For those who grew up eating it, congee is comfort food. It's warming, but the fact that it's eaten year round - even when the weather is steamy - is testament to its popularity.
The 40-year-old chain known as Sang Kee Congee - which has two shops in Sheung Wan, one in Quarry Bay and another in Yau Ma Tei, all of which are constantly packed at lunch and dinner time - started off as an open-air food stall. It is best known for its carp belly served in a smooth, flavourful congee base (HK$33). To ensure the freshness of the fish, the owner says they buy it from the wet market up to six times a day. To alleviate any fishiness the carp might have, the congee is served with a bowl of soy sauce with chopped spring onion and ginger.
You can also order congee with carp slices, and carp bones, along with a wide variety of other ingredients such as chicken, beef, house-made meatballs (which have a good bouncy texture) and many types of pork offal. To make the congee a lot more filling, order a dish of deep fried dough and use it to soak up the soupy rice.
Another winner is Sang Kee's beef brisket. At other places, it can be chewy, so I prefer tendon, but here it's wonderfully tender and juicy. Order it with chunks of sweet, soft radish for HK$36. The house-made beef balls are also popular.
Sang Kee Congee, 7-9 Burd Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 2541 1099. Open: Monday-Saturday 6.30am-9pm . Other shops at 20-22 Cleverly Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 2541 8199; Wai Fong Court, 955-957 King's Road, Quarry Bay, tel: 2811 8103; and Tung Fong Street, Yau Ma Tei, tel: 2770 6099