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Restaurants

Congee Star

Posted by Dawn Becker / Reviewed on April 22, 2010 / review policy

Congee StarCongee Star is located in a plaza in the Don Mills and Eglinton area serving a continuous stream of customers from surrounding businesses and residences alike. Although their name highlights congee, it's only one of many types of offerings that this self-titled "authentic pan-Asian restaurant" offers.

Congee StarThe congee selection is extensive with 27 options to choose from including the Shredded Chicken and Duck Congee ($4.95), pictured at top. The succulent duck slices are fully deboned and come complete with roasted skin. The Lean Pork with Preserved Egg and Salted Egg Congee ($4.95) includes a rough dice of both in the mix. Be warned, the salted egg is aptly named and works well with the savouriness of the black preserved egg. Those looking for something more wholesome might want to try the Taro and Corn Congee ($4.25). And for the adventurous, there's Blood Jello Congee ($4.25) which includes soft cubes of pork blood, also strangely known as blood tofu.

Congee StarA traditional accompaniment for congee is the Deep Fried Dough Fritter ($1.50), similar to a cruller in its airiness. You dip the dough fritters into the congee as you would a cookie into milk. As good as they are in congee, I have also seen them dipped into wonton soup for a variation.

Congee StarRice Noodle Rolls and Snacks are also on the menu. The snacks are akin to the options found at a dim sum place without the more familiar varieties like har gow (shrimp dumplings). I really enjoy the Minced Beef Rice Noodle Roll ($2.95). The rice noodle delicately wraps the tender beef without being sticky and the combination of sweet to salt in the soy dressing is the perfect topping. I also try the Deep Fried Fish Skin ($3.25) which is surprisingly not greasy. The fried skin is served with a wonton soup broth for dipping which brings out the fish oil enhancing the flavour. Admittedly, fish skin is not for everyone.

Congee StarJust as popular it seems, is the wide selection of stir-fried noodle and fried rice dishes, so many, in fact, that it's tough to try them all. The standards, such as Cantonese Chow Mein ($9.75) or Fried Rice Noodle with Beef and Black Bean Sauce ($7.25) are solid but I'm a particular fan of the Pickled Cabbage and Shredded Pork Braised Vermicelli ($7.95), pictured above. It's light, not oily and flecked with shreds of salty cabbage and shiitake mushrooms. The thinly sliced pork is not overly fatty and provides the right amount of meatiness to the lighter rice noodles. I like it topped with a drizzle of chilli oil that's at each table.

Congee StarThere are a number of dishes that are vegetable based. I hesitate to say vegetarian because I can't confirm if the sauces are made without chicken stock, oyster sauce or other flavour enhancers, such as conpoy (dried seafood usually a scallop muscle), that would not be considered meat-free. The Fried Bean Curd with Vegetable ($8.50) is colourful, fresh and sauced to well. The dish comes with just-cooked broccoli that's retained its crispness. Along with braised Chinese mushrooms and thinly sliced carrots, this is a well orchestrated dish and a good example of what Cantonese stir fry should be like.

Congee StarWith efficient attention and speedy kitchen service, Congee Star deservedly has its loyal customers. If you're in the area, stop in at Congee Star. The hardest part will be choosing only a handful of plates from the hundreds that are on the menu.

Hours:
Monday to Thursday - 10:30 am to 11:00 pm
Friday to Sunday - 10:30 am to 12 midnight

Discussion

18 Comments

Eugene / April 23, 2010 at 09:34 am
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Please stop the double click-throughs. It's annoying. Seriously, we need to boycott BlogTO if they continue with this. There's no reason for the double click-throughs in order to get to read the actual article -- and most of the time, it's poorly written.
Patrick / April 23, 2010 at 09:44 am
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GROSS.
Glen / April 23, 2010 at 09:55 am
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great review Dawn! Look forward to stopping trying this congee temple soon. Eugene, i agree the second click is annoying but if you've got enough time to post you've got enough time to click. email this editors this feedback and don't clog up articles reviews with your rants
Cam / April 23, 2010 at 10:17 am
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I've been to Congee Star a number of times, and have enjoyed it tremendously each time (the duck congee is awesome). But you know what would have been really good in this review? An explanation of what congee is. I'm a little more adventurous than most so I didn't know what it was when I walked in the first time, you know since congee isn't exactly a French-Canadian staple.

So to help remedy the author's omission here's a small explanation of congee:

The congee served at Congee Star is the Chinese version of congee (there's a number of country specific variations). At it's base it is essentially a rice porridge, which is made of normal rice cooked with large amounts of water until it becomes a very thick soup (ever had rice pudding? that rice would be considered half cooked congee). Congee essentially has no taste beyond its natural rice taste and usually is served with a variety of different flavours as mentioned in the review.

A few of my friends have further explained to me that congee is often used as a breakfast food, as baby food and as something to eat when you have stomach problems. Generally it's a very easy to digest food and one friend mentioned how he lived off congee during his crazier partying and rave days.

My Chinese friends tell me that the congee at Congee Star is pretty good and is authentic - however a few swear that their Grandmother's congee is better.

Congee Star also easily scores high on my "authentic ethnic food rating scale" since I have been the only non-chinese person in the restaurant in about 90% of my visits.

Amanda / April 23, 2010 at 11:18 am
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I love congee... this looks amazing... was it good?

Thanks for that tidbit Cam.. I eat congee when I have stomach problems, or whenever I just want congee, heh, but yes.. very easy to digest, though if you're sick you won't add thousand year old egg, obviously. A grandmother's congee is always better, heh. ;)
J. / April 23, 2010 at 11:20 am
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YUCK!
Tim replying to a comment from Eugene / April 23, 2010 at 11:40 am
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We're not purposely trying to make you click more. Here's the reason why two clicks is necessary:

1. On the homepage the excerpted/condensed text strips out the hyperlinks so that you need to click on the title of the post or "more" in order to read the full post.

2. Since the post you clicked on was just the "announcement" post you then need to click to read the full review/profile.

So why did we design it this way?

The first issue is a shortcoming with our new design that we didn't anticipate. We plan on addressing this soon.

The second issue is a shortcoming of our content management system in that we need to "announce" our reviews/profiles in order to properly index and categorize them.

In an nutshell, I understand it's not ideal but we're not doing this in order to garner extra clicks or page views.

One trick - on the homepage, just below the latest five posts, you'll see a section called "Latest Reviews". Just click on these instead and this will take you directly to the full review.
everlast34 / April 23, 2010 at 12:33 pm
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Looks like someone already ate this stuff...
Megs / April 23, 2010 at 12:39 pm
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This is probably one of my fave places to eat! One thing everyone should try at Congee Star is the Fried Turnips Singapore Style. These tasty little pieces are a type of turnip I'm not familiar with (more delicate in flavor than traditional turnip for sure). They add this red spicy salt and a few shrimp in with them and fry them nice and crispy, the middle literally melts in your mouth though - DIVINE!
TL / April 23, 2010 at 01:02 pm
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Seriously stop the double clicking really annoying and makes readers hate the new redesign a lot more!!
Collin replying to a comment from Megs / April 23, 2010 at 06:44 pm
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@megs, i think the turnip you had is turnip cake. not just straight turnip.

i love congee and i look forward to trying to this place!
Bear / April 23, 2010 at 07:54 pm
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Mmmm! My family eats here all the time. Great food for a great price! There is also Congee Queen close by which is not related to Congee Star but still yummy!...too bad I'm a bear and no one lets me eat! hmph! (>_<)
SNACKeR replying to a comment from Tim / April 24, 2010 at 08:23 am
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Thanks for the explanation, Tim. It's really appreciated.
abc / April 25, 2010 at 06:26 pm
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this is my last comment. the double clicking to get to the article is just not kosher.

saltspring / April 26, 2010 at 08:19 pm
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My girlfriend (who is from HK) and I just came from Congee Star. Horribly unimpressive. Muddy congee. Steamed tilapia billed as alive (i.e. swimming..."yauhseui, haih", the waitress lied) came steamed dead. Last time that fish swam was before it was frozen. Greasy pork chops. Bland tea. Waste of time and money.

If you want decent congee, head up to Markham. Try Keung's kitchen at the Warden T and T plaza. Congee Star isn't even fit for mainland folk.
meshu / April 26, 2010 at 11:29 pm
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@saltspring: Now, that's a review!
Jimmy / June 30, 2010 at 05:10 pm
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Great food! My company used to order this every time we had to work overtime (bosses way of showing thanks) and the food made it worth the late nights.

My only beef with the place is that every single time, they would screw up someone's order, so not everyone would be happy each time (happened to me twice since). If they can improve that, I would recommend them 10 times over!
Carp / June 30, 2012 at 07:32 pm
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Congee Star came recommended so we just got back from dinner.
I won't recommended it, the congee was mediocre at best the beef with black bean tasted of burnt vegetable oil and had no black bean flavour, the spicy salted deep fried seafood was so overcooked eating cling film would have been a better choice and last they didn't have BBQ duck at 6pm on a Saturday night.You might ask what do I know this white boy's been eating home cooked Chinese food since I was 12 and I was a chef for 25yrs.

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