Congee is one of Hong Kong’s greatest comfort foods.
In general, I am fiercely loyal to the comfort foods of my Taiwanese upbringing. I think there’s nothing better than my mom’s rice dumplings (zhongzi, batsang,粽子), Taiwanese oyster omelets are the best, and I constantly crave good old tea eggs and Taiwanese grilled corn.
Having said that, I will concede that I actually like Hong Kong style congee better than the Taiwanese variety.
I can’t believe I just said that!
Now I do love Taiwanese congee, plain white rice porridge with my favorite toppings (pork floss, thousand year old eggs, and my favorite, fermented tofu “dofu ru”). However, there’s something about the rich, broth-based nature of Hong Kong style congee that I find irresistable.
Trusty Congee King in Wan Chai made headlines when it became the first congee restaurant ever to make it into the Michelin Guide. After having been recommended in the Guide from 2011 – 2017, The Michelin Guide awarded Trusty Congee King bib gourmand status in 2018, which means “exceptionally good food at moderate prices.”
Trusty Congee King’s congee is different from most in that it’s based on a fish broth made from six different types of dace fish. The resultant congee is wonderfully fragrant and super flavorful. It can really be eaten completely on its own, no need for additional toppings (unlike the Taiwanese variety).
Trusty Congee King prides itself in that it uses no MSG in its cooking. They are able to achieve those intense umami-laden flavors purely by cooking those fish heads for a long time!
If you come, definitely get one (or more!) of the congees. They recommend the Pork Liver and Scallop Congee ($45) as a signature dish, and it’s definitely very good.
Aside from congee, the menu is not huge, but there are definitely other dishes. Another signature dish is the Rice Dumpling stuffed with salted meat and salted duck egg. I was delighted and surprised to find the salted duck egg inside. I’ve never seen one inside the Taiwanese versions I’ve had, but I liked this. They also used another type of grain (or maybe it was a mung bean of sorts?) that added a nice contrast to the sticky rice.
All in all, this rice dumpling was delicious and I would totally order it again. No, it doesn’t have the nostalgia factor of my mom’s rice dumplings, but it’s still a fantastic rice dumpling in its own right. I do love the flavorful kick from the salted duck eggs as well as the fun duel-grain action.
I have seen this dish at other Cantonese restaurants, so it must be a local classic. Steamed rice rolls (chang-fen 肠粉, the type you get at dim sum restaurants) are served withe a combination of three sauces: hoisin, sesame paste, and a chili sauce. Though simple, the combination works and I enjoyed slurping down these soft, rolled up rice noodles with the bold triple combination of sauces.
We always try to balance out our meals with at least some veggies every time we go out. I find Congee and wonton noodle shops notorious for their lack of diversity in offerings in this area. In short, most places will offer some sort of steamed vegetable (often Chinese broccoli, choy sum, or Romaine lettuce) with oyster sauce. It works fine and keeps us healthy, but I tend to find it quite boring.
In short, the congee at Trusty Congee King is awesome and definitely up there as one of the best congee places in the city. I love the fact that the restaurnat is less than a 5-minute walk from my apartment. I’ve gone there on occasion when I need a quick, inexpensive bite to eat. In general, I haven’t had to deal with lines at lunchtime, though I have spotted lines out the door at night on occasion. The place is small, but people get in and out quickly, so I would guess the line would move quickly. During the day, I haven’t had to deal with lines (yet).
A bowl of congee, priced at around $45 HKD (less than $6 USD), is a tiny price to pay for work that went into creating those flavors! Highly recommended.
Note, there are other locations of this restaurant, though only the Wan Chai location has received the Bib Gourmand designation. You can also enjoy Trusty Congee King in Kowloon (Olympian City 2, Wong Tai Sin, Kowloon Bay), New Territories (Tuen Mun, Kwai Fong, Sheung Shui, Tsueng Kwan O, Shatin, Ma On Shan), as well as in Mainland China (Shenzhen, Guangzhou). See details of all locations at this link.
Trusty Congee King Wan Chai
G/F, 7 Heard Street
Wan Chai, Hong Kong