By Savannah Yefchack Are you ready to try a culturally diverse and flavorful dish? This Friday, Sept. 29, from 3 to 6 p.m. Integrative Acupuncture will hold its second annual Congee Cookoff at 200 Elm Street in Montpelier to celebrate the rich flavors, cultural diversity, and reported health benefits of congee, an Asian rice porridge. Congee was first documented in east and south Asia, with its first appearance in the Zhou Dynasty in China 3,000 years ago. Its ingredients reflect the diversity of flavors found across Asia. Congee recipes have been passed down over millennia and changed from culture to culture to build more modern interpretations with added flavors and ingredients depending on the culture and the people creating it. Congee is a traditional comfort food shared during meals with family and friends as celebration and comfort. In the early days congee was served as breakfast as well as a healing food for young and old.Another important part of congee is its reported health benefits. It is easy to digest and is said to support the immune system and heart health. It’s also easy to make, gentle on the stomach, and is reported to be good for belly aches and colds.