Foodie Review: Kongee Dinesty

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150-9020 Capstan Way, Richmond, BC V6X 3V9
Phone: (604) 278-0077

I am Chinese, even though I am exposed to all kinds of cuisines in Vancouver, nothing beats a simple Chinese breakfast – congee. To those who doesn’t know what congee is, Wikipedia has a good explanation. Congee has many benefits because it is easy to make, an infinite of combination (more on that) on the ingredients and it is very easy for the body to digest.

Because congee is so “fundamentally” basic (like Chicken soup) in our culture, most Chinese restaurant should have a few variations in the menu. Kongee Dinesty, a restaurant inside a strip-mall offers only congee, but also pastries and sides that traditionally goes with it. Suddenly, Kongee Dinesty stands out because of the pastries and sides; they are just not easy to make. This is also why it has line up on the weekends.

Like I said earlier, because of the infinite combination that can go into congee, each version of congee can reflect which region in comes from. Kongee Dinesty is Cantonese version.

Kongee Dinesty offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is a $9.85 combo that consist of a congee and a side. Lunch is also $9.85 but the sides are extra. Dinner is a completely different Cantonese cuisines. In terms of value, the $9.85 breakfast combo is the best thus the line up as it serves from 9am – 11pm.

Wife and I have been here for breakfast a few times, and this time we are wanting to try lunch as they serve Cantonese fried noodles and dishes. We like to order a few staple dishes to gauge the quality of their dinner. We are quite pleased to eat there.

We order the congee with flavored base, a couple of pastries “Chinese Donut”, a steamed rice roll and a fried flat rice noodles with beef. The congee is exactly what I would have make at home, it is not runny and has a soft texture, but not like baby food. The base is without MSG which is a bonus as most restaurants will use MSG as they skim out on the broth. The congee is served almost boiling hot and the ingredients are fresh. The star of the show the the pastries, it is a lost art because it is not easy to make. We order a sweet one and savory one. The trick is to control the timing as these can’t be pre-made. Anything pre-made is easily recognizable. I would imagine the pastries are deep-fried no more than 30 minutes as they turn them around very fast when every table would have ordered some. The pastry really feels like home.

The pan fried flat rice noodle with beef is a staple of Cantonese/Hong Kong cuisine. It is a tricky dish to make because it needs to be done in high searing heat in a very short of time. Especially with flat rice noodles, they tend to stick to the wok and skillful chef can complete this dish with just the sufficient amount of oil and at the same time equally fried each strands of noodle to give is a slightly crunchy texture. The goal is to ensure every noodle is fried and NOT to have excess oil on the plate at the end of the meal. When served, this dish should smell good (pan seared crunchy beef and noodle), looks good (all noodles have soy sauce coverage) and tastes good (no tenderizer needed). I think Kongee Dinesty nailed this dish to about 80%, which is very good to excellent.

No doubt about it, Kongee Dinesty is relatively expensive for Chinese food in Richmond. For the two of us, this meal comes to about $40; in Richmond, our usual expectation is about $25 for two of us. However, given the options it offers, where no one else in the nearby area could even compare to, we feel the price is justifiable.

I would highly recommend anyone to try Kongee Dinesty if you are looking for authentic home comfort food. It makes me feel like I am back in Hong Kong where I get my daily breakfast from the nearby street food vendor where everything is fresh and made in front of you. The lack of MSG, a great selections of Chinese donuts and steamed rice rolls are the reasons why this place gets high marks in my rating.