Why is a meal at Fat Rice different from all other meals? Because none of your other meals probably involve a specialty from Macau. And no, that doesn’t mean Fat Rice is an over-the-top gambling scene, although that would be cool too. Instead, Macanese food is a combo of Portuguese and Chinese flavors, and it’s as different and exciting as catching a 5 of diamonds on a Blackjack hand when you’re sitting on a hard 16.
The Macanese food we’re so high on here is the actual namesake Fat Rice dish. It’s delicious, interesting, and slightly overwhelming all at once. Imagine a form of Portuguese bibimbap or paella - rice continues cooking and crisps up in a stone bowl as it overflows with two types of sausage, salted duck, Portuguese chicken thighs, pork, prawns, clams, and tea eggs. Eating this thing is like a scuba diving through a sea of exotic animals. You like scuba, Reuben?
Aside from the must order Fat Rice, a number of other dishes deliver in the unique and tasty department too. The braised sweet and sour pork belly is fantastic, and basics like pork and shrimp pot stickers help you get comfortable.
Fat Rice manages to do it all in a down to earth Logan Square environment, but not in an over the top Logan Square’y type way. It’s the result of a dimly lit restaurant with a mixed crowd, limited tables (some of which are communal), and a wide-open kitchen that you can easily view from the small bar. Bar seats are great for parties of two, but having four to six people allows you to experiment with more food. Don’t come with more than six though, because at Fat Rice it’s not allowed.
Limited seating also means wait times are the norm. Luckily, Fat Rice has a small space tucked away through a separate entrance where you can order bar snacks and drinks. It’s kind of weird, like a holding pen. And while not exactly comfortable, it strangely works.
Fat Rice as a whole also works, and we are definitely doubling down.
A nice complimentary snack. Nicely roasted carrots with a distinct lemony twist.
Crab flavored shrimp chips. Light, airy, and bland, which is the point. Some spicy ketchup adds some flare. Available only in the holding pen.
Banana Spring Rolls
We’ve never seen banana spring rolls not in dessert form. These were sweet, but in a savory appetizer kind of way. Worth a bite.
A mix of pork and shrimp, which is a good mix in our book. They all come intertwined in one crispy edible sheet. True potsticker art.
A side of seasonal greens, including some green papaya and a mushroom mackeral chutney. A little bitter, but good roasted flavor.
Porco Balichang Tamarind O
Braised sweet and sour pork belly with tamarind, pineapple, and pressed rice. We had no clue what to expect with this dish, and we were pleasantly surprised. The pork belly melts like butter, and mixing the sweet and sour sauce with crispy rice and pineapple just works.
Arroz Gordo (Fat Rice)
The Big Kahuna here, and something you should 100% order if bothering to come. Jasmine rice with sofrito, Chinese sausage, salted duck, Portuguese chicken thighs, pork, linguica sausage, prawns, and tea eggs. The pork and chicken are our favorites if we had to pick two, but don’t overlook how good the rice is once you finally get to it.