Fruit on rice may seem an odd combination, but for some Vietnamese and Thais, it’s a complete meal (with fish sauce, salt or sugar, of course).
While many are familiar with mango on sticky rice, other fruit pairings come across as a little outside the box. They include bananas, avocados and yes, even watermelons. Many fans of this particular pairing swear by watermelon’s cooling effects, ideal for when the mercury rises. There’s even watermelon rice vermicelli, created by Ho Chi Minh City-based Duy Anh Foods to make use of surplus fruit.
Filipinos love rice. They also love chocolate, and at some point in the past, they combined the two to come up with champorado. Believe it or not, this chocolate rice porridge is a breakfast staple in the Philippines.
Made with glutinous rice and tabliya (traditional tablets of dark chocolate), this treat – typically topped with swirls of evaporated milk and served with tuyo (salted fish) – is a popular way to start the day.
The dish was derived from Mexican champurrado, a chocolate-based atole that uses corn dough or flour, which was introduced by the Spanish. The piping hot porridge is also served on rainy days when you just need something to warm yourself up.
Another fruit, no less the King of Fruits – durian. Durian is often treated like the ultimate creamy ingredient, as evidenced by the scores of durian cakes, puffs and even nuggets on the market.
But pairing it with rice remains an oddity, except among devotees of the pungent fruit in Malaysia and Indonesia, who sometimes add sambal chilli paste for that extra kick.
What list of weird food combinations would be complete without boba? Since exploding on to the world stage in the 1990s, boba has appeared in everything from pizzas to ramen. And now rice too, it seems.
An (overly) intrepid reporter for Japanese news portal SoraNews24 is to blame what is yet another boba abomination. After bubble tea finally hit the big time in Japan in 2019, the mononymous Mr Sato decided to make a sweet milk tea version of ochazuke or Japanese tea rice.
The rice, cooked in a rice cooker using bubble tea instead of water, turned out surprisingly well – if Mr Sato is to be believed.
The final entry on this list isn’t so much one particular ingredient as it is about an entire class of food – noodles. Whether it’s instant noodles, egg noodles or spaghetti, this mash-up is the go-to for those keen on carb-loading.
While the Japanese and Koreans do add white rice to sop up ramen and ramyeon broth, in countries like Indonesia and the Philippines, the two coexist on the same plate. From roadside waroeng (stalls) selling nasi goreng mawut to pancit Canton (chow mein) served with rice, this pairing is a hit among the two most populous nations in Southeast Asia.