednesday, July 08, 2020


A discussion about mashed potatoes versus guacamole (go figger) got me thinking about food. Which is automatic anyway, but if texture is a defining factor in certain foods, and what people unconsciously like or dislike, then those two dishes, while similar, are distinctly different. Steak with the texture of either would be extremely disturbing.

One of the things I miss, which I really could do at home but don't want to because it takes time and I'm fundamentally all about sitting down somewhere else and having nice warm food come to me within minutes, rather than myself going into the kitchen frequently to stir a pot and make sure nothing is burning for hours, is jook. Congee.
Often inaccurately called "rice porridge".
It isn't porridge.

It's rice cooked till the grains are at the fall-apart stage. So it's suitable for early morning, late night, the invalid as well as the alcoholic, and a perfect lunch when you're not that hungry but do need something.
Very comforting and homey.

Two fave types: preserved egg and lean pork congee (皮蛋瘦肉粥 'pei daan sau yiuk juk'), and dried fish and peanuts congee 柴魚花生粥 'chai-yü faa-sang juk'). The first is probably everybody's favourite, no surprise there. And many people fondly remember their mom's chicken and abalone congee (鮑魚滑雞粥 'baau yü kwat kai juk').
Congee is totemic AND iconic.

With chopped chives and a little minced ginger.

Plus a fried bread stick (油條 'yau tiu')

A few years ago I often went to the Utopia (蔘滿意粥) in mid-afternoon, but they closed down a while back. I still go to Yummy Fast Food (金華點心快餐) on Stockton, and the Washington Cafe (華盛頓茶餐廳), or at least I did until the Pandemic nixed indoor dining.

Both places do good fried bread sticks for dunking in the congee, and are fun for people-watching. At the Washington I would usually get the pork liver jook (豬潤粥 'chyu yeun juk') or the pork meatball jook (豬肉丸粥 'chyu yiuk yuen juk'), with a yau tiu.

Lunch today (or breakfast, but I don't eat breakfast) was curry with turnips, fried potato chunks, shredded vegetables, and meatballs.
Fish paste and citrus as part of the flavour panoply.

I've been up since six o'clock. I've had coffee. The afternoon will be a long lazy tea time. Dinner is probably going to be matcha ice cream.

Not going to wander around Chinatown with my pipe.
Too many white people without masks.

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