Pronounced 'jok' (โจ๊ก) in Thai, it sounds completely like how congee is pronounced 'chok' in the Cantonese dialect. It's also known as khao tom (ข้าวต้มกุ๊ย), literally, 'boiled rice'. Not referring to the dessert version here. I like congee a lot. I also like gruel- namely oats. Steel-cut oats preferably, thanks. Not fond of thin gruel or the sweet versions. Remember I'm not fond of sweet foods, especially not at breakfast. Savory thick is best.
We popped into two good congee eateries on this trip. Of course the menus offer additional dishes, rice and noodles. Meat options of pork and chicken usually. Not so much of beef. Plenty of vegetarian options too. And seafood. Totally casual, very local, and so delicious. I don't vouch for a zero-MSG experience though.
1. Jok Ruam Jai (โจ๊กร่วมใจ)
In the day, we like to go to Jok Ruam Jai (โจ๊กร่วมใจ) for lunch. It's so conveniently located near Asok BTS station. Stroll to Sukhumvit Soi 23, two minutes in to the left of the soi, you can't miss it. Popular with the locals, the friends like their branch in the suburbs. For us, we'll take this easy-to-get-to city outlet that doesn't even break a sweat to find.
Went late on a weekday. It was packed out with office workers looking for a late bite. It's one of those shops that's open all day for hungry humans. Even before we stepped in, the man was absolutely distracted by the braised pork trotters perched at the entrance. Hurhurhur.
They've got a full range of easy cooked food. Almost like our economy-mixed-rice stall. Similar flavors, cooking style and ingredients. Plenty of familiar favorites to pick from. There was an easy stir-fried slices of ginger with rice and an eggs sunny-side up. Spotted a pumpkin and beans stir-fry too. The fried noodles and kway teow were great. Simple food done well. Yes, because they're on Sukhumvit 23, there's a menu with English titles, description and photos.
Jok Ruam Jai (โจ๊กร่วมใจ)
7/5 Sukhumvit 23 (Prasanmirt), Wattana, Bangkok 10110 (nearest BTS station: Asok)
ถนนสุขุมวิท, วัฒนา, กรุงเทพมหานคร; เบอร์โทรศัพท์
2. Jae Oh (เจ๊โอว)
Somehow, Jae Oh (เจ๊โอว) felt like a dinner venue. Located in a quiet residential and commercial area, it's a local good congee place that opens late into the night. Located near Chulalongkorn University (yes again, an old haunt), one has to cab it here. It relocated once two streets down to this current premise, and unfortunately, it's going to be moving again. To where next, we don't know yet.
The friends said to meet them at Jae Oh. I was like...Okay! I know where! The simple happiness of knowing how to get to a not-that-obscure-but-out-of-city-centre venue without having to be picked up by the friends. We got there perfectly fine via cab. Although it was a bit ironic that I had to give the cab driver directions to get to the specific lane.
Dunno about the menu. We didn't even bother with the menu. Just ordered whatever. It's totally like a Chinese zi char restaurant. Most dishes are similar, with a twist. Like the fried tofu sitting in a light fish sauce topped with shredded green papaya. Jae Oh is known for its duck blood congee. Of which the man merrily lapped up. Tonight, they steamed up a beautiful cod fish piled high with chilli and garlic. OMG. TOTALLY MY KIND OF FOOD. That piece of cod was bigger than my face.
Jae Oh (เจ๊โอว )
206 จุฬาฯ 22 (แยก 5), Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330
206 ถ.เจริญเมือง แขวงวังใหม่ เขตปทุมวัน