No. 74. Congee at King Lobster Palace

Rice porridge is one of those breakfast foods Asian moms make when you're feeling under the weather. My mom did, anyway — YAMMMV (your Asian mom mileage may vary). The best local version is served in Orange's King Lobster Palace.


Congee is what the Cantonese version is called, and you'll find it for breakfast in dim sum restaurants, where it may also be accompanied with fried savory crullers for contrasting texture. When the dim sum cart-lady walks past with the covered-up steam cart walks past your table, you may or may not be asked if you want congee, possibly because non-Asian Americans typically don't have a familial attachment to rice gruel.


Like grits, rice porridge doesn't sound appealing at all to the
uninitiated, but at King Lobster Palace, be sure you watch for the boxy
steam cart that's completely covered up — chase the congee lady down if
you must.

Properly-cooked congee tastes plain, so as not to upset the stomach, but picks up flavor from rich ingredients that cook within, like bits of spice-preserved 1000 year egg. The version at KLP has lots of good-sized pieces that flavor the bland soup, along with a strong dose of white pepper ground into a fine dust that makes it more potent. Salt? Why, yes, there is a healthy dose, some bits of chicken meat for protein, green onion, and interestingly, freshly-fried corn flakes to take the place of the fried cruller.

It's just the thing when you're feeling under the weather and not wanting to leave the bed on a Saturday morning. Have a bowl of congee, wash down some roast pork buns with jasmine tea, and you'll be feeling better in no time.

The list so far:

75. Fish and Chips at Slapfish
76. Fries at Playground

77. Carne en Su Jugo at La Cocina de Mi Abuelita
78. S'mores at Ti Amo Biscotti & More
79. Broken Rice at Dat Thanh
80. Bulgogi and Potato Pizza at Chicken & Pizza Love Letter
81. Braised Bacon at Break of Dawn
82. Cake Donut at Cream Pan
83. Bistec de Pollo at Mercado El Rey
84. The Rhino at Rancho a Go Go
85. Cabernet Brownies at Blackmarket Bakery
86. Cookie Monster at Lola Ice Cream and Deli
87. Polenta Board at CUCINA Enoteca
88. Falafel Taco at Taco Asylum
89. Wagon-Wheel Bread at THE RANCH Restaurant
90. Toothpick Tacos at Mexico Supermarket
91. Hoppin' John at Memphis at the Santora
92. Free Beans and Chips at Taqueria Zamora
93. Pig in a Blanket Waffle with Gringo Bandito at Cafe Calacas
94. “Pork Hash” at Huong Giang
95. Sweet Chili Chicken Quesadilla At Kogi
96. Licuados at Mil Jugos
97. Hawaiian Ahi Poke at California Fish Grill
98. Takoyaki at Takoyaki Tanota
99. Fiesta Noodles at Jollibee
100. Chilaquiles Verdes Con Huevos Estrellados at La Tablita California

Click here to view our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2010!
Click here to view our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2011!

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