Friday, 15 August 2014
Famous Congee 飞粥 in Johor Bahru, Sutera Utama
Chee Hui, one of the partners at Famous Congee restaurant 飞粥 near Sutera Mall, invited me to try the dishes at his porridge specialist shop.
Famous Congee restaurant 飞粥 is simply and neatly laid out. Very clean and bright inside, Famous Congee is a good place for simple yet delicious meals. Famous Congee opens till 2:00am, so it is one of the places customers can have hot supper in Johor Bahru.
As the name Famous Congee 飞粥 states, Hong Kong style porridge is the restaurant's main theme, but I found the other dishes tasty and worth trying too.
Chee Hui showing me the large barrels of pork bone and chicken broth, and pots of congee in the kitchen. I like it that at Famous Congee, the rice grains are boiled into a gruel with broth (not water) for depth of flavour.
The congee and soups are quick boiled again in claypots just before serving.
Famous Congee's Air Flown Salmon Congee (RM18.80).
The thick porridge is made with a few different types of rice grains boiled in a broth of pork bones and anchovy until it becomes a sticky, cottony 棉棉 gruel.
The hot porridge is served with sashimi grade Norwegian salmon and a raw egg.
By itself, the congee was clean tasting with subtle savouriness and natural sweetness 清甜.
Chef owner Vincent is the man behind the dishes at Famous Congee. Vincent ran a Vietnamese restaurant in JB, worked in Singapore's Din Tai Fung and Dian Xiao Er before striking out on his own to open Famous Dart Noodle House and now, Famous Congee.
Famous Congee has deliberately made the rice gruel lightly flavoured. Customers could add a dash of savoriness with premium grade soy sauce (provided).
My preferred option is to eat my congee with savoury side dishes such as Famous Congee's Braised Pork and Preserved Vegetables (RM15.80).
The soft, still slightly crunchy preserved vegetables had just the right savouriness; eaten together with the congee, it complemented the lightly flavoured porridge perfectly.
The savoury braised pork was tender and naturally sweet. It's texture and taste balanced and matched the congee completely.
Famous Congee Lady Fingers (RM8.80) blanketed with a savoury and slightly spicy topping created by Chef Vincent.
While the lumpy chopped and fried garlic, onion, lard crackles, chili and chive topping may not look "droolicious", it tasted deliciously savoury. Again, this went very well with the congee.
The blanched fresh lady fingers were juicy, crunchy and slightly slimy with clear sap. The refreshing vegetable paired perfectly with Vincent's savoury topping.
Besides the signature congee, we also had Famous Congee's Sea Prawn Fried Rice (RM16.80).
The fried rice was very well executed with the toasty rice grains loose, discrete 粒粒 and flavoursome. There were several of these good size succulent, crunchy prawns in the non greasy fried rice.
Famous Congee's Signature Soup (RM12.80) comes steaming, furiously, bubbling hot.
The clear delicious soup had savouriness from pork ribs, sweetness from corn and onions, and subtle hints of tanginess from tomatoes.
Famous Congee made the extra effort to cook the ingredients separately so that all the components retained their desired texture.
Nice cool lemon tea (RM3.80).
Before leaving, I asked Chef Vincent to sum up the "secret" behind Famous Congee's delicious dishes. Vincent shared that it's in fresh ingredients, good storage, logistics, team work, attention to details and cooking with heart.
My thanks to Chee Hui and Vincent for the invite. We enjoyed our lunch at Famous Congee 飞粥 very much.
Restaurant name: Famous Congee 飞粥
Address: 38, Jalan Sutera Tanjung 8/4, Taman Sutera Utama, Skudai, Johor
Hours: 11:30am to 11:00pm
Date visited: 14 Aug 2014
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