I kept leaving this review on AAA Restaurant on my back burner because I was not able to get the pineapple bun until my 4th visit. And the Congee Special is back! After a popular run of taking 50% off on all congee bowls in January, the current offer is 35% off. And the deal got sweeter, as they are throwing in a dessert for only extra $1.11, for which you can choose from the Guilinggao (Turtle Jelly) or the Steamed Milk & Egg White Custard.
Apparently, the Hong Kong style cafe restaurant in Richmond is linked to Lido Restaurant in the same area. Besides the usual cafe fare, they are also specializing in congee, steamed soup and Chinese dessert. And their pineapple bun is quite famous as well.
They use a special stock for their congee, which is made from chicken and pork bones, 100% MSG free. The variety of congee bowls suits different needs.
There are pricier ones like the Lobster Tail Congee ($14.50), or the Peppery Pork Tripe and Clam Congee ($12.50). The lobster tasted good but I wish there was a little more lobster. Without the discount, I probably wouldn’t order it for the full price. The peppery congee got a nice kick from the pepper and the little surf-and-turf combo of flavours works the umami magic.
The “Champion” Congee ($7.95) has a mix of different pork offals in it. When most people would stay away by the sound of it, I absolutely loved it. And I wanted to applaud to the techniques used to clean and cook the offals because I barely found the taste gamy.
The had a couple new congee bowls on the menu, with the Sun Dried Bok Choy and Pork Congee ($8.75). This is something I grew up eating in Guangzhou, and I found the version here stay true to the traditional dish. There is a unique sweet earthiness from hydrated and cooked sun dried bok choy, and I definitely recommend everyone to give it try.
All the congee bowls come with a side item, which can be a hot cafe style drink or a side dish. I have tried the Radish Cake and the Water Chestnut Cake, which remind me of the hometown flavours. My aunt always made them for Chinese new year every single year! There is also the Chinese Doughnut as an option, and I like it that they cut the whole thing into little pieces for you.
If you don’t feel like having congee, you can order the Wonton Lo Noodles ($9.95), or a Satay Beef Rice Noodle Soup ($8.25).
And it is a killer deal to pay only $1.11 for the dessert items because they are priced at $6.95 normally. I didn’t get to try the Egg White Custard, but it’s extremely popular among the ladies as it’s supposed to be good for their skin. I tried the Guilinggao, or the Turtle Jelly. It is a type of grass jelly but also made with Chinese herb and turtle shell powder, which are supposed to be good for balancing the “yang” of your body. It has a herbal bitterness so it’s better to put some ginger flavoured syrup to go with it.
Last but not least, it’s the Pineapple Bun ($2.80) time! The crunchy crusty sugar top of the bun is where the money is. The fluffy bun is served warm but with a big slab of cold butter slid in the middle. With all the contrasts in different textures and flavours in one big bite. I love it!
If you are a fan of congee or if you are curious about trying it, I definitely recommend AAA restaurant for a visit. The unique congee special offers you a meal of congee, side dish and dessert for a very reasonable price. And the pineapple bun here is the mother of all sugar buns out there in the city, a must-try in my book for sure.