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Why is Aiken's Cantonese Glazed Congee so special: Whiskey Alley

Congee is a pretty simple Chinese dish served at breakfast or even to those who feel ill as a comfort food.

"Okay, so it is a porridge made from rice. If you go to a dim sum house, its served on a cart, it's boring looking and grey, but still tasty, very hot, but very soothing." - Chef Chad

Congee or conjee (/ˈkɒndʒiː/KON-jee) is a type of riceporridge or gruel eaten in Asian countries. It can be eaten plain, where it is typically served with side dishes, or it can be served with ingredients such as meat, fish, seasonings and flavourings, most often savory, but sometimes sweet. It is typically served as a meal on its own, especially for breakfast or people who are ill. Names for congee are as varied as the style of its preparation, but all are made with rice cooked as a softened porridge with a larger quantity of water than other types of cooked rice like pilaf or claypot rice. - Wikipedia


Whiskey Alley specials menu

This old school sesame and crab rice porridge is made with soy glazed blue oyster mushrooms, charred scallion and pickled radish salad, chili crisp fried egg, crispy shallots, scallion and cilantro and topped with tiger shrimp.

"so we turned it into almost, if you think about it, kind of a ramen topping on a rice porridge base. With the ramen style ingredients on top it can be eaten bit by bit but with rice instead of noodles." - Chef Chad


The combination of the sharp peppery flavor of the scallions, the delicate sweet yet sharpness of the shallots, pairs with the meatiness of the blue oyster mushrooms and really accentuates the umami in the dish, and finished off with rich yolky eggs fried with chili.

Umami is an Asian word, a loanword to be exact. Turns out, there is no actual English word for umami. The closest we have is meaty, and it is close, but not all the way there. It is that rich savory flavor, that comforting flavor, like a warm broth. Umami is the description of this dish, not because of its Asian background (Umami is from Japanese), but because Umami is actually one of the five basic taste: Sweet, Salty, Sour, Bitter, and UMAMI!


When picking a drink to go with your Congee, consider something acidic to pair with the umami explosion.

"You could go with the obvious choices like a salted margarita or paloma, but I'd chose the Curve Street Sour to compliment the meal and pull out the sweetness. A good crisp white wine would pair well also, like the Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc." - Chef Chad


Specials don't tend to last long around Whiskey Alley. The menu usually changes a little everyday, and dramatically every week. The weather this week is truly bleak and dreary and this is the perfect pick-me-up for these damp and cool nights. A good whiskey cocktail and a savory bowl that hugs you from the inside is exactly what you need. Be sure to make a reservation, because seats go as quickly as the dishes.

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