Yung Kee A popular Sai Ying Pun neighborhood restaurant, Yung Kee offers delicious thick congee. Choose your own toppings from a wide variety, including fish, beef and pork. Each bowl of freshly boiled congee (sang gwun juk) is made-to-order, with the ingredients cooked inside the porridge as it heats through. Go early: most of the good stuff, such as the fish belly, will be gone after lunchtime. Also try Yung Kee’s delicious fried noodles (chao meen). 7am-7pm. 36-38 High St., Sai Ying Pun. Fuk Kee Congee This celebrity Mong Kok restaurant is messy and crowded, but it also cooks up excellent congee of the thicker and more strongly flavored variety, making it the perfect base for ingredients such as thousand-year-old egg and lean pork. Keep in mind that the menu changes throughout the day: dishes with rice noodle rolls and some kinds of congee are only available from 7-10:30am; after lunch, there’ll be fried noodles and a special roast goose congee (for or juk). Pair it with fried dough sticks wrapped with rice noodle rolls (zha leung) for a full-on lunchtime treat. 7:30am-11:30pm. 104-106 Fa Yuen St., Mong Kok, 2385-1230. Sang Kee Sang Kee has been serving congee since the 70s. Most Cantonese congee is quite strongly flavored, but Sang Kee goes against the tide: Owner Mr Au explains that their congee deliberately has a more neutral taste, so that it can better reflect the flavor of its components. That’s why their freshly boiled congee comes with a separate bowl of soy sauce and slices of ginger and spring onions, so that you can flavor it yourself. Try the homemade fish balls. 6:30am-9pm. 7-9 Burd St., Sheung Wan, 2541-1099. Sun Yiu Wing Congee Half a century old, this Cheung Sha Wan congee spot mainly serves senior citizens and blue-collar workers, so it’s incredibly affordable. A bowl of beef congee and a plate of turnip cake costs $12 and $8, respectively. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less delicious. Owner and chef Mr Li mixes fried vermicelli into his beef, giving it a uniquely addictive crispy texture. The gem is the unfailingly crispy fried dough sticks (yau za gwai). Li fries a new batch three times a day, so customers always get fresh ones. They come out at 6am, 1pm and 3:30pm. 6am-midnight. 310 Castle Peak Rd., Cheung Sha Wan, 3146-5703. Sam Kee Congee A Wan Chai staple, Sam Kee serves incredibly soft and smooth congee. The secret? Chicken and pork stock, Japanese pearl rice, and a touch of dried tofu skin. Owner Mr. Yu recommends their most popular sampan congee (teng zai juk), which includes squid, pork rind, beef and peanuts. Yu is a nostalgic owner: everything in the shop has been the same since his father opened the restaurant more than 40 years ago. Check out the turnip cake (lor bak gou) and the sweet rice cake (mai gou). 7am-11pm. 168 Hennessy Rd., Wan Chai, 2573-3857. Nathan Congee and Noodle Stepping into this 53-year-old Jordan restaurant is like taking a time machine to the 60s, with its retro decor and vintage lamps. A favorite of food critic Chua Lam, the shop serves a more expensive and luxurious menu, including an abalone congee (bao yu juk) at $150. A more affordable alternative would be the $32 congee with pork kidney, pork liver, pork intestines and meatballs (gup dai juk). Nathan Congee also has cushioned sofa booths—perfect if you’re hungover and in need of a quiet, soft place to consume carbs. Don’t miss the signature rice dumplings (guo jing zhong). 7:30am-11:30pm. 11 Sai Kung St., Jordan, 2771-4285. Congee Accessories Is a bowl of congee ever enough? These classic snacks will top you up. 1 Fried dough sticks (yau zha gwei) Literally “oil-fried devil.” In Cantonese “gwai” sounds like the name of Song Dynasty official Qin Hui, who framed national hero Yue Fei. People then stuck two pieces of dough together to represent Qin and his wife, deep frying them as punishment. Dip them in congee, or soak them in sugar water so they’re extra juicy. 2 Dough sticks wrapped in rice noodle rolls (zha leung) The perfect contrast of textures: a soft rice noodle roll encasing crispy yau zha gwei. Eat with hoisin sauce, sesame paste and chili sauce. 3 Turnip cakes (lor bak gou) Turnip cakes are made of shredded radish with bits of dried shrimp and sausage, steamed and then pan-fried for crispiness. This pairing works well because the easily digestible congee balances the heavy cake. For a vegetarian version, head over to Sam Kee in Wan Chai. 4 Fried noodles(chao meen) The fried noodles of congee shops are extremely simple: Egg noodles or vermicelli pan-fried with soy sauce, onions and lean pork. Add a lot of chili sauce. 5 Rice dumplings (guo jing zhong/ham yuk zhong) A tasty lump of glutinous rice filled with green beans, fatty pork and salted egg yolk that’s wrapped in bamboo leaves before being cooked. The story goes that when poet Qu Yuan drowned himself in a river to protest governmental corruption, his adoring fans wrapped these dumplings and threw them into the river to keep fish away from the poet’s body. 6 Deep-fried glutinous rice cakes (jeen deui) A crispy ball of glutinous rice, hollow in the middle, topped with a layer of sesame. Sticky and sweet, these cakes were served to royals during the Tang Dynasty.