|jook and crullers (background)|
When I am craving breakfast it isn’t the bacon and eggs or waffles and pancakes that I long for. What I want is an Asian style breakfast consisting of rice porridge.
One of my go-to places for an Asian breakfast is in Westminster and sits inside a bakery. If a friend of mine hadn’t told me this years ago, I would probably still be in the dark about it and have missed out on one of the simple pleasures in life.
This little Vietnamese-Chinese bakery sells breads and pastries, both sweet and savory, but if you want to enjoy some of the dishes they have to offer, grab a table and sit down. When they bring the menu to you, it is surprisingly extensive for such a hole-in-the-wall. There are noodles, rices, and of course, the quintessential Asian breakfast item, chao or congee, or jook. I usually order the “century egg” and pork version ($4.75) and it arrives piping hot with half a black egg and shredded salted pork.
|taro and radish cake|
Century eggs can be either chicken, duck or quail eggs. They are preserved in a mixture of rice hulls, ash, lime, clay and salt for a few months and turns the egg black. The overpowering smell of sulphur and ammonia can be quite overwhelming to first time eaters but for me, this is the only way I like my porridge.
Porridge here is awesome, it is thick, piping hot and they serve it Vietnamese style, with lime wedges and beansprouts. In Hong Kong, scallions and julienned fresh ginger are the condiments.
Crullers are also a condiment which go perfectly with jook and are called “dau chao quy” in Vietnamese or “you tiao” in Mandarin. Regardless of how you refer to these, for a buck, they are well worth the price. I like to dip mine into soy sauce and eat it with a spoonful of hot porridge. The crullers are best when hot and crispy and if you come here later in the day, sometimes, they aren’t crispy anymore.
Cu Cai Khoai Mon ($5.50) or radish taro pan fried cake is also tasty. Unlike the Chinese version, which is served as is, the Vietnamese style ones here are dipped into egg and fried. A salty tart dipping sauce is served alongside. I just like mine with a bit of Sriracha.
|bo luc lac with fried rice|
Sticky rice in lotus leaf ($2) is a snack often eaten as a dim sum item. You can purchase these at the counter to bring home but they will heat them up for you if you happen to order one while dining in. The sticky rice is nice and soft and the meat and mushroom filling is seasoned nicely.
My son often will eat the porridge, but when it gets too close to lunch time, he prefers to have something other than breakfast food. His usual favorite is the Com Chien Bo Luc Lac ($7.95) Euro-style butter filet mignon with fried rice. The cubes of beef are tender and very flavorful and goes perfectly with the fried rice which is equally delicious. If you prefer steamed rice, you can ask them to switch out the fried rice for you. A bowl of mustard greens soup comes with this meal and is quite good when piping hot.
If you’re ever feeling like something different for breakfast, why not give Asian breakfast a try? You might like it and maybe, crave it once in a while like I do!
Kang Lac Bakery, 9301 Bolsa Avenue, Westminster, CA 92683. Tel: 714-894-6122