Congee for a cold: I’ve been a convert to its restorative powers for some time. I used to head to Jo Moon Ting for a bowl of the rich rice gruel whenever I was afflicted, and while I was there, I’d pick up a roast duck or a slab of barbecue pork from the neat line of burnished, blistered meat hanging in Jo Moon’s street side window.
But Jo Moon Ting shut down sometime last year, and the Three Kings Restaurant has moved in. Congee is still on the menu — about a dozen options are available, from lobster congee to pork and preserved egg — just one section of a many-sectioned menu.
It remains a small, bright yellow place, with green trim and plastic cloths, and at my late, midweek lunch, filled with Chinese elders.
My visit began with an unimpressive crab meat and sea foam soup — the ‘crab’ being the imitation stick stuff (usually processed pollock dyed red) — that tastes of nothing at all. I don’t have a problem with imitation crab poking out of a California roll, say, or sharing space in a brimming pot of udon, but when a soup has ‘crab’ in its title, it ought to deliver the real thing.
But then out came the next plate and things looked up: a stir-fry of pork cheeks, with a crackling layer of fat, and with sugar peas, onion, and chewy, meaty King mushrooms. These were cooked perfectly well in a light, fragrantly garlicky broth, revved up with dried red chillies, served with a bowl of steamed rice. Lots leftover for dinner.
It was good enough that I am planning a return visit, to sample more of the three hundred item Three Kings menu.
Open: Daily from 11 a.m. to midnight
Three Kings Restaurant, 832 Somerset St. W., 613-237-8887.
First published in Ottawa Magazine
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