Saturday, April 19th is National Rice Ball Day! When I think rice balls, there’s two particular kinds that come to mind. One is the Japanese onigiri rice ball, which is typically made by shaping with white rice and wrapped with a piece of nori seaweed. They are often stuffed with pickled ume or salmon, but there’s many varieties around. The other kind of rice ball I can think of is the Italian arancini. These rice balls are made with short grain rice, coated with breadcrumbs and fried to a nice orange color, hence the name (arancia means orange). They are found stuffed as well, most commonly with some cheesy mozzarella and served with marinara sauce. There’s many variations as well.
If you’re in the mood for rice balls this Saturday, Hoboken’s Little Town might be a spot to check out. On the menu, you’ll find Chef Jordan Andino’s Traditional Taylor ham and cheese rice balls. It’s his twist on the Jersey Breakfast, also known as a Taylor ham, egg, and cheese, or a pork roll, egg and cheese. Instead of a sandwich, you are presented with lightly crisped rice balls stuffed with Taylor ham and cheese and it’s served with a spicy hollandaise sauce. In celebration of National Rice Ball day, this Saturday April 19th, Chef Jordan Andino will also be making a special Pancetta with Organic Pear and Kale with Quinoa Rice Balls.