[Millbrae] Porridge and Things 文哥潮庭粥品- a great meal at a Chiu Chow specialist

Just like Special Noodles in Cupertino, Millbrae’s Porridge and Things serves Chiu Chow/ Teochew and Cantonese food, and just like Special Noodles, Porridge and Things doesn’t do a great job in telling people about their strengths in the name. The (Chiu Chow) things, to me, are their best ‘things’. Their porridge are good too, but their Chiu Chow things are better. They are a sister restaurant to Noodles and Things.

My wife was looking for porridge for Saturday evening and she suggested this place. I had never been beforehand and didn’t know the extent of their Chiu Chow menu but it was a pleasant surprise.

To clarify, Chiu Chow cuisine has porridge, and P&T serves that style of porridge in abundance, but they also have plenty of other Chiu Chow dishes that I got excited about once I see the menu. That is a proper teochew menu. Too many dishes to order, too few mouths this time.

Chiu Chow porridge (thinner) and Hong Kong porridge (thicker):

Look at the glorious Chiu Chow menu section:

And some cheap lunch rice plates that isn’t Chiu Chow.

The obligatory braised bird/ roasted meat counter. We didn’t have a chance to order their Chiu Chow braised goose/ duck.

We got:

Pork stomach fried pickle green. I debated in my head whether to get the pork stomach w/ preserved veg pepper soup or this dish. That was a tough choice for me because I adored the peppery pork stomach soup. Because we were getting a porridge so the non-soup dish won out. This was my favorite dish of the night. The pickled vegetable had a perfect blend of sweet and sourness. The fermented black bean added savoriness. The pork stomach was tender and seasoned just right. This dish literally took me back to the unfancy Chiu Chow restaurants in working class neighborhoods in Hong Kong.

The crab sauce with clams and vermicelli clay pot. Cabbage, tiny clams, vermicelli and a tiny bit of heat and plenty of wok hei combined to make an enjoyable vermicelli dish.

This stir fried Chinese broccoli with fish cake dish was polarizing. The fish cake was great, a blend of savoriness, sweetness and bouncy texture complemented well by the sauce, then let down by the fiber-ish crunchy Chinese broccoli. But I will eat the fish cake and sauce any day.

The bonito, pork rib, peanut sawo porridge. Big pot of savory ribs, flavorful Hong Kong style porridge. Plenty of ribs and dried fish. I forgot the take a picture of the porridge accompaniment. The black fermented vegetable, some other fermented stuff that I can’t remember right now and the standard green onion really complemented the porridge well.

Chinese donuts for the porridge.

Beef chowfun. Very solid with skinner flat rice noodles and plenty of wok hay.

If you look at the menu, they have a pretty large Chiu Chow section, a bunch of other Cantonese dishes including the fancier preorder dishes- chicken stuffed with sticky rice and double boiled soup and the cold crab. You can get the porridge in a big pot like we did or DIY with your own topics in either Chiu Chow or Hong Kong style. I would love to try the Chiu Chow style next time.

Plenty of food leftover for a second meal for the five of us.

If you read the online reviews, some of them are pretty atrocious- bad tasting food, bad service. I can’t speak to bad tasting food since our meal was great- its as if they were describing a completely different restaurant. But we went on Saturday evening so perhaps they got their A team in the house that night.
Our service wasn’t terrific but adequate. For example after we were seated they forgot to give us the menu so I had to chase it down. Other requests were done efficiently. So there was a bit of Hong Kong style service there but I had no issues with that. But if someone is looking for servers to baby them then this is not the place for it. Reviews mentioned some servers complaining about bad tips and chased diners down for more. We didn’t encounter that. It was a half hour wait for us so they had plenty of business.

So, to me, it was one of the most satisfying meal in the last few months. I don’t go to Millbrae often but I’d love to go back and sample the rest of the menu. Anyone up for a HO-meet?


Was it fermented beancurd (南乳)?

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Found a picture on Yelp:

I think its some sort of pickled radish. The black one was the fermented vegetable.

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I would be up for a HO meetup! Bigger group could sample more of the menu… :yum:


I’d be down with that!

@sck a server confirmed to me last year that the black paste is Chinese olive vegetable (I enjoyed the salted pork bone choy sum there a couple of time)


I’d join!

We had lunch with my great aunt (ABC - American Born Chinese) and her husband (ABS - American Born Sicilian).

A large airy dual-tiered space with very high cathedral ceilings. Service was good, took our order in Mandarin, spoke to each other in Cantonese.

My uncle definitely wanted the Basil Clams. The clams may be the best I’ve had in the States, plump and just barely popping their shells.

Auntie wanted Tendon. These were marinated in a spicey oil and served room temperature. I personally prefer braised tendon Hong Kong style.

Braised Duck. Duck was a bit spongy to my taste. I’d rather duck roasted.

Preserved Vegetable stir-fried with Beef, well done dish. Wife and I would rather have pork stomach, but gladly mooooved to beef to accomodate our guests.

In Porridge and Things, gotta have Jook!! The Jook for two was huge!! We had the Clams, Scallops and ground Pork. Again, the clams were great. Surprised by the goodly amount of scallps and clams in the pot.

Toishan Cauliflower with Lop Cheung.

Gon Chow Gnow Hau, Dry Fried Beef Fun. I’d been jonsing for this dish, good wok hay.

The kitchen crew here is first rate. Pleasant ambiance and service. Lunch for 4 with 2 beers a bit over $200 with tip.

Would have been even better if we could have ordered the frog, pork stomach, goose and a few other interesting items. Next time.


Good Lord, Millbrae has changed since I worked there in the 1970s! Back then, a restaurant that served Hot & Sour Soup was considered exotic.

There was a wave from Hong Kong in the 90s that settled in the Millbrae, South SF, San Bruno and Daly City area, due to the return of Hong Kong from UK to China in 1997. In fact, that’s the clientele of the popular and high end (to the Bay Area) Koi Palace. Many of the rich ones, like a couple of popular singers who were active in Hong Kong in the 80s, live up on the hills, golf in Hillsborough, then socialize at Koi Palace.

We still have a good pocket of Hong Kong/ Cantonese restaurants in that area, with Porridge and Things being one of them.


I bet they have an interesting story.


They probably fight over who invented noodles.


Indeed!!! She was one of the rare female AND Asian engineers working in The Valley many years ago. AMD sent her to Japan many times, for months at a time.

She met her now husband when he was her flight instructor in pilot training.

She’s been to probably over 30 countries. We’ve traveled and dined with her in Vietnam, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

She’ll be in Singapore and Malaysia next month. Spending time with her is always a good time.