15 Aug2005

Ultimate Fried Rice???

by Marketman

I was in Singapore last weekend on a low-budget eating trip. aflied1The restaurant was billed as having the “Ultimate Fried Rice” so how could you resist that after a morning exploring Chinatown and Clarke Quay and in bad need of carbohydrates… we sat down at this second story restaurant on Clarke Quay, ordered some wonderful dishes like chicken with dried chilli peppers, beef with black pepper sauce, baby kailan with oyster sauce, sweet and sour pork and then asked the waiter what kinds of fried rice they had. Ultimate was it… they only had one kind, duhh… Marketman. So we ordered one medium sized bowl of the Ultimate and waited hungrily. When the food arrived, all looking pretty good, the smallish medium sized bowl of rice arrived and I knew this was simply not enough for a table of five people so I asked for 3 bowls of plain rice as well…

The answer – “we don’t serve plain rice, only ultimate” was already a aflied2tip-off for the rip-off that was about to come but in desperation and a desire to ensure proper carb loading (probably partially a psychotic after-effect of a week on my South Forbes Diet) I quickly ordered yet another bowl of the Ultimate Fried Rice. What bloody kind of Chinese restaurant has no plain rice? Especially when plain rice is used in making fried rice? I can honestly say this is the first time in 40+ years of eating in oriental restaurants that I have ever encountered this. So what is the Ultimate after all? It’s a bowl of fried rice made with lots of egg, scallions and green onions, peeled crab meat, a few peeled shrimp, probably some fish sauce or soy sauce and pepper. Big deal. It was good but I wouldn’t say the Ultimate. What was Ultimate was the price… the modest lunch cost over USD120!!! That’s pricey, even for Singapore. The bloody bowls of rice were probably in the neighborhood of USD20 each! For that amount, I could recreate that rice in a massive serving platter oozing with crab meat from two kilos or more of live crab! So be forewarned when anyone says they are serving the Ultimate!



  1. dodi says:

    Hi MarketMan! The rice in the picture looks more like “Overloaded Fried Rice” to me! I like my fried rice simple, just enough to compliment my “ulam”. Way back in 80’s,on frequent visits to Singapore, I ate in the night streetmarkets and the food item prices were really cheap but my friends reported that prices have been going up lately. I guess it’s happening all over the world? I just hope they have not overloaded or overpriced their Hainanese Chicken Rice as well!!

    Aug 15, 2005 | 8:46 am


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  3. acidboy says:

    i don’t know how a singaporean restaurant could ever claim to have the “ultimate” fried rice when everyone knows it can be found in the philippines! hehehehe

    anyways, though i’m not as well-travelled as you, i will recommend that if you have pangs for very good fried rice (no ultimates here!) you should try emerald garden in roxas boulevard, or try spring deer’s (timog ave, qc)salted fish fried rice.

    Aug 15, 2005 | 12:08 pm

  4. eD says:

    Sounds like the Ultimate Fly-lice rip off :). My fave Chinese fried rice is the one with the salted-fish, diced chicken. You kinda duck your head a l’il when the waiter brings the dish to your table because it leaves a trail of a somewhat fishy-smell that wafts in the air, hehe. Dyahe sa ibang customer … but man, ang sarap talaga. ‘Di na kelangan ng ulam :). ‘Am not really sure what that salted fish is. ‘Tastes like salted sardines or something but am not sure.

    A Chinese former co-worker from the Bayarea introduced me to the dish years ago and it’s become a favorite rice dish for us since then.

    The Singapore style rice noodle is also one of our fave dish … they add curry, egg white, and some spices in the rice noodles. It’s something different but definitely good, in our opinion.

    Aug 15, 2005 | 12:31 pm

  5. rose aka sunbridge says:

    Hmp. Rip-off nga! I bet my Binagoongan rice tastes better than that! =)

    Aug 15, 2005 | 2:26 pm

  6. Gigi says:

    Marketman — My brother was in Singapore recently for a business trip and he was treated in this resto called Rice Bowl (if I remember correctly). He thoroughly enjoyed the experience because they serve the food in banana leaves and pour in different types of sauces and whathaveyous. (Mala-Discovery Channel Travel and Living in India experience except this one is sanitized daw). I wish I could be more articulate but this is just passed on information. The resto is new and already there is a 2-week wait list. I’m sure you’ve tried it (or had a similar experience).


    I super love salted fish fried rice. It’s cooked using your usual daing but I think soaked in water to soften and remove excess saltiness. That right, Marketman?

    Aug 15, 2005 | 3:13 pm

  7. Marketman says:

    Gigi, I have not been to the rice restaurant you describe but it sounds good. Will have to research the salted fish rice as well but Gigi’s comment sounds right in that it is the “meaty” daings that are soaked to soften… Acidboy thanks for those restaurant recommendations!

    Aug 15, 2005 | 4:45 pm

  8. virgilio says:

    Hi Sunbridge, share naman your binagoongan rice recipe, please! My fried rice would just be plain with salt and pepper,lots of garlic and sprinkled with choppped fresh coriander leaves. Ulam: fried eggs.

    Aug 15, 2005 | 4:52 pm

  9. Bubut says:

    We tried the a chinese resto at Glorietta called Tang City and Crab restaurant and their fried rice are all great. There are lots of choices from yang chow to salted fish and many more. The medium size order is good for 5 persons.

    Aug 15, 2005 | 5:53 pm

  10. Rina says:

    re: salted fish in salted fish fried rice – there’s this product in the groceries called “fried dace” from china, comes in a yellow labelled oval can. i think that’s what they use. not sure on this one though.

    Aug 15, 2005 | 6:17 pm

  11. molly says:

    wow most of us really love salted fish fried rice! my family loves that too. the salted fish they’re supposed to use is the one from HK and comes wrapped in paper. it’s quite big but not dried “daing” style, just whole. i’m sure our own salted fish will do.
    I used to sneak some from hk when i used to visit an aunt there. the taste is really yum! it’s dry but when you fry it, it turns moist somehow. unimart used to carry a similar one that is preserved in oil and placed in a container much like a mayo jar.this was way back in the ’90s pa and cost around P200 yata before. i have not seen that since. In gaisano metro cebu, the supermarket sold salted fish much like the ones in hk but i haven’t been home much. since there is gaisano metro now in market market, they may have that too….sana! :-)

    Aug 15, 2005 | 7:14 pm

  12. Maricel says:

    I use “daing na labajita” for salted fish fried rice. I buy it at the dried fish section at the Farmers Market.

    Aug 15, 2005 | 7:44 pm

  13. ENYA says:

    Haven’t had salted fish fried rice. but way back in the ’80s there’s a quaint restaurant somewhere in Legazpi village in Makati and they had the bestEST fried rice i ever had. Didn’t have daing, but tinapa (smoked fish). Lots of it in tiny bits, with lots and lots of toasted (as in tustado sa mantika?) garlic. Then sprinkled with diced fresh tomato. Know what it was called? Whatchamacallit Fried Rice.

    I kid you not.

    It was super!

    Aug 15, 2005 | 8:34 pm

  14. Carol says:

    Clarke Quay and Boat Quay are tourist areas so you probably also paid for the ambiance. For me, the best chinese restaurant in Singapore is still Crystal Jade. Not sure if they have branches in Manila but I saw one in Jakarta the last time I visited.

    Aug 15, 2005 | 9:26 pm

  15. stef says:

    i’ve had the fried dace that rina mentions. masarap nga ‘yon for fried rice! marketman, pamatay naman ang $120 na ‘yan. baka feeling keller sila?

    Aug 16, 2005 | 2:41 am

  16. eD says:

    Gigi et al, tks for that tidbit of info on the salted fish.

    Aug 16, 2005 | 5:23 am

  17. Midge says:

    20 US bucks for a bowl of fried rice?!? Holy tokwa! For that much money, you could’ve gotten a decent meal. Nothing beats home-fried rice with salted fish, though. ^_^

    Aug 16, 2005 | 10:33 am

  18. acidboy says:

    the fish used in salted fish fried rice are usually dried fish much like our tinapa. the fried dace is an instant ulam type popular in china, like the pork leg with mushroom. golden rule in fried rice: always use day old rice at room temperature.

    looks like you’re still in singapore. try the jumbo restaurant there by the coast, and at orchard, beside the orchard hotel, there is a 7-11 and beside that 7-11 is a door that leads to a basement food court. on the opposite end, right side from the entrance is a stall manned by an old fookien lady and she serves the best fried pork chop in the planet. happy eating!

    Aug 16, 2005 | 12:12 pm

  19. Marketman says:

    Acidboy, sayang, I am back in town already. Just putting delayed posts on Singapore trip. Will keep those in mind for the next time. Thanks!

    Aug 16, 2005 | 12:14 pm

  20. Manolo Fernando says:

    Carol is right on. You just fell into first class tourist traps that is Clarke Quay and Boat Quay. Its the ambience that costs big bucks so I hope you at least enjoyed it. Look here for the inside on Sing food: http://www.makantime.com/.

    Aug 26, 2005 | 6:25 pm

  21. Marketman says:

    Thanks Manolo et al for all the great tips and links… I should have posted BEFORE I went to Singapore…

    Aug 28, 2005 | 4:09 pm


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