What, No Rice?: Side Dishes for the Student Abroad | Edukasyon.ph
Study Abroad

What, No Rice?: Side Dishes for the Student Abroad

They say that studying in a different country is the best opportunity to discover new and exciting things to try outside your comfort zone, and food is no exemption. If you happen to be studying in a Western country like the U.S., you’ve probably already noticed by now that *gasp* there’s no rice to be found!

Before you panic, though, you should know that there are plenty of equally-filling and even tasty side dish options to eat solo or pair with your ulam (Perfect opportunity to ask new friends for recommendations, too!)

So before you Google the nearest Asian resto to order sushi, how about taking a chance first on these scrumptious sides?



  • Pasta – Step away from the instant noodles!


Care for a side of penne, macaroni, or linguini? While it isn’t the same as the sweet spaghetti with hotdogs that you’re probably craving for, pasta dishes (whether it’s a fancy pesto with olives or baked mac n’ cheese) are a good choice for those days when you have a bit more time to cook or maybe even want to share with friends

Cooking tip: Save some of the water you used to cook your pasta in for the sauce you’ll make. By adding it to the sauce, the overall taste becomes richer and the starchiness helps bring a split sauce back together.



  • Salad – It’s always a good idea to add fresh greens to your meal, especially when you’re in a country that goes big on junk food. If you aren’t too sure about making it yourself, you can stock up on plenty of ready-made, packaged ones (or salad wraps) to choose from in your local grocery store. Salads can also turn out real tasty and colorful depending on your choice of vegetables and meat to mix it in.


Cooking tip: Leafy vegetables don’t always have to be the main attraction of a salad. Nuts, grains, and even bread can be tossed in for added texture, color and flavor. Don’t forget the dressing!



  • Potatoes – Fried, boiled, mashed –you name it! It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love potatoes, and now’s the perfect excuse to couple its different varieties with a meaty dish of your choice.


Cooking tip: Don’t freeze cooked potatoes! Because a potato 80% water, its nutrients separates from the starch upon freezing.



  • Bread – This is probably the most convenient side dish option unless you’ll be baking it yourself or adding other toppings before placing it in a toaster. While sandwiches are rarely considered in Filipino culture to be a full meal, bread can be just as filling with the right amount and choice of meats, cheeses and veggies.


Tip: When stacking your sandwich filling, make sure to separate high-moisture ingredients like cucumbers, tomatoes, and pickles separately. That way, they won’t slip so easily when bitten. Best to add them after the sandwich has already been toasted, too.



  • Corn and other grains – Instead of your usual silog in the morning, try having a bowl of oatmeal with fruit and yoghurt. Grains not only help ease digestion, but they also make you full faster. A meal can be likewise coupled with buttered corn (yum!), carrots and peas.


Tip: For a healthy baon option, try bringing your own granola mix to class by mixing some whole oats, raisins, dried fruit, and honey (The store-bought ones are usually high in sugar!)

Eager to read more Study Abroad advice so you can make the most of your experience? Or maybe you’re still looking for a school to apply to? Read up on Study Abroad tips and guides right here at Edukasyon.ph.