Fried rice has roots in China and initially provided a way to breathe new life into leftover steamed rice. But that doesn’t mean it’s an afterthought. Many Asian restaurants in Los Angeles take their fried rice seriously, with vibrant ingredients prepared in a variety of compelling ways. Follow this path lined with grains of 10 triumphs of fried rice, listed in alphabetical order.
Ayara Thai, located on a side street near LAX, is named after the beloved Thai elephants. Chef Vanda Asapahu and her family opened their restaurant in 2004; her mother is from northern Thailand and her father is from central Thailand, so you’ll find influences from both regions on the menu. Crab Fried Rice ($ 12) uses real crabmeat; a claw rises from below the mound like some kind of zombie crustacean. Ayara rice is chewy and folded with green onions, onions and scrambled eggs. Toppings include cilantro, sliced cucumber and a squeeze of lime. 6245 West 87th Street, Westchester; (310) 410-8848, ayarathaicuisine.com.
Chef Kwang Uh and his partner Matthew Kim chair Baroo, an “Experimental Free Style Kitchen” in a Hollywood mall. In a matter of months, they built a following for their fermentation-fueled cuisine – without the benefit of a sign. A barou is a bowl that Buddhist monks keep all their lives, and they would definitely enjoy filling it with kimchi fried rice ($ 9) here, which is unlike any kimchi fried rice in LA Amira basmati rice welcomes kimchi with fermented pineapple, a 63-degree Celsius vacuum-packed egg sprinkled with grilled buckwheat and quinoa, gremolata quenelle, jalapeño pineapple salsa, bright purple potato chips, nori strips, spices and microgreens garnish . The dish is gluten-free and vegetarian, but you can add bacon and Spanish chorizo for two dollars more. 5706, Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood; (323) 819-4344, baroola.strikingly.com.
Cassia, a remarkable Southeast Asian brewery of chef Bryant Ng, Kim Luu-Ng, Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan, housed in an art deco building in Santa Monica, has evolved from the late and grand Spice Table in myriad ways. . A larger space allowed Ng to implement programs such as Asian-accented homemade charcuterie, two varieties of which are factored into Ng’s Charcuterie Fried Rice ($ 16). Chinese smoked bacon and strips of cheong tower Join in some salted salted fish, with crunchy lettuce strips mixed with seemingly oil-free rice. Cilantro adds a final touch. 1314 Seventh St., Santa Monica; (310) 393-6699, cassiala.com.
This stylish restaurant by chef Chloe Tran, her partner John Vu Cao and the American Gonzo Food Corporation has livened up downtown Culver City with modern “fresh Vietnamese” cuisine. A reclaimed wood facade gives way to massive cyclo visuals, common seats and lanterns in the form of vials, orbs and circles. The Fried Rice ($ 13) is pleasantly funky, with chunks of salt cod, dark meat chicken, slightly bitter rapini, and charred green onions. Cilantro and a squeeze of lime help complete the bowl. 9810 Washington Blvd., Culver City; (310) 596-8266, East-borough.com.
This modern restaurant by Chef Sang Yoon in Culver City’s Helms Bakery complex features a plush patio, show cooking, and a pan-Asian style of cooking that’s usually cooked with a twist. Crab Fried Rice ($ 14) features jasmine rice mixed with sweet strands of Indonesian blue crab meat, eggs, pea tendrils, serrano peppers, green onions, and red onions, all fried in wok in peanut oil which subtly coats the grains. 3239 Helms Ave, Culver City; (310) 204-1865, lukshon.com.
Luv2Eat Thai Bistro
Chefs Noree Pla and Fern Kaewtathip quickly turned their motley Thai restaurant at Cherokee Plaza in Hollywood into a raffle, which helped fund the expansion after just a year in business. You’ll want to peruse their delicious fried rice with shrimp paste ($ 10), served with nine condiments: egg, green apple, dried shrimp, red onion, carrot, green bean, sweet pork, chili, and lime. The alluring tangy plate looks like a Thai bibimbap and calls for mixing to fully integrate all the spicy, sweet and tangy flavors. 6660 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; (323) 498-5835, luv2eatthai.com.
This restaurant owned by Ming Lu Liu and his family has been a mainstay of the Alhambra’s World Plaza for almost three decades. He’s probably best known for his homemade noodles and pan-fried dumplings. If these are Ming Wa’s major doubles, then the restaurant’s minors in vegetable herbal dishes. The tangy pickled mustard green is chopped and folded into the rice, and it pairs beautifully with pork scribbles and chewy scrambled eggs in “grated pork with herb fried rice” ($ 7.25). The portion is twice as big as it takes considering the price – not that we were complaining. 1227 W. Valley Blvd., Alhambra; (626) 458-8338.
This remarkable Peruvian restaurant located on a busy part of Van Nuys features Peruvian travel posters and little other decoration. Peru is home to a large Chinese population, which fueled a particular local style of Chinese cuisine called Chifa. Arroz chaufa is fried rice, a staple of Chifa. At Puro Sabor, arroz chaufa puro sabor ($ 12.50) typically includes beef strips, chicken, and plump shrimp, although you can substitute for the chewy roast pork, as pork is almost always an improvement over chicken. Puro Sabor heated is chewy, lightly flavored with soy sauce and not at all greasy, sprinkled with scrambled eggs and topped with green onions for a crunch. Squeeze on creamy, homemade aji made with huacatay (black mint) and aji amarillo to give a skillful punch. 6366, boulevard Van Nuys, Van Nuys; (818) 908-0818.
This mid-city high-volume restaurant and bakery from Walter and Margarita Manzke casts a global net. The couple run several restaurants in Manila, which served as a starting point for their Asian exploration. Adobo Fried Rice ($ 16) was inspired by Margarita Manzke’s Filipino heritage. Cubes of pan-seared pork belly join two crispy fried eggs with crisp orange yolks, minced green onions and tangy and flavorful fried rice. Each bowl also comes with a small ramekin of homemade Sriracha. The Kimchi Fried Rice ($ 16) is a nod to nearby Koreatown, with tender chunks of short ribs, a pair of poached eggs, and a sesame and green onion blizzard for color and crunch. . 624 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-City; (310) 362-6115, republiquela.com.
Walnut is a little known hamlet of San Gabriel which is an Indonesian home. Cheong Hi Cheung and his wife, Lie Ing Kwee, are from Surabaya in East Java and opened Sate House in the back corner of a shopping mall in 2011. The decor is limited to a floral carpet, an aquarium and false plants, but the Nasi goreng ($ 8.25) deserves special attention for its shrimp paste, which imparts a flavorful quality that makes it impossible to stop eating this dish. Chicken, pork, and shrimp blend harmoniously with the spicy grains, and a fried egg on top never hurts. On the side you’ll find punchy pickled veggies. Versions with lamb, beef tripe and beef meatballs are also available. 812 Nogales St., Walnut; (626) 581-7726.