Arroz Caldo Bar with Chef Eric P. & Feastly

We had the pleasure of experiencing another wonderful meal hosted by Chef Eric P. through Feastly. This time we tried the Arroz Caldo Bar. Arroz caldo is a Filipino rice porridge with chicken that is similar to Chinese congee. It is warm and filling which makes it a perfect comfort food for the chilly winter weather.

We went on a Friday night at 6pm. The location was in The Mission in an unassuming building that seems to double as an apartment complex and office/venue space. The room looked like a loft style apartment with high ceilings and hard wood floors. The table setting was clean and simple with mason jars for cups and large Straus milk glasses turned water pitchers. A bowl of peanuts topped with green onions satiated my appetite for a bit while I waited for the event to start.

Arroz Caldo Bar venue with Chef Eric in the kitchen.
Arroz Caldo Bar venue with Chef Eric in the kitchen.

Bowl of Peanuts
Bowl of Peanuts

There were a few late comers due to Friday night traffic in and out of the city so the meal started about half an hour later. Once everyone was settled, Chef Eric gave a brief introduction about his Filipino background and about the meal. Arroz caldo is one of those staples that every Filipino kid, including Chef Eric, grew up eating at home.

Arroz Caldo Bar Menu
Arroz Caldo Bar Menu

Special cocktail of the night with calamansi.
Special cocktail of the night with calamansi.

| FOR STARTERS |

The first dish to come out were the lumpia accompanied with a vinegar sauce with peppers. Sliced green onions were on top of the perfectly fried crispy lumpia skin. The chicken lumpia was filled with ground chicken and vegetables which was a nice and tasty alternative to the typical pork filled shanghai. The shrimp lumpia had a creamy herb spread that worked so well with the shrimp and crispy wrapper. It reminded me of a crab rangoon appetizer but much more delicious. The salad that came next was a blend of mixed greens, sliced radishes, cherry tomatoes, garlic/coconut croutons, fried shallots and had a honey/calamansi vinaigrette. I’d eat salad more often if it tasted this good. What stood out were the croutons since I could really taste the coconut flavor. 


Chicken Shanghai (left) and Shrimp Shanghai (right)
Chicken Shanghai (left) and Shrimp Shanghai (right) 

Vinegar Sauce
Vinegar Sauce

Salad of mixed greens and sliced radishes.
Salad of mixed greens and sliced radishes.

| THE MAINS |

A plate of various arroz caldo toppings were placed on each table to share. I was already eyeing the fried chicken skins as they glistened in the bowl, a clear indication of crunchiness. The arroz caldo came with a sous vide egg, a bit of fried garlic, green onions and a swirl of annatto oil to jazz up the presentation. Before adding the toppings, I sampled a spoonful. It was savory but light and not too salty since it’s meant to have toppings added. I liked how it was also a bit soupy and the rice wasn’t clumpy and too thick. Plus, the chicken was shredded very finely so that it incorporated well into the soup.

Now the fun part was adding the toppings. I spooned a bit of everything onto my bowl, trying all the different combinations of rice soup plus topping. I would have dumped the entire chicken skin tray on my arroz caldo if not for the fact that we had to share. Fried shallots are always a winner for me so I had a few spoonfuls sprinkled generously. We were offered seconds but I had to turn it down. I mistakenly wore skinny jeans that night and unfortunately couldn’t eat anymore.

Arroz Caldo Toppings (Thai chilis, fried garlic, pork rinds, tofu,  cauliflower, fried shallots and fried chicken skin)
Arroz Caldo Toppings (Thai chilis, fried garlic, pork rinds, tofu,
cauliflower, fried shallots and fried chicken skin)

Arroz Caldo
Arroz Caldo 

Arroz Caldo with toppings.
Arroz Caldo with toppings.
| THE FINALE |

The cassava cake was amazing. It was the best cassava cake that I’ve ever had. My mom would make cassava cake at home and I’ve eaten it at many Filipino parties but they were generally too thick and heavy for me to have another serving. However, this version was smooth and creamy and not at all too sweet. 
Cassava Cake
Cassava Cake

Overall, it was another memorable dining experience with Chef Eric P.. I enjoyed all the dishes, especially the cassava cake. I think I’m craving another slice as we speak as I stare at the picture above.

Check Chef Eric P’s Feastly Page to find out more about upcoming meals.

Written by Jamie •  Photos taken by Jamie

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