When my dad’s in town and it’s just the two of us for lunch on a weekday, the spot we hit most often is Joy Luck Place in Cupertino. Their menu features traditional Cantonese dishes such as wonton noodle soup, congee and fried rice. And, two days ago we had each of these three (and more). We ordered the shrimp fried rice as an afterthought. A nearby table had it delivered and I couldn’t resist. It was good and had all the necessary ingredients—shrimp, green onions, ground pepper, even a little cabbage and of course egg—but it wasn’t something I’d come back for (unlike their Fujian fried rice, which our entire family knows and enjoys).
The wonton noodle soup is the reason I wanted to go and it didn’t disappoint. The soup was piping hot, as it must be, and the wontons fresh. The star of the day, though, was the fish congee. Just one sip indicated it was given the correct preparation, which involves simmering the congee at low temperature for several hours, giving the rice enough time to soften and absorb water. As big as our bowl was—roughly the size of a large bowl of pho—it contained only about a teaspoon of rice before cooking. The sole was added just before serving and cooked to a perfect doneness.
As an appetizer we ordered soy chicken. Served cold, it was tender and tasted of, well, soy. The let-down of today’s lunch, however, was the Chinese broccoli, which was limp, of a stale shade of green and with stalks far too skinny.
If interested for lunch on a weekday, be sure to get there before 11:45—not because the restaurant will be too full otherwise (it won’t be) but because just before noon the parking lot will be teaming with cars looking for non-existing open spots.