My roommate and I are not exactly of Asian origin. That is to say, while I am mixed and while she is from Singapore, neither of us could really be pulled out of a crowd of, say, white people. For one, at this point in the late and chilly fall, I’ve become an unfortunate shade of pale. And for my roommate, she is as Norwegian looking as any child whose ancestors came from the Norway. For as well as I’m doing on the PC-scale thus far, she may as well be a descendant of Thor. Never has a more blonde Nordic offspring existed. (Fact.)
The entirely inappropriate paragraph above is a set-up to explain why, exactly, two very seemingly non-Asian children were arguing about the name of rice soup. Because while we may not look it we both know—or really, pretend to know at times—about a wholly different and delicious food culture. The debate du jour was over the proper name of rice soup or porridge. Not actually having any Chinese blood between us, I held that it was Jok, the beloved chicken and herb studded rice soup of my childhood while Norway over there firmly believed that it was Congee, the breakfast porridge with the occasional egg thrown in.
After extensive googling—by which I mean 10 words and a click away—the Internet solved our cultural discord. China, being that tricky country way over there, has two languages. Each of which has its own special word for rice soup-like porridge. What is Jok to one is Congee to the other.
This knowledge came after the fact, but I’m sure it made my roommate feel better to know that I was not stealing her chicken carcass for something disastrous with a silly name. And now, the best part. We both have a vat of warming and comfy soup to share.
Recipe on the following page.