Welcome to Congee Wonderland

As much as I love Shenzhen with its many flowers and lots of space – when it comes to food I would trade it for Honkong without hesitation.

A few years ago I entered a congee restaurant with the name Congee Wonderland in Hongkong. I became addicted to their congee and try to go there for breakfast every time I go to Hongkong now. The place is usually packed with Hongkongers (mostly retirees) and Chinese mainlanders alike and more often than not you have to share one of the small tables with other people.

One time when I am at Congee Wonderland the elderly Hongkong lady I am sharing the table with starts to chat with me.

She tells me with a smile about the countless European countries she has traveled to and the glorious times she has spent in cities like London and Paris. When I tell her that I am living in Shenzhen, it only takes a split second for the smile to disappear from her face. She starts to tell me how dangerous Shenzhen is and that I should never forget to pay attention in order not to get robbed. Although her view coincides with that of my guidebook, the Shenzhen I have gotten to know seems to be quite different from the one she describes.

Maybe it’s different at the outskirts of this megacity, but from my experience of living here, Shenzhen seems to be quite a safe city to live in. This is not to say that things do not get stolen or that there is zero crime, but theft is not more rampant in Shenzhen than it is in any other city that size.

Back to Hongkong.

Another time I go to Congee Wonderland I share the table with an elderly Hongkong lady again. She orders rice noodles and congee for breakfast. I am electrified watching her prepare her food. At first, she pours Ketchup over the noodles. Then she sprinkles sesame all over them. After that, she adds a few spoonfuls of the congee to the noodles. And tada, ready is her multicultural breakfast – or should I rather call it breakfast of culture clashes?

Do you like Chinese food? Which dishes are your favourites?

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10 thoughts on “Welcome to Congee Wonderland

  1. wow wow wow, that really sounds like a stereotype! one time a hong kong lady also told me shenzhen is dangerous and untidy.. but i was like, oh really?! at least i am not aware of it by any chance.. where do all those come from?! then she started to get annoyed, so i had to ignore her

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    • Even my travel book writes about it, and it’s quite a popular one. I can’t say I agree with what they write and like I said, if you don’t live in the outlying districts you should be fine most of the time.

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  2. One of my husband’s cousins live in Shenzhen and she likes it there. 🙂 I’ve heard from people who went there and it’s changing and becoming better. I would like to visit one day.

    I like onion pancake. To me, it’s a great pick me up. I also like the vegetable pie. There’s more. I don’t eat pork so there are dishes I just don’t eat due to this.

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    • Yeah, Shenzhen really isn’t that bad.

      I’ve been eating lots of onion pancake for breakfast, I stopped doing so though because my stomach doesn’t seem to handle all the oil that well. Ahh, pork, it’s in everything! Hui-noodle restaurants are a good choice if you want to eat pork-free.

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  3. Pingback: Friday photo: My story in Shanghai. – My Bright Neon Lullaby

  4. Do you remember the name / address of that deliicious place in Hong Kong? In my next trip to HK this Summer, if I have time I ‘d like to give it a try!
    Sounds like a great place to eat and meet interesting people.
    Btw, in HK they like steemed food, very health. Shenzhen also has a lot ( I have heard), other provinces use more oil / spices so are nor that good for our health / cholesterol,…

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    • The name is Congee Wonderland or 知粥嘗樂 in Chinese. I went to one near Fortress Hill station, but I think it’s a chain with restaurants all over Hongkong.

      In Shenzhen much of the restaurants have Hunanese style dishes. People from all over China come to live in Shenzhen, people who did actually grow up in Shenzhen are still in the minority – and people who are originally from Guangdong aren’t plenty either. In short, the restaurants reflect this kind of phenomenon. There are many Hunanese, so you’ll also find lots of Hunanese restaurants in Shenzhen. Cantonese food can be healthy (if you make it at home I guess, because with all the gutter oil, pork’s fat and MSG they use I wouldn’t really call it healthy), but I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily healthier than food in other parts of China. I’ve had my share of meat dishes and greasy dishes here in Shenzhen (also when I was eating Cantonese dishes), so I wouldn’t say it’s that healthy, actually. It probably really depends on the restaurant!

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      • Thanks I didn’t know that was the real name. I will give it a try when I find it.
        Last two times I went to HK I had lunch at Harbour Plaza, inside the hotel they have a restaurant with an amazing view to HK Harbour. A partner invited us and I liked it cause you have plenty of choice, buffet style but for business.
        Here in Shanghai you can also find restaurants from different locations, but the healthier they are the pricer they become.

        For organic food you can do your shopping online at FIELDS China, but is pricey too.

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