Jook box

_Here’s another brief dispatch from Hong Kong._

This morning, despite an intense craving for thick toast, I resolved to get some street food for breakfast, so I walked over to the cooked food hawker center on Temple Street where I’d seen people eating before sunrise.

I stepped inside a dim covered area and up to a stall, seen above, where an assortment of fresh ingredients sat ready to be pressed into service at the customer’s whim. I was (sorry!) briefly reminded of Subway. This is only two blocks off bustling Nathan Road, thick with tourists, but nobody here spoke English and there were no other Westerners.

The place specialized in _jook_ (aka congee, _okayu,_ rice porridge, ç²¥), a popular breakfast throughout Asia, and I ordered by pointing and smiling and shrugging a lot. The cook put a few slices of raw fish into a bowl, ladled in the porridge, and garnished it with scallions, whole Spanish peanuts, and shredded ginger. I added a bit of hot sauce at the table. It was more than I could finish, the price was about US$1.50, and it was very good, especially any bite with a peanut in it.

Do you have any memorable breakfasts while traveling? I’d like to hear about them.

8 thoughts on “Jook box

  1. Anna

    Black beans, scrambled egg, pico de gallo and fresh tortillas in a shack on the edge of the river between Mexico and Guatemla.

  2. Hester

    Don’t get me started on breakfasts abroad! I spent 5 months living in China, and rounded it out with trips to Taiwan and HK.
    I dug the HK milk tea (and the version that is half tea and half coffee even more).
    In Taiwan I could have eaten the fried green onion pancake wrapped around scrambled eggs endlessly:
    maybe not this though:

    In Kunming, China, where I lived with a host family, I also had some great breakfasts:

  3. Allison Day

    Some of my most memorable breakfasts included this Hủ tiếu Nam Vang (a Vietnamese noodle soup) that I had in Saigon, Vietnam: Also, phở, and other days we’d indulge in a huge variety of tropical fruit for breakfast:

    The last time we went to Japan, I ate tuna onigiri from Family Mart nearly every morning (sigh, I miss it so!). Not exactly traditional, but definitely memorable and crave-worthy for me. :D

  4. Wendy

    Like Anna, I love the Guatemalan breakfast… one of my favorite all-time meals.

    My most memorable travel breakfast is probably from the convent-run women-only hostel where I stayed in Munich. I came down for breakfast and wondered why they’d already put lunch out.

  5. Monika

    I hiked the Inca Trail a few years ago and would watch the sun rise up over the mountains while eating fruit & granola and drinking tea.

  6. Rocky

    I remember the first time I ever had chilaquiles. I was hungover as hell in Mazatlan and had dragged my carcass to the swim up bar and asked for relief and was presented with magic

  7. Larry

    Many years ago, stationed in Japan, I was on a temporary duty at a Japanese Air Base. At breakfast, everyone, Americans and Japanese had the choice of an American breakfast (mainly cereal, and maybe eggs and sausage-it was a lot of years ago) or a Japanese breakfast that consisted of a Miso soup, rice, and what looked like dehydrated sardines (heads included) in the soup. I thought it was a good breakfast in comparison to the cereal.

  8. Caroline

    When I went to Japan, decades ago, I initially thought the miso-soup-and-white-rice breakfast was too salty first thing in the morning. But after two weeks of it, I was completely addicted, and sad to say goodbye to it.

    Do I make this for breakfast now? No, because I can’t be bothered to make rice for breakfast. But it’s still a very satisfying lunch.

Comments are closed.