Finding the Perfect Kanin-Ulam Ratio

Extra rice, extra happy.

As Filipinos, the #extrarice life is very real. It has become both a talent and skill to not only finish five scoops of rice with just one pecho meal at Mang Inasal, but also making sure that by the end of the meal, your ulam and rice are both wiped evenly clean.

After searching far and wide (a.k.a. Reddit and Twitter), we’ve put together a rundown of the different types of ulam one encounters and the rice ratios to go with them. At the end, we’ve listed some restaurant meals that people believe have achieved the perfect ratio.

Ulam Level: Regular

Regular ulam pertains to dry viands like fried chicken, longanisa, barbeque that do not come with a sauce base. While most ulams in this category will be satisfied with one serving of rice (1:1), it’s a common occurrence for it to reach a ratio of 1.5:1.

Ulam Level: Saucy

Adobo, kaldereta, bistek, and the like are considered saucy ulams. The flavored sauce combined with the proteins in saucy ulams will compel you to order an extra rice or two from the get-go. 3:1 or three rice is to 1 saucy ulam is the general consensus for this category.

When there is sabaw involved

Things get a little complicated when you throw a bowl of soup into the mix. While some believe that the 3:1 ratio still applies, others use a 2:1:1 of two rice, 1 ulam, and 1 sabaw. However, if it’s just rice and soup we’re dealing with, 1:1 is a safe bet.

When you’re on a budget

If you’re already scraping the bottom of your wallet, the solution is to add more rice. Oftentimes the construction worker ratio of 3:0.5 and sometimes 3:0.5:1 (three rice, 0.5 ulam: 1 Cobra) is applied. Going as far as 5:05 if things are really tight isn’t unheard of either.


There is a difference between unlimited rice and an all you can eat buffet. As a general rule for the former, Filipinos believe that the more rice you have at your disposal, the more you may partake in. In this situation, ∞:1 keeps everyone happy.

For buffets, however, you want to fully experience the multitude of viands in front of you and so 0:∞ is the way to go. We’ll allow 1:∞ if there is fried rice involved. Ease on the drinks too.

Also read13 Popular Restaurants You Didn’t Know Serve Unlimited Rice

Ratio Achieved

Netizens agreed that at restaurants, a 60/40 serving of rice to ulam is reasonable. While karinderias and lower end restaurants may require a more realistic 70/30. Here’s a list of meals that people believe to have the perfect ratio:

Lunch Special Menu – FAT

FAT’s Lunch Special menu includes Crispy Pork Belly Binagoongan, Porkchop in Creamy Mushroom Sauce, and Spiced Pan Roasted Pork Loin, all priced under P200 each.

Photo from Booky

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Forbes Town Center, 29th St cor Rizal Dr, Burgos Circle, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
(02) 834-8600

PinaTUNA-Y – Recovery Food

Recovery Food is a laid-back restaurant known to alleviate hangovers after a good night out. Their menu specials are Hey Jude’s Paksig, S.S.T and My Mami.

Photo from @chingflicks

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Tapsilog – Rodic’s Diner

Rodic’s Diner is an all-day breakfast place that started in UP Diliman and known for its Tapsilog and other silog meals.

Photo from @zeezeno

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Rice Meals – Banapple

Established in 2007, Banapple is a bakery & cafe serving freshly-baked pies, cheesecakes, as well as sandwiches, pasta and entrees.

Photo from @banapplekitchen

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Rice be with you.

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