My first trip to the exotic Asian continent occurred on July 16, 2012, when I visited Hong Kong, followed by Taiwan. After an exhausting 15-hour flight where nothing but dry plane food was served, I finally stepped into this mind-blowing, different world.

My first day was an “adaptation day,” where I ate solely Western food to get used to their ingredients; obviously I was dying to finally have something authentic. Waking up the second day, craving for something different, my eye caught attention of a big silver pot with a white liquid-like substance. There was no strong smell, but rather a pleasant and soothing one. Many flavorings were situated next to it.

Doctors always say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but because there are so many different cultures, no one really agrees on what is the “best.” Congee, also called conjee, is a variation of rice porridge popular in various Asian countries.

Congee can be eaten with or without flavorings and as a main or side dish depending on how it is served. When plain, it is most often a side dish, but when you add meat, fish, or other flavorings, it becomes a meal itself. Interestingly, congee is eaten as breakfast or for a late dinner in some cultures, but in others, as a substitute for rice or for the sick (since it is easily digestible and fills a lot!).

As my first experience with congee, I decided what flavorings to add from all the choices available. I added peanuts, green onions, sweet pickles and almonds but I found that some ingredients didn’t mix in adequately.  My favorite, by far, was the flavor and rubbery crunch the sweet pickle added to the taste of congee; truly an interesting breakfast!

Photo credit: Rafael Nasser

All photographs are subject to copyright and may not be used without the consent of Rafael Nasser

About The Author

Food addict and critic, Rafael Nasser was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. With family roots in Brazil, Columbia, Panama and Syria, Rafael has developed a strong passion for international cuisine.

  • Michelle

    From my culture, breakfast is one important meal. We normally eat warmed food form last night leftovers but it varies from family to family and especially what kinda job one has. If one working in an office then breakfast has to be light but on the other hand if one is working in constructions then we prefer heavy morning meals hence the last night leftovers. Myself, i prefer and still eat food from last night and that way i go many hours without feeling hungry. Isn’t interesting?

    • The Worldwider

      That’s very interesting, I’ve never eaten leftovers for breakfast I find it a bit too heavy personally. Thanks for sharing such information with us!

  • Hotei

    Its is very interesting how from country to country culture changes, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” In my place for breakfast it is tradition to eat pastry filled with ricotta or pea puree’!! (heavy stuff!!)

    regards hotei ^^

    • The Worldwider

      Hello Hotei, that’s interesting! May I know where you are from? That sounds so good!