Photo courtesy of Earth Kitchen's official website
Rice will always have a special place in every Filipino’s heart. But nowadays, with the spur of culinary progress in Manila, some restaurants have started using healthier substitutes for white rice. While it is true that it’s a staple in Asian countries, including ours, one medical study found that white rice can increase one’s risk in having Type 2 diabetes.
Conscious eaters may be delighted with these substitutes, but they are still pretty much an unfamiliar idea to many. That being said, we narrowed down a few of the most delicious offerings in the local gastronomic scene and listed down ten dishes that utilize healthier carbs in exchange of regular white rice, like quinoa, red rice, and brown rice:
For the avid seafood eaters, Chef Anthony Raymond prepares a healthy and sophisticated feast made of tenderly cooked Chilean Seabass, mussels, prawns, and aromatic vegetables on a bed of organic Ifugao Tinwaon rice cooked with squid ink, served in a petite bouillabaisse. Grown in the Banaue Rice Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Area, organic Ifugao Tinawon is an heirloom rice variety with a rich, deep flavor and is high in fiber and iron, among other vitamins and minerals. This type of rice also supports the livelihoods of indigenous farmers in the Ifugao region.
Restaurant Verbena. G/F, Discovery Country Suites, 300 Calamba Road, San Jose, 4120 Tagaytay City. (02) 529-8172. Open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Mondays to Fridays, and 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.[email protected]. For more information, visit their website.
#2 Earth Kitchen’s Beef Kebab (P360)
Think the previous dish was too pricey and want a cheaper dish with Ifugao-grown rice as well? You’re in luck as Earth Kitchen’s Beef Kebab can cater to your curiosity. This Greek-inspired dish has three boneless beef rib skewers and a grilled vegetable skewer, along with tzatziki sauce, and organic Ifugao rice pilaf on the side. This organic rice is particularly healthy because it is free from any harmful chemicals and you are ensured that these are harvested by the locals up in the mountain province.
Earth Kitchen. Lot 10, B-10, Katipunan Avenue, White Plains, Quezon City. (0917) 584 3278. Open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit their website and Facebook page.
#3 Backyard Kitchen and Brew’s Slow Roasted Beef Belly (P325)
Staying true to its name, Backyard Kitchen and Brew aims for a potluck backyard experience. Effectively, it gives off a rustic ambiance with its wooden interiors and the farm-to-table freshness of its dishes. For those who’d like to enjoy a filling meal but with reduced carb intake, try the Slow Roasted Beef Belly—sliced beef belly with a sunny side up egg on top, drizzled with a generous amount of mushroom gravy, all on a bed of herbed barley rice.
Backyard Kitchen and Brew. 2/F UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City. (0999) 366-6921. Open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. For more information, visit their Facebook page.
#4 Crisp on the 28th’s Roasted Sambal Chicken Thighs (P385)
Setting itself apart from its sister restaurant Hatch 22, Crisp on the 28th offers gourmet healthy options (they have quinoa and falafel, for example) all in generous servings. Most of the menu items are oriental but with a twist. For a spicy carb dish, try the Roasted Sambal Chicken Thighs paired with dirty brown rice. Brown rice has more nutritional value compared to white rice as only the outermost layer of a rice kernel, called the hull, is removed in the process which makes it more fiberous and lowers cholesterol levels. Meanwhile, the roasted chicken is drenched in feisty sambal sauce and is also served with slices of sweet pickled cucumber and okra on the side.
Crisp on the 28th. G/F Alveo Corporate Center, 28th Street near 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.(0917) 584-6883.Open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, visit their Facebook page.
#5 Your Local’s Lamb Rendang (P530)
Your Local brings international flavors closer to us locals. It has a meticulous fusion menu, mainly consisting of Malaysian, Singaporean, and Japanese cuisines. Their toned-down, minimalist interiors make the restaurant great for date night, as do their well-garnished dishes and brimming flavors.Their Lamb Rendang uses a sophisticated technique called sous vide in cooking their organic egg, and the lamb itself is seasoned with sweet soy, mint, and cilantro. It is served with a red raisin black rice. Considered as “the forbidden rice” because of its antioxidants, black rice can help prevent diseases like diabetes and cancer, while helping with weight management.
Your Local. G/F Universal LMS Building, 106 Esteban Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City. (0917) 654-3355.Open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. from Mondays toSaturdays, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, visit their Facebook page.
#6 Fireside by Kettle’s Grilled Halibut (P399)
For those who are craving some comfort food, Fireside by Kettle has the menu you are looking for, served in a more sophisticated manner. The dishes are heavy on Asian influences and are garnished with finesse. It is even dubbed the more “mature” bistro, in comparison to its pioneer restaurant, Kettle. But comfort food can be healthy, too, and it is proven with their Grilled Halibut—chargrilled halibut fish with bacon vinaigrette and a quinoa salad underneath. Quinoa is usually consumed the same way as wheat and oats and it is well-known for being a good source of protein, along with its overall nutrient density.
Fireside by Kettle. 3/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City. (02) 532-1807. Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit their Facebook page.
#7 Kitchen 1B’s Lamb Curry (P690)
Kitchen 1B is the more wholesome alternative of Apartment 1B. It is a steadfast organic restaurant which opts to use “powerful ingredients,” and superfoods. Flavors and presentation are not compromised just because of their consciousness to serve nutrient-packed dishes. And one of their most popular and unique dishes is their Lamb Curry. This dish is made from Australian lamb, Basmati rice, tomato salsa, fried sweet plantain, and papadum. Basmati rice is gluten and cholesterol-free and low in fat and sodium. It is also a great moderator of energy-release in one’s body because of its low to medium glycemic index.
Kitchen 1B. G/F KL Tower, 117 Gamboa Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City. (02)403-5405. Open from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, visit their Facebook page.
#8 Edgy Veggy’s Korean Rice Meal (P240)
Still can’t get enough of brown rice? How about some tofu on the side? Edgy Veggy‘s Korean Rice Meal has both on one plate as they pan-sear the tofu in applesauce and top it with a mushroom bulgogi, and spicy bibimbap-style brown rice. This dish will definitely make your tastebuds dance with all the sweet and spicy flavors from each bite. Plus, tofu also gives you more healthy points as it is low in calories and rich in iron, protein, and calcium.
Edgy Veggy. #3 Brixton Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City. (02) 584-9080. Open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, visit their website and Facebook page.
#9 Corner Tree Café’s Veg Bibimbap (P320)
Inside this relatively small restaurant in Makati, you can find another take on the famous bibimbap which vegetarians and non-vegetarians will enjoy. Corner Tree Café‘s Veg Bibimbap uses red rice, and tops it off with shiitake mushrooms, bean sprouts, spinach, carrots, zucchini, and an egg. The red rice adds a nutty flavor to the dish, and it also contains fiber, vitamins B1 and B2, iron, and calcium, and it’s also recommended for diabetics.
Corner Tree Café. 150 Jupiter Street, Makati City. (02) 897-0295. Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit their website.
#10 The Wholesome Table’s Enlightened Bowl (P450)
The Wholesome Table‘s Enlightened Bowl contains black rice partnered with agedashi tofu, mixed seeds, edamame beans, shiitake mushrooms, cucumber, pickled onion, and teriyaki sauce. Eaten all together, this dish is a vegan-friendly take on your favorite Japanese rice bowls.
The Wholesome Table. 30th Street corner 7th Avenue, Bonifacio High Street Central, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. (02) 867-000, (02) 621-4111. Open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, visit their website and Facebook page.