September 11, 2006

porridge place

I really wish I lived near a Porridge Place, because the one that I've been eating at here in Cupertino is so awesome. Good Chinese food, fast and cheap, and intensely satisfying. You walk in, pick from the steam trays and platters behind the glass counter, and the waitresses bring you your tasty bits along with hot tea and a big tub of steaming rice porridge with cubes of sweet potato floating in it. I will post pictures once I am back home, because I think I managed to forget my download cable. Duh.

I ate there last night, because I'd been in bed all day with a head cold (three cheers for exhaustion!) and really wanted hot comfort food. I got some ground pork in a thin juicy sauce with slivers of mushroom, tasting faintly of ginger & soy, and a pile of mildly garlicky greens, and an extremely savory tea egg. This turned out to be particularly excellent because the liquid from the pork thinned out the rather thick congee and made it just the way I like it, and the greens gave the right note of bright freshness.

I still feel sort of crappy, so I went back again tonight. This time I spied some 1000-year-old eggs with tofu, so I got that, along with some napa cabbage braised with shiitakes & dried shrimp, and a plate of chewy-crunchy salted turnip with spicy red pepper. Then they asked me if I wanted pork sung with my egg-and-tofu, and when I said yes they drowned the bowl with fluffy pork goodness, which made me happy, happy, happy. I just love rice porridge with sweet-salty pork threads dissolved in it, and the spicy turnip & fermented eggs were awesome with it. Delicious. I ate not even half of what I ordered, and I am stuffed to the ears, and the whole works set me back $11 and change. Three people could easily eat on what I ordered, and two would be stuffed, so this is cheap eats for sure.

I am toying with bringing my two coworkers here one night after meetings -- there are some scary looking foods (which I am sure are delish) like tiny whole squids or soybeans mixed with tiny silver dried anchovies, but the vast majority of dishes are highly approachable: tofu, sausage, cabbage, green beans, cucumber, ground pork, fish, shrimp.

It looks to me like at least half the patrons get takeaway, to be used as a quickie dinner. Geeky bachelors and young families walk out with a few cardboard cartons of savory prepared dishes and a tub of congee, which beats the hell out of Domino's Pizza any day. It reminds me of the prepared foods counter at Whole Foods, only better. And if you choose to eat in, it feels more like a Chinese version of tapas, comfort-food style. It's just awesome, and I will be sad not to have it near me when my work at Apple is done.

Posted by foodnerd at September 11, 2006 11:15 PM
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