SPOT.ph Roadtest: Seafood Bagoong Cauli Rice

Plus Yangchow cauli rice.

PHOTO BY Patricia Baes ILLUSTRATION Warren Espejo

(SPOT.ph) Chances are, you've heard of cauli rice—basically cauliflower (yes, the vegetable!) that's blitzed into tiny, grain-like pieces and used like, well, rice. The idea's been around for a few years—we've seen articles on it dating all the way back to 2015—but with low-carb and grain-free paleo diets being on-trend in these parts right now, they've become especially popular. We're not here to advocate any particular way of eating, but we did want to know: what exactly does cauli rice taste like, at least when cooked and flavored similar to fried rice?

We got these dishes from The Cauli Stop, a local purveyor that cooks up dishes usually made with rice—think fried rice and even sushi—but with cauliflower. We tried two different kinds from their "flavored cauli rice" line: the Yangchow and Seafood Bagoong. Both arrived warm in biodegradeable containers—making them good for the environment, too.

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The Yangchow Cauli Rice has a savory-sweet profile and chunks of mixed vegetables for textural contrast.
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes ILLUSTRATION Warren Espejo
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Price and availability: The Yangchow Cauli Rice goes for P329, while the Seafood Bagoong Cauli Rice goes for P349. Both dishes serve two to three people. They're always available—just send The Cauli Stop a message on social media.

Best for: If you're trying to cut down on carbohydrates—nothing wrong with them in moderation, but you do you—or are avoiding grains (as is called for, say, in paleo). Even if you're not following the said diets though, you can just try it if you're looking for variety in your meals.

Best with: As both dishes come supplemented with a protein—a thin omelette for the Yangchow and a Seafood-Bagoong mix in the Seafood Bagoong—you can consume them on their own, but that didn't stop us from pairing them with grilled chicken and kimchi. (It works!)

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The Seafood Bagoong highlights the umami profile of shrimp paste.
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes ILLUSTRATION Warren Espejo

Tastes like: The Yangchow has a savory-sweet profile (we reckon it's from oyster sauce) with bits of mixed vegetables mixed in, and a topping of egg for an extra protein boost. The Seafood Bagoong was on the salty side, but was nonetheless satisfying with its strong, umami note of shrimp paste—and while it appeared that there wasn't enough of the seafood topping compared to the cauli rice at first glance, it was so savory and flavorful that you only need a small spoonful in every few bites of the cauliflower.

The Seafood Bagoong highlights the umami profile of shrimp paste.
PHOTO BY Patricia Baes ILLUSTRATION Warren Espejo
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Manage your expectations: With its coarse, grainy texture, cauli rice does at least give you the feeling that you're eating rice—perhaps a firmer, less chewy kind of rice anyway, comparable to bulgur wheat. Flavor-wise, it's no surprise that cauli rice ultimately tastes like, ahem, cauliflower, but the added flavorings do manage to complement its naturally nutty profile and keep you going back for more spoonfuls. It does fill you up—at least in the sense that drinking water or eating fruits fills you up, rather than how rice can make you feel full-full. We appreciate how it's relatively light on the gut—you feel satisfied but not stuffed—and it's great if you like to eat big portions without feeling bloated afterwards, or if you'd like to save room for dessert.

Yay or nay: We still love real rice at the end of the day, but we nevertheless give these cauli rice dishes a solid Yay.

For orders, check out The Cauli Stop on Facebook or Instagram.

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