Congee spots in Toronto aren’t only for porridge but for a wide array of Cantonese cuisine. Just look at the expansive menus ranging from lobster to turnip patties at places like Congee Queen and Mr. Congee.
The following 10 dishes are must-tries at your local congee restaurant.
Yes, you can eat deep fried foods for breakfast! Fried dough fritters are pretty much MANDATORY with congee. The fritter’s crunch adds a contrasting texture to the smooth rice porridge, and its saltiness compliments the congee’s light flavour
There are plenty of restaurants that focus on Wonton noodles but your neighbourhood congee restaurant does it as well. Dig into wontons bursting with shrimp and the crisp noodles that soak in a delectable broth. Don’t forget the chili oil!
With dozens of variations, clay pot rice can come with chicken, tofu, and much more. The clay pot keeps everything inside hot (so make sure not to touch the pot) while the rice touching the clay becomes crispy. Top it off with soya sauce and it’s ready to go.
You’ve never seen a root vegetable quite like this. Chopped, fried, and married to chili peppers, garlic, and scallions; these turnips will “turn up” the flavour levels on your taste buds.
No one eats boiled vegetables… unless there’s Hoisin sauce involved! A perfect way to get the greens in with a protein and carb-heavy meal, without having to drench it in the oil and salt from a stir-fry. The hoisin sauce’s tangy flavour endorses the natural sweetness of the vegetables.
This squishy delicious roll goes with anything. Soya sauce if you’re a savoury person, peanut sauce if you want it sweet, and even Sriracha for a bit of heat. It’s as versatile as it is yummy!
The most classic fried rice: egg, BBQ pork, chicken, shrimp, scallions, vegetables, and rice. Many Canadian-Chinese restaurants have labelled it as the special/house fried rice; at genuine Chinese restaurants, however, it’s known as Yang Chow fried rice. Each ingredient has a voice of its own yet they don’t overcrowd the dish.
Deep fried tofu only makes sense in the same place where you eat fried dough fritters for breakfast. A typically “healthy” item becomes a wonder for your senses after a bubbling oil bath. Add Sriracha and Hoisin sauce for flavour and enjoy the texture of silky tofu with a crunchy outer layer.
What’s a dinner without chicken! Cantonese people love their free-range chicken, so much so, that it’s prepared in a distinct way. The chicken’s poached to a ripe tenderness, where even the white meat doesn’t taste dry. A dipping sauce made from ginger, scallion, oil and salt provides an extra layer of oriental flavours.
No need to go to your nearest Italian bistro for calamari—your local congee spot has it too. Albeit, Cantonese calamari is quite different. Flavours teeter towards spicy and savoury, with the help of chili peppers and garlic. The coating is also creamier as opposed to Italian calamari’s crunchiness.