Types of Hue congee
Update5/13/2021 2:20:50 PM
There are a wide variety kinds of chao (congee) cooked in Hue style such as congee, mushroom congee, vegetarian congee and five-color congee. Hue congee is neither thick nor watery. Additional materials and flavorings are added while preparing. This tasty spicy dish is eaten hot.
Hue offal congee
Hue offal congee

Considered as a "light" dish, “chao gao” (congee) is served with salt and braised fish. Rice is sometime cooked together with sticky rice, skinned mung beans and sweet potato, bringing the dish a distinctive flavor.

 “Chao nam” (mushroom congee): Mushroom (bitter bolete, termite or straw mushroom) is peeled, soaked in salt water, washed and stir fried with shrimp, pork, onion, pepper, salt and fish sauce. Mushroom is added into the congee when the rice is well disintegrated. This seasonal dish taste a little bit "bitter", yet vaguely sweet.

“Chao ca” (fish congee): This is a perfect choice for those who are ill. Not many saltwater fish, but freshwater and brackish water fishes are chosen to cooked the dish. Fishes (common ponny, spotted scat, snakehead, etc) are well seasoned with fish sauce, pepper and onion before being added into congee. While eating, diners enjoy the congee and pieces of fish dipped in sauce. At the beginning of flood season, "ca lui”, a fresh water fish living in the Huong river enters breeding season. It is the time when Hue locals enjoy "ca lui" congee. In September or October, a healthy congee for breastfeeding women is made from "tep rong" (river shrimp) caught from rivers and streams.

“Chao heo” (pork congee): Pork congee can be made from various pig's body parts such as organ and trotters. For "chao long" (pig's organ congee), rice is first cooked in the water previously used to boil pork. When the rice is fully disintegrated, already stir fried pig's organs are added. It is often served in a bowl with slices of pig's organ, onion and chili on top. Although "chao tim cat" (offal congee) is quite similar to "chao long", only pig's heart and kidney are used only. In "chao gio heo" (pig's trotter congee), pig's trotters are cut into small pieces and well stew before being cooked together with rice. To make the dish more nutritious, carrot and potatoes are added.

"Chao thit bo" (beef congee): Beef’s tender, muscle, eyes and tail are well stew and cooked with rice. It is served with pickled carrot, onion and ginger fish sauce.

"Chao ga" (chicken congee): Rice is cooked in chicken boiling water until it is disintegrated. Then, stir fried chicken meat and organ are added into the dish. Chicken congee is topped with shredded chicken, chicken leg, sliced onion and Vietnamese coriander.

Duck and bird congee are cooked in the same way. However, Vietnamese coriander is replaced by onion and cilantro. Particularly, pigeon congee is considered as a nutritious dish for postpartum women or the ill. Pigeon is stewed with mung beans, lotus seeds, goji berry, Chinese dried apple and wood ears.

"Chao hen" (baby clam porridge), "chao tria" (clam porridge) and "chao so" (oyster porridge): Clam, baby clam or oyster are boiled, then stir fried with pig’s fat, onion, chili, pepper, fish sauce and peeled shrimp. Then, rice is cooked in the water previously used to boil baby clam/clam/oyster until it is well disintegrated. Porridge is often served in a bowl with stir fried baby clam/clam/oyster and Vietnamese coriander on top. "Chao ech" (frog porridge) or "Chao luon" (eel porridge) are the other two Hue specialties.

Among kinds of congee, the five-color porridge is said to be the most challenging dish. As its colors are made up by rice (white), mung bean (yellow), black bean (black), purple potato (purple) and red rice (brown), these grains are separately cooked then put into one bowl. To keep its original flavor, this special congee is served with salt.

 “Chao bot” or “banh canh” (thick noodle soup) is also classified as “chao” in Hue. As its name suggests, “chao bot” made from flour such as rice, wheat or tapioca. The flour is well kneaded, flattened and cut into strips, then cooked with pork, pig's trotter, shrimp, crabs or stir fried snakehead fish. There is a thicker version called Nam Pho thick noodle soup.

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