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Table: Congee Noodle House

 Anata and I headed out for some late night noms again after he got off work. I decided to hit up Congee Noodle House for some Chinese food. The place is located along W.Broadway and Quebec St, and as far as I'm concerned, it's got the most godforsaken parking lot at the rear. It's kind of narrow and on a slant, so a lot of the cars that park there usually edge into lines and other lots, or you've got people that make looking parking there super risky. I hate that parking lot, haha. Luckily, and somewhat unfortunately at the same time, the lot was full, so we had to park at the metre along 7th. The metres there expire after 10pm, so it's free parking after that :)

The restaurant is your typical Chinese establishment - cash only, and "bad service" in that you usually have to wave down the servers to get what you want. But the food is pretty tasty, and their late night menu (which starts at 9:30pm) has some fairly priced deals.

Anata and I were promptly seated with our tea and cutlery following immediately after. We ordered the lo mein noodles with bbq pork, rice noodle roll with beef (beef cheong fahn), rice noodles with black bean sauce beef and vegetable off the regular menu, and the beef with bitter melon and black bean sauce off the late night menu.

The noodles arrived first, much to the delight of my grumbling belly. I really like how there is a generous helping of the sauce that comes with the noodles. Some places are a bit sparing, and I suppose that it's good in that you're not getting doused as much in sodium, but I much prefer having my noodles saucy than dry. Since it is a black bean sauce, it is on the salty side. The noodles are nice and soft and a good consistency, but I've noticed that the noodles here over the years are less "slippery" and solo pieces and more like chunks and layers of noodles stuck together. The taste is still good, but I think it takes away from the dish when I sit there peeling the noodles apart from each other. I usually try to separate the noodles when I'm mixing the dish up with the gravy and all, but I'm not always successful. On the plus side, it makes the noodles easier to serve, and pick out of the bowls :) I'm not too fond of the peppers in the dish as the veggies, as I much prefer something like gai lan or bok choy as an accompaniment. The peppers were a bit overcooked as they were starting to lose their firm crunch.

The beef and bitter melon arrived shortly after, followed by the lo mein. Anata commented that he probably should have just ordered the noodle in soup rather than the lo mein, but he seemed pretty satisfied with his food otherwise. I imagine it was good, since he polished the whole thing off, but I was feeling a little wary of eating the bbq pork because I wasn't sure if it would have that "gamey"/"stinky" taste or not. I did try a piece of pork that came with the takeout we ordered for home which was the roast pork on rice, and it was yummy without the stinky taste, so I guess it was a good day for their bbq.

The bitter melon was on the more bitter side (I think the one from Angel Café is prepared with a bit more skill as theirs has less of the bitter taste) but I don't mind as I grew up eating this veggie :) I recall ordering it another time with another friend and she was so surprised I would order it, haha. It's one of my dad's favourite veggies, so I am quite acclimatized to the taste! It was quite salty though, and though the plate looks kind of big the in picture, it was a smaller portion than what I was initially expecting, but considering it's on the late night menu and like around $6/7, it's hard to complain.

The last to arrive to the table was the cheong fahn rice roll. There was a generous amount of sauce in the dish, and it was quite sweet. I usually wish that they would give more sauce when I order this dish, but here I'm almost inclined to comment that it was too much! I enjoyed the cheong fahn as I usually don't order this dish anymore, though I have fond memories of going to dim sum and ordering this. I like the noodles, though they did disintegrate a bit when I started messing with the rolls by trying to flip them over and stuff. I think the noodles could have held a little firmer, but overall they were soft and silky enough without being too mushy.

Overall Congee Noodle House is a good place to come as they're open late and their food is tasty. The service is a little lacking but it's pretty typical for a Chinese restaurant.

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