A taste of the Philippines: eating at Rice Terraces

Rice Terraces on St Leonard Street is an unobtrusive little place, tucked away amongst the other restaurants and bars. It may be little, but the offerings are out of this world! The staff are always friendly and happy to help, to explain any dishes you might want to know more about and it truly feels like you are getting a different taste of home cooking.

What amazed me the first time we visited the place was how similar some of the dishes are to Chinese home cooking. As a country that was previously occupied by the Spanish, it is evident food from the Philippines bring together a truly East-West fusion. My previous post with the recipe for polvoróns are influenced by the original Spanish recipe for polvorones. For decently priced dishes, they really are very filling and gentle on the wallet.

We’ve visited the establishment so many times for various occasions that I can’t even count the number on my two hands. We’ve ordered different dishes every time and with my hand on my heart, I can say that they never disappoint when it comes to the quality of food served. My compliments to the chef!

This time we decided to bring our friends to experience for themselves how great simple Filipino home cooking can be. For starters, I got the calamares fritos or calamari which has nice and light batter that doesn’t feel too greasy. The OH got the ukoy – a fritter pancake of bean sprouts and squash served with vinegar and soy sauce


Calamares Fritos


Ukoy

For the main course, the OH and I decided to try the specials. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the dish I ordered, but it’s basically roast pork with a crispy skin that tastes so much like Chinese roast pork that I couldn’t help but think of Chinese home cooking. I haven’t had this in at least 6 years so you can imagine how I was in food heaven that night. The OH got adobong pusit which is a squid dish cooked in vinegar, garlic and soy sauce while the other two had sinigang na bangus (Filipino milkfish in a tamarind broth with vegetables) and ginisang gulay (mixed vegetables with hot peppers and spices). The dishes are best eaten with boiled rice or their Filipino speciality, bamboo rice which incidently is served in a stick of bamboo


(L to R) Ginisang gulay and adobong pusit


(L to R) Sinigang na bangus and my roast pork dish

My favourite way of determining whether a place is worth its salt is through their dessert. This is one course I never skip at Rice Terraces, only because they serve the absolute best ice cream: pandan ice cream. The leaves of the pandanus amaryllifolius are widely used in South East Asian cuisines and although are quite rare in the wild and outside of the continent, this is widely cultivated. It has a distinct nutty flavour that reminds me of a particularly familiar flavour that I can never place. I’ve had pandan ice cream there at least 5 times now.


Our assortment of pandan, mango and coconut ice cream

If you’re adventurous and like a refreshing dessert that reminds you of the South East Asian humid and hot weather, have a taste of the halo halo, a Filipino sundae of sorts with sweet tropical fruits and shaved ice topped with ube (also known as taro or purple yam) ice cream:

Rice Terraces is definitely one of those places that I definitely do not mind going again. And again. And again. I’ll always be trying to decide what the next dish I’m going to try is.

Have you been to Rice Terraces? What was your experience like and your thoughts of the place?

More interestingly, have you tried pandan ice cream? What does the flavour remind you of?

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