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Noodles and Congee

Noodles and Congee

Noodles and congee (rice porridge) are often served under the same roof. Some of the more traditional restaurants that serve both will have two open kitchens flanking the entrance. One kitchen will be dedicated solely to making congee, the other to making noodles.

Congee ranges from the plain starchy variety to the lighter versions that include vegetables and meat and even hotpots in which the ingredients are cooked in a congee soup. The huge variety of noodles and congee available can be enjoyed 24 hours a day in the city. In fact, these are popular late night eats.

What to order?

Here are some of the most common orders to look out for:

Cantonese-style congee

Congee, or rice porridge, is found all over China. However, it is unlikely that anyone puts more effort into congee than the Cantonese. Raw ingredients are put in continuously boiling rice porridge until they become soft and their flavours are infused in the entire mixture.

Cantonese-style congee

Chiu Chow-style congee

From Chaozhou in Guangdong province, Chiu Chow people have brought their distinct dialect and cuisine to Hong Kong. The difference can be seen in their fresh-seafood renditions of congee, such as the baby oyster congee. Chiu Chow congee is made tender and fragrant by covering it and letting it stand for about half an hour after it is cooked.

 
Chiu Chow-style congee
Did you know?

According to folklore, the Chiu Chow method of covering congee when cooking was discovered accidently by a Chiu Chow fishing family, who usually kept a pot of congee on their boat when at sea. The family in question was robbed by pirates but the fisherman’s wife had the presence of mind to hide their freshly made pot of congee under some blankets so that they would have food to sustain them for the voyage home. The pirates missed the congee and, when they had left, the family discovered the pleasant effect that covering the pot had on the rice grains.

Fish ball rice noodles

Rice noodles are often served in soup with beef balls or fish balls. Cantonese meat and fish balls differ from their Western counterparts in texture. Instead of mincing, the meat is pounded until it is pulverised, giving them a smooth texture.

Fish ball rice noodles

Wonton noodles

Traditionally, bite-sized wontons (a kind of Chinese dumpling) are served in an aromatic stock with noodles that are springy to the bite. Ideally, the wontons will be filled 70 per cent with shrimp and 30 per cent with pork.

Wonton noodles

Stir-fried beef noodles

The most common types of noodles in Hong Kong are made from rice or eggs and flour. They are prepared in a staggeringly huge amount of ways, but stir-frying them is one of the most popular cooking methods. Stir-fried noodles with beef is one of the most common renditions of noodles in this style.

Stir-fried beef noodles

Cart noodles

If you don’t like to be limited by a menu, cart noodles are the best choice for you as you can mix and match the ingredients. This started as a street hawker meal in the 1950s. The ability to choose the number and types of ingredients offered an inexpensive meal.

Cart noodles

Lou Ding

The practice of serving chewy instant noodles with other ingredients, such as fried chicken steak and chopped scallion seems to have originated in Hong Kong in the 1970s. It’s a fast, convenient and tasty meal that is strongly associated with the city.

Lou Ding

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