10 Fried Rice We're Crazy Obsessed With Right Now
Kanin na, ulam pa!
(SPOT.ph) How many times have we said that rice is the staple food of the Philippines? It feels patriotic to eat it—which is what we tell ourselves every time we signal for a rice refill. While you can never beat the satisfaction of a bowl of white rice, we appreciate the way restaurants are playing it up—even going as far as making it the superstar of the table.
Buta + Wagyu's Chahan (P255)
It is easy to be distracted by the beautiful bibimbap, regardless of how out of place a Korean dish is in a Japanese restaurant. The bright, artfully arranged vegetables, the beautiful egg at the center—it's love at first sight. The Chahan, on the other hand, is a side dish, intended to support but never to outshine. It's extra loaded with unrecognized talents. The rice is deeply flavorful, flourished with strips of fried egg and crispy Wagyu trimmings. Rings of leeks give it a fresh bite. Servers encourage customers to dunk it in leftover ramen broth, but it's delicious on its own.
Buta + Wagyu is at SM Aura Premier, Bonifacio Global City. Read more about Buta + Wagyu.
Takashi's Seafood Chahan Rice (P85)
This bowl of rice is Chef Sylvia Reynoso Gala's contribution to this restaurant. It comes in a standard-sized vessel, but loaded with real seafood and flavor—thanks to the genius addition of salmon flakes. Not only can you see every little ingredient they tossed in there: eggs, Chinese ham, scallions, shrimps, but you can feel them in every spoonful.
Takashi has branches at Pioneer Center, Pioneer Street, Pasig City; and 332 H.V. Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City. Read more about Takashi.
The Study's Dry Sinigang Rice (off-menu)
This dish comes with lechon kawali, so you can imagine how tasty it is for us to look past the fried pork and just focus on the rice. You can get it à la carte, just tell the server. This is Chef Luigi Muhlach's throwback to childhood days of dousing white rice with that favorite sour soup. It's so tasty that you can imagine sinigang being reduced till that flavor sticks to the grains. Tomatoes and onions complete the picture. Can you imagine if they served this with fish instead?
The Study is at 2/F Regis Center, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City. Read more about The Study.
The Black Sheep's Black Sheep Jumps Over the Wall (P888)
Chef Patrick Go merges two Chinese classics in this dish: fried rice and Buddha Jumps Over The Wall. The latter is a popular soup made up of a plethora of ingredients. This version, however, settles for 23—including Wagyu tenderloin, bone marrow, onions, chicken floss, and foie gras. The complex flavor comes from the homemade MSG made with all kinds of dried seafood.
The Black Sheep is at 2230 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City. Read more about The Black Sheep.
Texas Roadhouse's Seasoned Rice (P85)
This wonderful side dish is so universally loved that many cooks and chefs have tried hacking the recipe. It doesn't look like much, but every grain is coated with an unmistakable spiced flavor. You can detect smokiness (thanks to the tell-tale notes of paprika), sweetness, and savoriness. If the steaks weren't so good, we could actually order this alone and be happy—actually, the bowl is crowned with steak bits.
Texas Roadhouse is at Uptown Place Mall, 11th Avenue, Uptown Bonifacio. Read more about Texas Roadhouse.
Manam's University Fried Rice
Think of it as tapsilog, but without the curly strips of vinegared beef. Someone in Manam's kitchens applies a very heavy and very generous hand with the chunks of cured beef, mixing it in there well so the flavor spreads throughout the grains. This delicious dish is definitely ulam optional.
Toyo Eatery's Silog (P250)
Chef Jordy Navarra definitely knows how to hit your taste buds squarely with flavor. You can order this saucy dish on its own, but it's a default partner to the bangus. Interestingly enough, you could actually consider the fish as the foil to the intensely flavorful rice. Yup, the fish is the kanin in this equation. The soft yolk coats the grains with richness, but it also helps tone down the saltiness of the dish. It's reminiscent of soy sauce-drizzled rice, but made with a much more sophisticated method, ingredients, and, consequently, results.
Toyo Eatery is at Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City. Read more about Toyo Eatery.
Simple Lang's Inasal Rice (P160)
This modern Filipino restaurant has a couple of fried rice options, but it's in the unassuming Inasal Rice (the bridesmaid to the Sisig Rice) where we find most satisfaction. There's no denying that those smoky flavors ring true. It even flaunts the slight tanginess characteristic of this Bacolod classic.
Simple Lang is at Ayala Triangle Gardens, Makati City. Read more about Simple Lang.
Ming Kee's Yang Chow (P300 to P600)
The rice is soft, supple, fluffy even. It's impressive because this traditional dish is made using cold, dry rice so the grains won't clump together in the pan. Yet here we are, presented with this pale yellow, creamy fried rice that, in true Ming Kee fashion, tastes delicate but distinctive—and just simply good. Crunch comes from the bean sprouts on top. Ming Kee's Yang Chow flaunts the mildness of egg with a delicate brush of flavor from the shrimps and a slightly bolder bite from the barbecued pork.
Ming Kee is at 7852 Makati Avenue, Makati City. Read more about Ming Kee.
Nav's Tom Yum Fried Rice (P250)
This one definitely takes your palate on a journey. The tartness is the dominant note, but make your way through the bowl—quite an easy task, if you ask us—and your taste buds will enjoy glimpses of bayleaf, lemongrass, and sweet pork. Lime wedges are also served on the side should you want a bright detour. The acidity really adds a lightness to this dish, which is served in caveman portions.
Nav has branches at 16 United Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City; and SM Mega Food Hall, Mandaluyong City. Read more about Nav.