What To Eat: Popular Rice Dishes Around The World
Rice is one of the most popular and versatile ingredients in the world. An abundant crop that originated in Asia, it has slowly found its way to the other parts of the planet, paving way to a multitude of dishes that are impeccably delicious and mouthwatering in their own unique ways.
1/11 Yangzhou Fried Rice (China)
China is home to some of the best fried rice dishes — one of which is the Yangzhou Fried Rice or most commonly known as Yangchow Fried Rice. Yangchow is not only popular in China but in other countries as well, becoming a huge Chinese takeout staple abroad.
Authentic yangchow must include: eggs, carrot, green peas, pork, shrimp, and scallion.
2/11 Bibimbap (Korea)
Bibimbap is one of the most popular rice dishes in Korea. It is a bowl of rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) or kimchi (traditional fermented vegetables), gochujang (a popular Korean chili paste), and soy sauce. It is served steaming hot with a raw or fried egg on top.
Bibimbap is fairly a young recipe that is inspired from Goldongban, a popular Korean dish from 14th to 16th centuries. Goldongban was considered as a form of ritual wherein people would combine all of what is left in their pantries at the year's end in a large bowl and would have is as a feast.
3/11 Sushi (Japan)
Sushi is widely popular among many countries, and we have Japan to thank for it. The concept of sushi is actually believed to originate from China, and was a form of fermentation process to preserve fishes. Pickled rice and fish are kept in a barrel for long periods of time. The process involves rubbing of the salt all over the fish and then stuffing it with rice. Once the fish has fermented, which takes roughly about a year, the salt is removed and discarded as well as the rice stuffing.
After centuries had passed, Japanese fishermen started to ferment the fish and rice for shorter periods time (within weeks) and enjoyed consuming it in its entirety.
Now, sushi rice is commonly prepared by adding vinegar to the grain to mimic the fermentation process. Meanwhile, fishes and other seafood that are incorporated in the dish are commonly fresh and oftentimes raw, although some traditional Japanese restaurants still use fermented fish as their offerings.
4/11 Biryani (India)
Biryani is a one-dish meal that is incredibly popular in India. Biriyani came from the Persian word "birinj biriyan" which means fried rice. It is made with Basmati rice, various Indian spices, yogurt, meat, vegetables, and sometimes eggs. The long-grain Basmati rice is perfect as it is the least sticky among other rice grains.
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5/11 Nasi Goreng (Indonesia)
Nasi Goreng is widely popular in Indonesian households. It translates to "fried rice" and is prepared using rice, kecap manis (Indonesian soy sauce), belacan or terasi (shrimp paste), shallots, and garlic. Other recipes also call for meats such as chicken, beef, and prawn.
6/11 Tahdig (Iran)
Tahdig, is derived from Persian words "tah" and "dig" which means "bottom" and "pot". Tahdig is an Iranian specialty wherein the rice is left to cook until brown and crispy. One method that is commonly used to create tahdig is by boiling the rice until half cooked and then adding extra fat or oil in the bottom of the pot and then letting it steam for a couple of minutes. Other recipes call for placing a flat lavash bread or laying down thinly sliced potatoes in between the rice and the pot to achieve clean and easy removal. Yogurt, curry spices, and saffron are also often added to the rice for flavour.
7/11 Risotto (Italy)
Risotto is a well-loved dish all over the world. It is believed to originate from the rich lands of Lombardy region, and soon grew popularity in Milan. It is a slow-cooked rice dish usually made with stock, butter, onions, white wine, and Parmesan. One of its most popular forms — the risotto alla Milanese, is cooked with saffron to add colour. Italians adore this dish so much that they have launched the annual Festa Nazionale Del Risotto Italiano (National Festival Of Italian Risotto) wherein dozens of chefs come together to present hundreds of dishes focusing on rice.
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8/11 Sapin-Sapin (Philippines)
There is no denying that Filipinos adore rice: so much so that we have countless dishes that use rice as the main ingredient. One of the most popular among provinces and even in the metro is the colourful sapin-sapin. According to Doreen Fernandez, author of "Tikim: On Philippine Food and Culture", sapin-sapin and suman have arguably strong indigenous roots, as provinces have many variants of this dessert.
Sapin-sapin, as its name suggests, is a layered rice snack that is made with rice flour, coconut milk, and sugar. Food colouring is added to each layer to distinguish each of its flavours such as ube, coconut, and jackfruit. It is topped with latik, a sweet mixture of caramelised coconut flakes.
9/11 Paella (Spain)
An incredibly hearty dish, paella is widely popular in Spain, especially in Valencia region where it originated. Paella is named after the the traditional wide mouthed, shallow pan that is used to create the rice dish. Paella Valenciana usually consists of round grain rice, garlic, saffron, bajoqueta and tavella (varieties of green beans), rabbit, chicken, and sometimes duck or snails.
Due to its popularity and versatile nature, there are now multiple versions of paellas from Paella Marinara, Paella Negra, Paella Mixto, and vegan Paella.
10/11 Lu Rou Fan (Taiwan)
A staple in Taiwanese cuisine, Lu Rou Fan is a rice bowl that is topped with heavenly braised or minced pork. The topping is usually made with minced pork belly and sometimes pork neck. The meat is fried to perfection and is then sautéed with soya sauce, sugar, stock, rice wine, pepper, and deep-fried shallots. It is served sitting atop a steaming bowl of rice.
11/11 Xoi Ngu Sac (Vietnam)
Xoi Ngu Sac is a five-colored rice dish from Vietnam. It is a very interesting and festive dish that is both sweet and savoury. Unlike other dishes, Xoi Ngu Sac gets its vibrant colours from fresh extracts of leaves and fruits — purple from magenta plant leaf, green from pandan leaf, red from gấc fruit, yellow from mung beans, and white from the glutinous rice.