Nothing’s more comforting than having a bowl of fluffy, steamed white rice and some dishes to go with. But if you’re into eating healthier this year, it’s best to swap out that out with healthier grain alternatives.
These grains may be a little too nutty for your liking at first but trust me, it can taste delicious too once you’ve gotten used to it. Here’s a list of white rice alternatives to kickstart your healthy lifestyle, you can thank us later.
1. Brown Rice Sushi (SunnyChoice)
Can sushi really be called sushi without the sticky sushi rice? Sunnychoice seems to think so by substituting Japanese rice with brown rice.
The Brown Rice Sushi ($7) is served in an eight-piece set, it’s just as filling as regular sushi, and healthier. Bonus: it’s completely meatless, so it’s an alternative for all you vegans out there who want to eat clean but still love sushi.
This healthy alternative comes stuffed chockful of vegetables and each bite comes with a satisfying crunch. Filling but not to the point of being bloated, this is one white rice alternative that you can enjoy, guilt-free.
SunnyChoice: Blk 630 Bukit Batok Central #01-154, Singapore 650630 | Various outlets | Opening Hours: 10.30am – 9.00pm daily (Bukit Batok and Rail Mall) | Opening Hours: 10.00am – 3.00pm, Mon – Sat (Bukit Merah Lane) | Website
2. Brown Rice Lei Cha (Thunder Tea Rice Pte Ltd)
Thunder Tea Rice, or lei cha, is a Hakka dish that promises health benefits. Up your health game by getting the Brown Rice Lei Cha ($5.50) from Thunder Tea Rice Pte Ltd at Lau Pa Sat.
Served with the traditional lei cha soup on the side, this dish is big on flavour. If you’re a fan of lei cha, check out this list for more spots to get this traditional Hakka dish.
This stall is conveniently located in Lau Pa Sat, which is great news for white-collar workers who want to eat healthily. Plus, it’s much cheaper than the usual healthy food that you find in the Central Business District (CBD).
Thunder Tea Rice Pte Ltd: Lau Pa Sat Stall 31, 18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582 | Tel: +65 6220 2028 | Opening Hours: 9am – 9pm
3. Lontong Set With Brown Rice (Qiji)
If we’re talking about guilty pleasures, lontong is probably one of mine. The dense rice cakes taste so good, but it’s just carb-loaded. At Qiji, you can get a slightly healthier version with the Lontong Set With Brown Rice ($4.50).
Rice cakes made from brown rice swim in the fragrant mixed vegetable curry, accompanied by a hard-boiled egg and firm tau kwa, and served with a scoop of sambal chilli.
I loved the texture of the brown rice. Sticky, fluffy, and slightly husky, it provided a new dimension of texture to the mostly mushy white rice version.
Be sure not to leave your rice cakes in the soup for too long, because it will start to disintegrate pretty quickly.
4. Salmon Sashimi with Brown Rice (Salmon Samurai)
At Salmon Samurai, get the Salmon Sashimi with Brown Rice ($9.90) for a healthy meal that will leave you wanting for more.
With a house blend of ume-yuzu Furikake in their brown rice, you definitely won’t find this dish boring. For some healthy fats to go along with your carbs and proteins, you can add a Half Avocado ($1) for that creamy goodness.
Salmon Samurai: 100 Tras Street 03-22 100AM Mall, Singapore 079027 | Opening Hours: 11am – 8pm (Mon to Fri), 12pm – 6pm (Sat & Sun) | Tel: +65 6543 6823 | Website
5. Salmon Avocado Tartare Rice Bowl with Mixed Grain Rice (Koji Sushi Bar)
For another raw fish and brown rice combo, the Salmon Avocado Tartare Rice Bowl ($19) from Koji Sushi Bar also comes with the option of mixed grains instead of white rice.
Add-on $1 to enjoy this healthier variant that contains 12 different mixed grains. Not too husky nor dry, the mixed grain rice had quite a chewy texture, which good contrast to the rest of the bowl.
With thickly cut salmon and creamy avocado, this rice bowl will surely perk up your dreary workdays. I liked how the salmon slices were nicely marbled. Not too fatty but still quite soft, each slice was so smooth, it just slid down my throat. Likewise, the scoops of avocado were creamy yet light on the palate.
6. Fried Mix Grain Rice In Hot Stone Pot (Crystal Jade: La Mian Xiao Long Bao)
If you’ve always loved stone pot rice, but worry about its greasiness, you’ll absolutely adore Crystal Jade’s spin on the traditional favourite. The Fried Mix Grain Rice in Hot Stone Pot ($13.90) can be enjoyed on its own, or together with other meat and vegetable dishes.
The fried rice is cooked with corn, peanuts and ikan bilis, all of which added savoury and sweet flavour. Even though it’s listed as a single portion, it’s actually enough for two people to share.
The harder texture of the mixed grain rice was actually a plus point, because it added a crispy bite to the fried rice. Unfortunately, there weren’t any of the “pot-bottom” crispy rice bits.
7. Chicken Donburi (Wafuken)
Try Wafuken’s Chicken Donburi ($8 for half-breast, $10 for full-breast), which comes with the option of Furikake Japanese brown rice.
Served with onsen egg, daikon and cucumber pickles, the donburi option is perfect for a fuss-free yet healthy meal. I loved how they were super generous with the chicken pieces.
Wafuken solved the problem of dry brown rice with a simple solution: mixing the gooey onsen egg into the rice made a delicious blend of flavours and creaminess.
The chicken breast was no let-down either. Lightly grilled, the chicken was juicy and soft, yet firm enough to sink my teeth into. I chose garlic soy sauce to go along with my rice bowl, which added fragrant and sweet flavours to the dish.
Wafuken: 12 Marina View, Asia Square Tower 2, #02-05, Singapore 018961 | Opening Hours: 11am – 8pm (Mon – Fri) | 6A Shenton Way, OUE Downtown Gallery #02-23, Singapore 068815 | Opening Hours: 11am – 8pm (Mon – Fri), 11am – 3pm (Sat) | Website
8. Burrito Bowl with Brown Rice (Guzman y Gomez)
Who knew you could get brown rice in Mexican food too? Opt for a healthier carb at Guzman y Gomez when you add brown rice instead of white in the Burrito Bowl ($10.90).
My Burrito Bowl came up to $13.90, because I added $1 for more brown rice. And of course, I had to top up $2 for the guacamole, because a Mexican meal is never complete without a scoop of creamy avocado.
Served with corn chips on the side, this burrito bowl was an explosion of flavours. From the juicy chicken pieces to the mushy black beans, and fragrant rice, this was definitely a satisfying meal.
9. Baked Brown Rice (Real Food)
Another charge often levelled at brown rice dishes is that they tend to taste bland. Well, try the Baked Brown Rice ($14.80) from Real Food for a different kind of brown rice experience. Who knew vegetarian meals could taste so good?
This dish came in a steaming hot stone pot with bubbling cheese. Savoury and full of milky flavour, the baked mozzarella cheese was crispy around the edges.
The rice came with cashew nuts, which added a delicious bit of crunch. I also enjoyed the slightly earthy taste of the juicy mushrooms, and the refreshing flavour of the alfalfa sprouts.
If you’re on the fence about brown rice, this could be the dish to change your mind. Afterall, baked cheese dishes are always welcome.
10. Crispy Brown Rice Risotto (Eight Café & Bar)
An exciting spin on the regular creamy risotto, the Roast Pork Brown Rice Risotto from Eight Café & Bar proves that brown rice dishes can be out-of-this-world.
Part of their Two-Course Dinner Set ($24.80), it also comes with a choice of soup or salad as the starter. I chose the Pumpkin Soup, which turned out to be a good choice.
The main star was, of course, the risotto. Served with a light but creamy white sauce, there were also crunchy bits of brown rice, crisped to “pot-bottom” perfection.
For naysayers of brown rice out there, Eight Café & Bar shows you how brown rice can be incorporated into a dish and still taste good.