A world of rice

Pia Ranada
#FoodieFridays: There's a new menu in town and it's all about rice meals from all over the world!

WORLD OF RICE. Rice dishes from all over the world are the focus of Oakwood Ortigas' new menu. All photos by Pia Ranada

MANILA, Philippines – Rice is a cornerstone of the Filipino diet, present in almost every meal and eaten any time of the day. It’s something taken for granted with the spotlight often focusing on the viand or sauce it is served with.

But this May, rice takes center stage – or plate – in Oakwood Premier Joy~Nostalg Center in Ortigas, Pasig.

Foodies can discover a “World of Rice Toppings” when they dine in the hotel until May 31. 

The special menu was especially prepared by in-hotel culinary mastermind Chef Jerome Cartailler. It’s a follow-up to the menu’s successful run last year.

Health benefits

Aside from being a food staple in dozens of countries, mostly in the Asian region, rice is also a health staple. 

Yum Asia says that rice is an excellent source of energy, low in fat and high in starchy cabrohydrate. In fact, rice is 77.5% carbohydrate. It’s also packed with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, B and potassium which helps reduce toxins in the body.

COUNTRIES REPRESENTED. From left to right, the Hawaiian, Philippine and Spanish rice delicacies prepared by Chef Jerome Cartailler

Oakwood’s “World of Rice” menu will showcase unique rice-based cuisines from more than 10 countries. 

Rice lovers will get a taste of crowd favorites like Katsudon, Paella, Creamy Mushroom Risotto, Thai Shrimp Fried Rice and more. 

One ingredient, many countries

Last April 25, I got to taste some of Chef Cartailler’s rice confections from Hawaii, Spain and the Philippines.

Hailing from Hawaii, the Pineapple and Shrimp Fried Rice topped with Glazed Ham was a blissful taste of lei-strewn beaches and ukulele melodies. The fruity-sweet pineapple bursts in your mouth like one of Hawaii’s volcanoes, boldly complementing the tangy saltiness of the shrimp. 

TROPICAL TASTES. The rice meal from Hawaii looks and tastes like a volcano of exotic flavors

Paella from Spain was up next with bits of chorizo and Bacalao croquettes. The crunchiness of the breaded croquettes brought out the incredible creaminess of the yellow rice, bringing to mind the duel between a bull’s horns and the soft red cloth of the matador.

Can you guess which rice dish represented the Philippines? Deviating from expectations, it wasn’t adobo or sinigang. 

Crab Roe and Garlic Fried Rice topped with Stuffed Crab and Kangkong Leaves waved the Philippine flag reminding diners of the Filipino’s love for seafood and vegetables.

It showcased, with flair, a well-loved flavor that has earned its place in Philippine gastronomy: the strong salty taste of binagoongan.

SWEET CONFECTION. It wasn't rice-based but the Berries Sherbet with Lime Macaron for dessert is worth a photo

Though all 3 dishes had rice as their main ingredient, they all tasted as different from each other as their countries of origin are far from each other. Which just goes to show how much variety there is in the world – or universe – of rice!

Aside from being a food trip, it was a tour guide across different cultures and a testament to the power of rice to bring them together in one plate. – Rappler.com

The ‘World of Rice’ menu is available at Oakwood Premier Joy~Nostalg Center in Ortigas, Pasig daily until May 31, 2013 from 12nn to 3pm and 6pm to 10pm.

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.