OverRice (https://www.overricecfl.com/) started out as a food truck that serves Hawaiian and Filipino food at various locations around Orlando. As much as I love both cuisines, I never encountered the truck in the wild. Luckily for us all, OverRice also opened a brand-new, permanent, brick and mortar restaurant location at 1084 Lee Rd in Orlando, west of I-4, between two other restaurants I like in the immediate area: LaSpada’s Original Philly Cheese Steaks and Hoagies to the east and Mee Thai to the west. I attended a soft opening at the OverRice restaurant after work on March 2nd, and let me tell you, it was amazing. I wish I had tried the food truck sooner, because the delicious food from the restaurant lived up to all the hype and praise I had been reading and hearing for years. I can see becoming a regular there, and I won’t be alone.
OverRice has long scrolls of brown paper hanging on the wall to the right of the entrance, with the menu hand-written in huge letters. You order and pay at the counter, take a seat, and wait for deliciousness. Mayra was very patient as she took my order, considering I wanted to eat something there and take the rest to go.
The standard plate lunches can be ordered Filipino style (served over jasmine rice with pancit noodles and one lumpia, a crispy spring roll filled with pork), or Hawaiian style (served with two scoops of jasmine rice and one scoop of ono macaroni salad). You can choose between braised Papa’s Filipino adobo pork spare ribs, marinated and grilled huli huli chicken thighs, or kalua pig, pork shoulder seasoned with Hawaiian sea salt and wrapped in banana leaves while it is slow-roasted for eight hours.
The walls are brightly decorated with hand-painted art that makes you feel like you’re in the islands. A bamboo (or fake bamboo?) wall separates the open kitchen from the small dining area.
For the soft opening, they served everyone a lovely tropical mocktail made of pineapple juice, apple juice, and muddled mint, blended and poured over crushed ice. It was a delightful and refreshing little surprise.
I had to try the Papa’s Filipino adobo pork dish while it was hot, especially with the pancit noodles and lumpia spring roll (the Filipino style option). I chose wisely. I’ve had different versions of adobo, pancit, and lumpia before, at DeGuzman Oriental Food Mart and the late, great Taglish, and I already knew I would love the flavors.
The bone-in spare ribs were fork-tender, and the bones slid right out. The savory flavors were incredible. The sweet, sour, sticky sauce was perfect for dipping the crispy lumpia, but I ended up stirring it into the soft, fluffy jasmine rice. The pancit noodles were nice and tender, mixed with shreds of carrot, cabbage, and sautéed with lots of garlic.
This is OverRice’s version of sisig, a Filipino dish of fried pork belly chunks tossed with onions and chilies in a soy and citrus sauce. I wonder if the citrus involved is calamansi, which are kind of like limes, but smaller and rounder, and with orange flesh inside. Regardless, the sisig was delicious. Totally different from the version I loved so much (and miss) from Taglish, which shows a wealth of variations in Filipino cuisine, which I am still learning about. I ended up stirring in some jasmine rice, which was included, but packaged in a separate container for my takeout order. The rice did a great job soaking up those incredible flavors.
OverRice offers Spam musubi, the popular Hawaiian snack of grilled Spam and rice wrapped tightly in nori (seaweed). One of my favorite restaurants in all of Orlando, Poke Hana, also serves Spam musubi, so I’ve had several before. But OverRice also sells chicken and kalua pig musubi, all for $3.50 each, and I couldn’t help but get a kalua pig musubi so I could try this classic Hawaiian pork dish too. It was so good, very tender after being slow-roasted for eight hours in those banana leaves, with a subtly smoky flavor that permeated the rice.
I didn’t think my wife would care for the adobo, which is why I enjoyed that at the restaurant. But when I brought home the rest of the food, I asked her to try the kalua pig musubi and the pork belly sisig, and she pleasantly surprised us both by liking both. I don’t know why I was surprised, because both were really delicious, and even the sisig wasn’t spicy. I was thrilled she was now a fellow OverRice fan!
Finally, I can’t go to any deli, sandwich shop, grocery store, or Hawaiian restaurant and not sample the macaroni salad or pasta salad, whenever they are available. Poke Hana’s macaroni salad is absolutely the best I’ve ever had. I found a recipe online for Hawaiian-style macaroni salad and have made it a few times before, to great success, but mine still isn’t as good as theirs. Well, OverRice makes a very similar Hawaiian mac salad recipe (with a side order for $4 if you don’t get it in a Hawaiian-style plate lunch), so it is also pretty amazing. The major different is that OverRice tops theirs with finely diced nori, so that added some additional tastes and textures once I stirred it into the cool, creamy, chewy mac salad.
I just wish I had tracked down the OverRice food truck sooner, so I could have tried their wonderful food years ago. But I was waiting months for this permanent location on Lee Road to open, and I was so happy and lucky to attend one of the first soft openings. This is a place I can see returning to again and again, and hopefully turning others onto. If you were a fan of the food truck, don’t despair. It will be continuing, so keep checking the website for updates as they work through their soft opening hours at the restaurant.
I don’t think OverRice is serving any desserts, at least not yet, but if you dine here and decide you want to stick to the theme for dessert, it really isn’t that far from Hanalei Shave Ice for the tropical flavors of Brandy Ford’s refreshing Hawaiian shave ice, or another sweet new addition to Orlando’s culinary scene I will be reviewing in the weeks to come, Samapaguita Filipino Ice Cream. Until then, aloha and paalam, stalwart Saboscrivnerinos!