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The Gameplan : Fried Rice in Seattle

My family would call me an expert and connoiseur when it comes to fried rice. Why? Because I seemingly order it every time I eat Chinese food. Fried rice is a staple in Asian cuisine, because it’s simple, tasty, got meat, vegetables, and carbs, and is satisfying. It’s hard to mess up making fried rice– every cook worth his fancy white hat knows that it start with the rice, and a very hot wok. The rice needs to be cold, possibly day old rice, and not fresh and therefore, mushy.

When it comes down to choosing the best fried rice, it’s between Chinese-style fried rice (usually called Yang Chow fried rice) and Thai-style fried rice. Let’s break it down:

First up, Yang Chow fried rice.

friedrice1

Yang Chow (or Chinese-style) fried rice includes large shrimp, barbequed pork (Cha-siu), egg, scallions, peas, and typically light soy sauce. The barbequed pork, a Hong Kong specialty, is what gives this dish it’s slightly sweet flavor.

Next up, Thai-style fried rice.

friedrice2

Thai-style fried rice uses longer grain Thai Jasmine rice, meat (like chicken, pork, shrimp, crab or beef), eggs, onions, green onions, tomatoes, and fried garlic. Usually mixed in as well is sugar, salt, pepper, possibly some chili sauce, fish sauce, and cilantro if desired. The result is a ridiculously tasty dish which is much more interesting to the palette than the comparably boring Chinese-style fried rice.

Other honorable mentions– Salted Fish and Chicken fried rice (a Chinese dish) and Pineapple Fried Rice (a Thai dish).

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Salted Fish and Chicken fried rice is a unique dish because it’s so aromatic.. and salty. Has to be done just right or else it can be overpowering.

friedrice4

On the other hand, the sweet Pineapple fried rice is a simple fried rice with pineapple chunks and sometimes curry powder (hence the color) mixed in, and your usual meat choices to accompany it.

My gameplan for Seattle is to try 3 Thai fried rice dishes and 2 Chinese fried rice dishes, and make a top 5 list of the  definitive fried rices of the city. The restaurants? Mali Thai in Tukwila (which has some of the best Pad Thai ever), Chaiyo Thai and Jai Thai in Seattle. As for the Yang Chow fried rice dish, I will try Honey Court and New Star Seafood in the International District.

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