If you ask most Asian immigrants who came to Vancouver in the 90s, everyone would know or at least ate at Congee Noodle House on Main and Broadway before. Congee is a comfort food after all and people seek that comfort when they are far away from home. This restaurant is perfect for those who did not want to go to Chinatown to eat (This was before Richmond was established THE place to go eat.) (C: I’m pretty noob at the Asian food scene – I think the first time I ever came to Congee Noodle house was like 2 years ago!)
It is located on Broadway by Main. It is troublesome to find parking. There is a parking lot in the back but it is poorly design and not big enough to accommodate majority of the patrons. It is almost hazardous to park there if you are not good at backing up or pulling in. (C: It’s not that bad. At least, it wasn’t until someone drove a giant truck into here…I was scared for the cars he was parking between!)
Because of the location and having a bus stop in front, the restaurant is always busy. Luckily, the turn over is also very quick. Unless you have a big party, the wait is not too long. The restaurant is quite big on the inside and can seat A LOT of people. It is also great that it is opened till 2am!
Being in a Chinese restaurant, don’t expect exceptional customer service. During busy hours, it is good that you can wave someone down to take order to get you something. I do think they need more than just 3-4 waitresses to run dinner service as it gets so busy! The waitresses that night were courteous and worked at an amazing speed. No complain about service in general.
Being in this place, of course I have to order congee! My favourite is Preserved Egg and Shredded Pork Congee 皮蛋咸廋肉粥…funny because I don’t really eat the preserved egg. I give it all to my dad and/or C. I like the flavour of the egg and marinated salty pork. The portion is quite big. My grandma also ordered the Hong Kong Style Minced Beef Congee 港式碎牛粥 but we didn’t take a pic of that. My dad explained to me that Hong Kong Style Minced beef congee is really small chunks of minced beef with little crispy noodle in the congee. If you don’t order HK style, you could get slices of thin beef…like pho noodles!
To eat congee, I must always order the Chinese donuts! From memory, the donuts at this restaurant aren’t there good and my memory serves me right. The Chinese donuts here are dense and not crispy. It is like chunks of bread. I regret ordering two of these. We ended up collectively ate one plate of it only. How I wish these were the ones from Yung Ho…
(C: These Chinese donuts sucked, not worth ordering even with congee!)
One of grandma’s favourite item to eat in general is steamed rice rolls. Dad much prefers meat over vegetables hence the selection of BBQ pork in the steamed rice rolls 蜜汁叉燒腸粉. This is terribly done. The rice roll skin was very thick with minimal BBQ pork. It is essentially eating plain steamed rice rolls. Don’t recommend to try this again. (C: I’m not very picky with rice rolls, so this was passable for me =P).
Ever since I introduced late night meal “siu yea” 宵夜 to C, he loves the deep fried mini fish with chili 椒鹽白飯魚! He was elated to see this restaurant has this dish to offer. I am glad he did because the crispiness of it made up for the lack of from the Chinese donut. The saltiness also pairs so well with the congee. We cleared the plate for this dish! Yum! (C: Absolute must when it comes to ordering a dish to accompany congee. So salty but so delicious!)
Congee Noodle House is also offers a selection of the BBQ meats. C took the liberty to order himself half a BBQ duck. I am not generally a fan of duck but this was pretty good. The meat was juicy with a slightly crunchy skin.
Because dad doesn’t really like congee, he ordered his own plate of rice. He ordered Pineapple Sweet & Sour Pork on steamed rice 菠蘿咕嚕肉飯. Upon arrival, I see the regret on his face. It is a giant plate!!!!! I was too full at this point to even try it. C liked it where as my dad thought there was so little meat in each chunk. We packed 80% of this dish home. (C: Sweet and sour pork is my weakness – yes, I know that’s incredibly CBC of me!)
I was a little surprise when they offered us free sweet soup 糖水! This is definitely something new as I never remember they do that before. But hey, why not! I like free sweet soup! Black glutinous rice with coconut milk is one of my favourite Chinese dessert! This was delicious with good amount of the rice and not overly sweet. The coconut milk made it that much more fragrant and tasty! It definitely end the meal on a sweet note
All in all, this is a place to go get some decent congee and food without all the way to Richmond. Be warned about the parking situation. OH! This place is CASH ONLY!!
(C: Nice big place if you want to grab some Chinese food in a rush. Comfort food that is neither good nor bad – just decent enough to make the trip worthwhile!