When it comes to exploring different cuisines, my taste buds can sometimes become slightly unadventurous. But I’ve found the best way to alleviate the nerves is to keep the dining experience simple. If you’re new to Asian cuisines, fried rice is the perfect entry point. Depending on the country and region’s food culture, fried rice can be prepared a number of ways.
A whole lot of everything
Fried rice is a popular main or side dish in most Asian cultures — Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Filipino, Indonesian and Japanese. So what is fried rice exactly? This unique dish evolved in Chinese gastronomy as a standard method of cooking leftovers. The traditional form of Asian fried rice is made with white rice (usually jasmine), eggs, scallions, chopped meat, vegetables, spices, peppers, soy sauce and sometimes oyster sauce. Pork and chicken are the most commonly used proteins in fried rice. However, beef, seafood and any type of poultry can be used. Carrots, bean sprouts, celery, and peas are the vegetables most commonly combined with the meats. Soy sauce is used to add flavoring and gives the rice the brown coloring.
A popular fried rice dish served in most China Town restaurants is “Yeung Chow Fried Rice,” or also known as “Yang Zhou Chao Fan.” This popular Cantonese style wok fried rice is made with barbecued pork, cooked shrimp, scallions, eggs, peas, and a lighter variety of soy sauce. Some restaurants even opt to go sans soy with this dish, relying solely on a mix of spices that include white and black pepper. This type of fried rice has a lighter, less salty flavor. At Vietnamese restaurants, fried rice dishes are typically made with a sweet and salty pork sausage. Curry, meanwhile, is the spice of choice in most Thai style fried rices.
13 flavors of awesomeness
I recently ordered from Takie Outit — pronounced as “Takie Outie.” This Chinese restaurant has 13 different types of fried rices to choose from. The options include: chicken fried rice; BBQ pork; ham; shrimp; beef; jumbo shrimp; lobster; plain; vegetable; combination; Mexican; curry; pineapple; Mongolian beef fried rice with shrimp; and beef and chicken in a spicy sauce.
One of their more popular items and my personal favorite is the pineapple fried rice. The rice is prepared with chunks of juicy pineapple that add a touch of sweetness to the salty rice. And the portions at Takie Outit are super generous, so you’ll have delicious leftovers for the next day.
Aside from the fried rice, Takie Outit also features beef, seafood, pork, chicken and vegetable dishes, as well as, egg foo young and various noodle dishes. And if you call in your order and it’s over $15, ask about the complimentary crab rangoon appetizer. Takie Outit definitely makes the list for affordable eats!
Takie Outit, 2132 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL