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Arancino and Suppli: the differences and similarities

Arancino and suppli in comparison

Dear Insideaters, Italian cuisine is rich and boasts a wide range of dishes, thanks to the large amount of traditional ingredients and recipes handed down from generation to generation.

In the Italian culinary tradition there are various dishes and typical regional products and today we want to talk to you about two examples of street food known in Italy and abroad: the arancino and the suppli (in Italian supplì), but do you know what the differences and similarities are between them?

Both are a sort of breaded rice ball with a surprise inside, a filling, with traditional flavors.

Both preparations involve cooking the rice and then frying the ball of rice, but despite these obvious similarities, they are two very different recipes.

The arancino comes in a conical shape, symbolizing Etna Volcano, or round usually with a diameter of 8-10 cm, while the suppli has an elongated cylindrical shape.

The main difference lies in the sauce: the classic version of the Sicilian arancino includes meat sauce and a filling with peas and mozzarella, while the Roman suppli is prepared with a simple sauce and in the heart there is the stringy mozzarella for a perfect suppli called “al telefono”, meaning “phone wire”.

You can sample both in many delicious versions. For example, the rice arancino with béchamel and ham is very popular, rather than stuffed with pistachio and speck (a type of smoked ham), or in the versions based on fish with shrimps or with a sauce based on cuttlefish ink and many other versions that you can find around Sicily.

While among the alternatives to the classic supplì, we can find carbonara, gricia, amatriciana or cacio e pepe. In short, all typical Roman sauces in a street food version.

Arancino and suppli: the originis

In the beginning, the arancino was born as a dessert: the first written documentation that explicitly speaks of this dish is the Sicilian-Italian dictionary by Giuseppe Biundi of 1857, which testifies to the presence of “a sweet rice dish made in the shape of an orange tree”, presumably eaten during the festivities in honor of Saint Lucia. Learn more about the origins and discover all the variations here!

The suppli, on the other hand, was born directly as a savory dish, in fact the first written record dates back to 1847 when it appeared on the menu of the Trattoria della Lepre in Rome under the name of “rice soplis”.

In short, we can say that they have various similarities, but there are two substantial differences between arancino and supplì: the shape and the filling inside.

If we have made your mouth water and you are curious to try these two delicacies, join our cooking class on Sicilian street food , for a delicious and fun experience.

Dear Insideater, discover all the other whims of Sicilian street food and where to taste them here! 

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