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New York, New York
July 2, 2001
Decorated in Southeast Asian flavor, you almost feel like you are entering a Malaysian restaurant. It is a pleasant space. There is bamboo on the walls and a kind of maze is constructed to make it feel like you are in a tropical village. Cantonese food is the main focus and the menu offers many options.
To start, you must try it's namesake, the congee, a rice porridge that is especially well made here. The porridge base is the same, but you can choose the ingredients to mix in. Beef, chicken with mushrooms, sliced fish, lobster, abalone and frog, pork and preserved egg, these sound exotic but are delicious. Have it with the fried cruellers, long bread that is fried. Congee is especially good for mornings or late night snacks. Imagine it as being Chinese brunch, a lighter alternative to dim sum.
Other items on the menu include your basic rice and noodle dishes. These include things like beef and tomatoes over rice, fish and bean curd over rice, soy sauce chow mein, seafood noodle soup etc. Another specialty is the rice in bamboo pot. This is rice cooked in a clay pot with different ingredients on top. Salted chicken, salted fish, eel, preserved duck. This is a great winter dish.
For dinner, pick and choose from the house specialties, the casseroles, and sizzling hot plates. Satay beef and short ribs are popular. When my family came to visit, we were able to order lesser known dishes such as braised duck web, a special kind of Chinese vegetables (ask the staff what is fresh that day), salted fish and chicken casserole, and the eel with black bean sauce.
Don't let the exotic dishes I mention discourage you from coming here. I would ask your waiter or waitress for recommendations.
An update to the branch on the Upper East side: It just closed down in July 2001. What a big loss for the neighbourhood.
From journal Eating Well in New York City
brooklyn, New York
September 22, 2000
From journal Where English is a Second Language