Jul 15 2021. views 75
It goes without saying that rice is the staple food in Sri Lanka. But did you know that countless other countries across the world have their own take on rice? I didn’t know this, and seeing the colourful presentation of 8 different rice-based dishes as I sat at Graze Kitchen at the Hilton, blew my mind! Each dish was so different from the typical rice and curry that we have here in Sri Lanka that I didn’t even feel that it was rice that I was eating. I was excited to take this educational culinary journey through the “Rice of the World” and I was left fascinated, happy and extremely full at the end of it.
I had 8 dishes in total, each from a different part of the world. The portion size is meant to serve either 2 or 4 people so make sure to tag along with that special someone or even your whole family when you go there. I got a mini version of all the dishes and the portions which were still pretty large so I can only imagine what the actual portion sizes are like.
The “Paella Valencia” (Rs. 6,388 - Serves 4) from Spain was what I kicked things off with. Although it’s up for debate, this is more or less Spain’s national dish. Originally a meat-based dish, it’s more renowned today as a seafood dish. The Hilton however gives you the best of both worlds. Chicken, prawns, squid and chorizo sausage piled on top of sticky yellow rice made for mouthwatering seafood, meaty delight! It was complemented by a garlic “Roast Paan” on the side which I must say, although unusual, tasted amazing. This was easily my favourite dish and I highly recommend you try it out!
Moving on I had the “Bibimbap” (Rs. 2,088 - Serves 2) from Korea. Most of the other dishes I tried had very sticky or mushy rice, but this was a more dry Basmati Rice, much like what we have here in Sri Lanka. There was so much going on here in terms of flavour that it would take forever to describe it. You get two types of protein which is a fried egg and Sauteed beef. The beef was so juicy, tender and so full of flavour that I would have been happy to keep eating it all day! There were mushrooms, spinach, carrots and many other sides that just ramped up the overall flavour of this dish. If you’re here with your significant other then I say, go for this!
Next up was “Plov” (Rs. 5,588 - Serves 4) from Uzbekistan. For some reason I was super fascinated by the name “Plov”, it sounded very powerful. I wasn’t too surprised when I found out that this dish was invented by “Alexander the Great”, who made this dish for his troops. Cooked with corn rice, soft cooked, juicy mutton, chickpeas and topped off with Dill curd, it made for a nutritious, filling dish that would have been the perfect meal for any army marching towards victory. If I was fed this before going to war, rest assured I would pulverise my enemies. No wonder Alexander was Great!
The “Mansaf” (Rs, 2088 - Serves 2) from Jordan was another fabulous dish! Mushy yellow rice, Chicken and clarified butter made the base of this dish and it was a delicious, exotic flavoured dish. The butter added a creamy texture to the rice and paired up with naan it made for a very filling dish.
The Indonesian “Nasi Goreng Kemangi” (Rs. 2,588 - Serves 2) is perfect if you’re a chicken satay lover like I am. I’m a huge fan of the peanut butter coated grilled chicken and The Hilton had made this to perfection. Based on Indonesian fried rice and partnered up with a deep-fried egg, veggies, chicken satay and prawn crackers, this is a supremely elevated version of fried rice that will blow your taste buds with flavour!
As with any dish found in South Asia the “Chicken Korma Biriyani” (Rs. 2,288 - Serves 2) was brimming with aromatic spices! Red Tandoori rice paired up with Chicken Korma made for a very spicy and slightly tangy flavour with a buttery wet consistency throughout. They had added a few dates on the side to give off a sweet flavour, just when you need it the most.
If you’re a vegetarian, “Jollof” (Rs. 1,288 - Serves 2) is the dish for you. Predominantly found in the Ghana or Nigerian regions this is a staple in the West African region. The rice had absorbed the spicy, exotic flavours of the red capsicum, onion, zucchini and other condiments which made it delicious to eat without any additional curries. What I loved the most was the stuffed green capsicum, which for me (being the carnivore that I am) made up for the absence of meat!
The final dish, the East African “Sukumawiki” (Rs. 3,188 - Serves 2) was the Cherry on the cake. Sukumawiki is a type of Kenyan Collard Green, which when combined with brown rice and minced beef makes for a yummy dish. It had a very earthy, spicy, meat flavour and each bite had an abundance of minced beef. The tomatoes on top added a much needed sweet, refreshing flavour to this spicy dish.
Now I know what you must be thinking. “Did he finish all 8 dishes by himself?” The answer is NO, no I didn’t. Even with another person helping me I still couldn’t finish it all (although I tried). I can honestly say I had the equivalent of about 4 full plates of rice, half from each bowl. That piled on top of the two Chocolate Milkshakes I decided to have was enough to keep me full for at least 2 whole days! What I’m trying to say is, don’t worry about the portion sizes, they are MASSIVE!
It doesn’t matter if you are craving this or not. It is a journey that you HAVE to experience! So jump out of your comfort zone and try out the “Rice of the World’’ right now! You can thank me later!
Stars 4.5 / 5