Fat Rice features unique Macanese cuisine

March 22, 2013 8:30:01 PM PDT
It is a happy consequence of foreign occupation: the marriage of local ingredients and varied cooking styles. At Fat Rice - a 40-seater in Logan Square hugging the corner of Diversey and Sacramento - the owners' Portuguese and Chinese roots have come together to form a Macanese menu.

"Macanese food is the food of Macau, which is a former Portuguese colony," said Abraham Conlon, one of the owners of Fat Rice. "And that's where all the travels of the Portuguese and all the culinary traditions that they brought from Goa and from Africa kind of culminated."

Conlon stir-frys homemade wide noodles, tossing them with mushrooms, eggs and an x-o sauce, but more exotic fare comes in the form of piri piri chicken, a half bird rubbed in spicy goan tomato sauce with grilled potatoes and peanuts. The Portuguese chicken, meanwhile, is embedded with potatoes, carrots and cabbage, swimming in coconut curry.

"It is a milder curry dish with chicken, chorizo, black olives, lemon and coconut," he said.

The namesake dish begins with chorizo and Chinese sausage-embedded rice, covered by multiple layers of protein: first chicken and char siu roasted pork; then homemade Portuguese linguica, or sausage; head-on shrimp and littleneck clams, steamed with black beans and chilies round out the seafood. But then, just before serving, Conlon loads on the hard-boiled egg, chicken fat-fried croutons and olives.

"It's essentially a hybrid-style of paella and a Hong Kong-style steamed, claypot rice bowl," said Conlon.

Chicagoans have seen things like wide noodles with XO sauce before, but a lot of these flavors are gonna be new to people, especially the Portuguese ones - like that linguica sausage - which is truly unique, and also delicious.

Fat Rice
2957 W. Diversey Ave.
(773) 661-9170