Friday, May 8, 2009

Good Congee at 一品粥 (Yi Pin Zhou)

One rainy night, a few months ago when I had a sprained ankle, I hobbled up to the door of my new apartment building and waited behind a woman who was delivering a heavy load of takeout containers.

"Where is this food from?" I asked her, wanting to learn more about delivery options in the area.

"We are 一品粥 (yi pin zhou)", she said. Finally they let her in and we made it to the elevator.

"You live in which apartment?" she asked, and added, "If these guys don't pay for their food, I'll give it to you!"

Yi Pin Zhou is a chain of Cantonese style places. Their main product is congee and they do it very well - always creamy and rich tasting. The Fang Cao Jie branch, where the generous delivery lady was from, is open very late at night. They also have roast goose, cha siu pork, and a steam table with a few dim sum. The signature 一品粥 congee is very good but includes cubes of Chinese spam (火腿), which I always pick out. Today, because I am still fighting off the loosening grip of a cold, I ordered the chicken and mountain yam congee (鸡肉山药粥). I also got a basket of shrimp dumplings (虾饺).

I've been on a quest for shrimp dumplings lately (more on this to come). These were just OK. The wrappers were gummy and the shrimp stuffing was a little too pasty, but contained nice little cubes of bamboo shoot for crunch. I thought the dumplings were a decent value for Y10. They don't have soy sauce and vinegar on the tables; I had to ask for it and they brought me a little dish of good, light-tasting soy sauce. The chicken and mountain yam congee (Y6)was mild, fragrant, and delicious.

The menu has pictures, but not of everything. (Every single style of congee, for instance, doesn't have a picture.) Other menu items really can ramp up your bill, though. I've never loved the dim sum options I've tried here but the congee is definitely on a higher level than the standard in Chengdu. I also like how, if you want vegetables, they will stir fry an order of kong xin cai or whatever greens they have in season for you. This branch is very crowded at mealtimes, espcially on the weekends.

Update May 30: Picture taken earlier this year (I'd forgotten about it), outside Yi Pin Zhou

Address: 芳草街45号附1号 Walk north along Fang Cao Jie from Fang Cao Dong Jie.


  1. Hi ^^
    I was hoping if you could suggest some restaurants/dishes for me... I'm going on a trip through TianJin, Beijing, Xi'an and Chengdu this summer with my friend and she doesn't like v. spicy foods, can't eat pork (Muslim, but isn't bothered about whether the meat is halal) and HATES peppercorns ^^;;. I'm having a bit of trouble thinking of places to take her in Chengdu... could you help out?
    It's much apprepriated :D!

  2. There are lots of options. If you can handle phrases like bu neng chi la, bu neng chi zhu rou, bu yao huajiao, you will be fine even in most sichuanese places. If you want to eat Sichuan food you can order yuxiang flavoured dishes, or things like 脆皮鱼 (cui pi yu, crispy skin fish) or 樟茶鸭 (zhang cha ya, tea smoked duck.)

    If you are open to other Chinese, for less $ you can go for crossing the bridge noodles or lan zhou la mian (pulled noodle) places. There are a couple of muslim style restaurants on xiaojiahe street; I did a post on the less famous one. For more $$, there are lots of higher end Cantonese and Cantonese/Sichuan places like South Beauty that will serve less spicy food.

  3. I am going to be in Chengdu in a few weeks for only a few days and i want to learn as much as i can about the food: cooking schools, writers, markets and restaurants. I was wonderingf if you might be able to help me or point me inthe right direction. i will also be going to beijing and shanghai. thanks john

  4. hi john, if you use my email, ms dot sushan at gmail dot com, and ask specific questions I can help.


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