Three weeks ago, I would have snap-bought a shirt with print like above in a heartbeat. Be it the vehicle for Spam and kimchi fried rice, the front act for an Italian feast in Arancini, or the star of the show in Paella Negra, rice is and always will be what I consider to be my first love.
But today, seventeen days after breaking up with rice (sushi is an exception I made, because if rice is life, sushi is lifer), I am finding it in myself to start moving on. Wheat bread, vegetables, and soy milk take turns trying to fill the void in my heart left by God’s greatest culinary gift to mankind.
It is getting easier nowadays, but as is the norm in every breakup, this situation has me taking two steps forward then one step back. Every now and then, I see an items on the menu or come across pictures of food that have me begging for rice to take me back. These are five foods I can no longer eat (AND MISS SO SO MUCH) since quitting rice.
This is all the fault of one of my favorite anime of all time, Cooking Master Boy. Apologies to those that aren’t familiar with the show, but even at low resolution, you can see how confident Mao is in serving that dish!
It’s because even at Luk Foo or North Park (where the chefs are probably not traveling the world in search of other chefs to battle to the death), this spicy pork and tofu dish is just super effective at ensuring you eat more rice than necessary!
My go-to breakfast food is Tapsilog (tapa-sinangag-itlog). For the non-Tagalog speakers out there, tapa is basically any type of beef, usually sirloin or striploin, marinated in a blend of soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, pepper, and a little brown sugar, then pan fried and served with fried rice and a sunny-side-up egg.
The description alone is justification that this threesome is one that should never ever ever ever be broken up.
Fun fact: Tapsilog was the inspiration of Lauv when they wrote the lyrics “I like me better when I’m with you”. Just kidding.
Honestly, eating any kind of stew without rice is a sacrifice that no one should be forced to make. But Korean Beef Stew really strikes a nerve because it is one of the dishes I associate with my (extremely obese) childhood. Done well, the beef short ribs fall apart with a mere glance, while the sauce will always seem like too much until you discover how amazing it is enveloping one cup too many of steaming white rice.
Tripe, oxtail, beef stew meat, and pork hocks stewed in a thick peanut sauce toeing the line between sweet and savory, usually served with an assortment of vegetables and with shrimp paste as a condiment, Kare-kare is something I will never eat until rice and I get back together. There is too much going on in terms of flavor that not having anything to keep it all in check is a tough task for any person, much less a rice afficionado like me.
And finally, we have come to the last.
There are many different levels of pain — getting pinched is mildly annoying but goes away after a while, stubbing your toe is pretty aggravating but can be made better by a little scream, while getting kicked in the ***** was pretty much something I considered to be the end boss in the hierarchy of pain.
But that all changed when I was staring at a Japanese restaurant menu in the face and couldn’t order my beloved Katsudon because of the unassuming white grains of pleasure that lay beneath the glistening pork.
Now THAT was pain.
So there you have it! I’m guessing the best bet is to just stay away from these dishes as much as possible, because there is nothing quite like having to say no to something that was once an integral part of my life (and probably still circulating in my bloodstream).
If you have any tips on how to cope, or would just like to add fuel to the fire by adding other food that is a shell of its former self without rice by its side, feel free to share in the comment section below!
Thanks for reading!