Its been two years since P visited New York and as the customs officer rightfully remarked, “What took you so long?!” The length between each boyfriend visit notwithstanding, we had a wonderful week together that moving 15 boxes cross-town to my new place amidst the horrid heatwave only made mini dents on our moods. As usual, our week was punctuated by good food and P’s endless quest for the best minced beef porridge in the city. 

Minced beef congee

I am always bemused that he would fly all these miles across the globe and request a mundane bowl of Cantonese congee but apparently Singaporean restaurants do not serve the simple but time-consuming dish. That or the fact that beef isn’t Singaporean’s protein of choice. Our searches brought us to Big Wong King, where the rice gruel is smooth and almost devoid of visible rice bits, the beef is tender and deep fried vermicelli strands added texture. The deep fried crullers was piping hot and great dipped in the hot congee. My century-egg and pork congee was full of flavor and ingredients but a tad too salty. Unsatisfied with just one bowl of minced beef porridge, we then headed to Great NY Noodletown for their version of the congee. Here grains of rice mingled with the soupy gruel, adding welcome texture, while the beef was soft and chewy. We supplemented the congee with a big bowl of wonton soup, the stock deeply flavored with a seafood base; a plate of tender stewed beef brisket, a big plate of roasted pork on rice doused with a dark sauce that tasted faintly of citrus and some green vegetables for posterity’s sake. P declared the winner to be NY Noodletown’s bowl for the grains of rice that provided an uneven texture and more heft and truth to be told, they were both satisfying and compared to the non-existent bowl in Singapore great.

Big Wong King

67 Mott Street (Bet Canal and Bayard)

Great NY Noodletown

28 Bowery St (At Bayard St)