Chao is basically meat porridge, also referred to as congee. It’s a fairly thick broth of chicken (ga) stock and rice. The rice is cooked out so that the starch is released and creates a thickened soup, which is enriched with the chicken meat and stock. It’s topped with fresh herbs.
It’s traditionally a bit of a winter food which is often made when feeling a bit under the weather, a comfort food and like a lot of other countries a go-to chicken soup to cure sickness. The flavour can be adjusted to personal preference using the vinegars and spices on the table.
A side that is popular with congees and other soups, such as Phở – banh gio chao quay, or just quay. A fried doughnut-like breadstick popular all over South-East Asia and also known as Chinese crullers & youtiao. They are a crispy crunchy, if a bit greasy addition to a soup or congee.
Some useful phrases
Sin chow – hello
Mot – one
Hai – two
Gam urn – thank you
Tra da – iced tea, a popular and cheap drink to accompany meals and usually available at hole in the wall restaurants
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