As a child growing up in Beijing, white plain congee was just as common on our dinner table as steamed rice. It’s frequently served as a side dish to accompany other major courses like stir-fried vegetables or braised beef. Congee serves as a half-soup, half-starchy staple, in my opinion.
Because a typical Chinese dinner consists of three courses plus a soup with a starchy base of rice, noodle, bread etc. We want to wash down the dry food with something liquid. Thus the soup is extremely vital.