Congee Wong 天皇名粥 (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 10 Ravel Road
Type of Meal: Dinner

Congee and noodle restaurants are the casual family restaurants for Chinese individuals. Their menus are usually filled with tons of options at bargain prices and dishes arrive as ridiculously large portions. Congee Wong is one of my favourite such restaurants and their location at Finch and Leslie has been a popular spot for years.

Having visited since a child, there are tons of tried and true dishes we frequently order off their menu. I recently realized that despite visiting every few months, I've never written a post about it. Such a shame, as they are such a great option for quick and affordable meals.

Their menu has over a hundred of items on it so its impossible to even touch upon a portion of it in one visit.  But you can certainly find something for everyone with all the great options. 

During every visit, we can't help but order a bowl of congee - after all this is their namesake dish. Congee could be considered Chinese porridge made from rice that has been boiled for hours in water or broth. What you'll find at restaurants tend to be thicker and silkier feeling compared to what's made at home as they will often add rice noodle fragments to it which changes the consistency and texture of it. 

With over 40 varieties to choose from the options seem endless. My favourite congee they offer is the seafood with wintermelon super bowl ($8.75) but given its large size is difficult to order with less than four people. During one visit, we ordered another seafood based one -  Lai Wan style congee ($4.75). Containing octopus, shrimp, rehydrated pork rind, pieces of roasted duck, peanuts and shredded lettuce on top. Typically this dish wouldn't include roasted duck but for some reason its a staple at Congee Wong. 

During the winter visit, the lettuce looked a little haggard but still did its job. Lai Wan congee contains various "crunchy" textures from the various seafood and pork rind, a hint of freshness from the lettuce and a richness from the duck. I'll warn you, its not for all individuals as can sometimes feel like a mishmash of whatever's leftover.

Congee Wong is known for the substantial portion sizes for the rice and noodle dishes. Their house seafood and mixed vegetable fried vermicelli ($11.25) may not be incredibly colourful but is still chocked full of flavours and textures. There's quite a bit of seafood in it including shrimp, baby scallops and pieces of squid. The addition of bean sprouts, diced bell peppers, fresh green onion and egg rounds everything out. The vermicelli isn't as oily as other fried noodle/rice dishes and doesn't have much of a sauce on it so better if you're in the mood for something lighter. 

One of my favourite dishes offered by Chinese establishments is the salt and pepper spicy fried squid ($6.95). The price at Congee Wong is hard to beat with so many pieces of deep fried squid included with it. The batter is a bit thicker and sometimes may be a little softer than I like. But, its generally dry enough and quite flavourful with its saltiness and just a hint of heat from the diced chillies. Just be careful when they first arrive as they are very hot but its hard to resist tucking into the fragrant dish.

Given my father regularly visits he often gets a complimentary dessert made from grass jelly, red beans and sago pearls in a sweet soup made from coconut and evaporated milk. I can't really tell what this may be as part of their menu but could be the house special dessert ($2.95). For a Chinese dessert its actually quite sweet but a cool refreshing way to end the meal.

Congee Wong has varies locations throughout the GTA, as well as a sister chain called Congee Queen. But, something about their Finch and Leslie location will always be held dear in my heart and the one I choose to visit.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!