On a rainy winter morning in San Francisco, nothing beats a steaming hot bowl of jook, Asian-style rice porridge (also known as congee), at Hing Lung in Chinatown. On week days, if you arrive between 8 and 11 in the morning, this bowl of comfort costs just $2.50. There are a couple dozen choices of flavorings, such as chicken-and-corn, duck, meatballs, sliced fish, pork, pork liver, and giblets. I opted for a combination of pork liver and meatballs today.
Make sure to order a side of the "deep-fried devils," yao ja guai, which I like to think of as a fried baguette. The cooks at Hing Lung make and fry them fresh in house every day. I love to dip pieces of the savory bread into the molten porridge while I wait for it to cool off.
The cooks here are also masters in the art of making cheong fun, steamed rice noodles, which come in many fillings, including shrimp, barbecue pork and mushrooms with Chinese greens (pictured above).
Due to its location in the crowded Chinatown area, I don't make to Hing Lung as often as I'd like. Nobody else in the city seems to be able to make the deceptively simple dish of jook quite as well. For that alone, Hing Lung makes it onto my Bay Area Short List.
645 Broadway (between Stockton and Grant)
Open daily 8am-1am