I’ll always remember my congee man by his toothless smile, that traditional Chinese haircut and the clouds of congee steam that perpetually surrounds him. He has that Chinese face that makes it impossible to guess his age; my man could be 40 or 80yo, neither would surprise me. He’s short, about 5’4″ and has to stand on planks of wood to work his magic. He’s amazingly kind, from the moment he first set those sandy but happy eyes on me, he knew I was a tourist.
It didn’t stop him from speaking to me loudly and rapidly in Cantonese but comprehension was aided by the extra gesticulation and his kind smile. I reward his effort with a grateful nod, or sometimes a understanding grunt.
There’s a deceptively large range of congee, from the plain type, which you can eat that way or add sugar, through to mince and in my case, congealed blood and century egg. The love of congee is hard to describe, the same way words fail when one wants to rave about tofu. But rest assured, I love congee. Here the congee is lightly flavoured with soy, century egg and blood, plus lightly spiced with shallots. Some mornings he adds roasted nuts which is an extra treat.
The congee stall is one of many in the Woosung St Temporary Hawker Bazaar. Noodlies, Sydney food blog has already raved about the (understandable) love of this place, a large shack partially covered with corrugated iron and tarpaulin, a magical, timeless place that I imagine is old Hong Kong. Most mornings, I indulge in fried egg, noodle soup and Hong Kong milk tea at one of the other stalls here for breakfast. Today I opted for that other Chinese breakfast of champions, congee.
Woosung Street Temporary Hawker Bazaar
Woosung Street (Yau Ma Tei end)
Jordan, Hong Kong
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They were taken with a Sony NEX-5N, a supporter of noodlies.