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Enjoy the beauty of this versatile and delicious dish on National Fried Rice Day!

History of National Fried Rice Day

Beginning as a sort of catchall recipe and often made with the leftovers from other dishes, fried rice flavors can vary significantly. It’s usually made with rice that is a day or two old and cold, which allows the texture to change. Fried rice is also made with additions such as eggs, vegetables, protein and sauces.

In the 1850s, Chinese restaurants became popular in the United States, beginning with San Francisco, California. San Francisco continues to have an impressive population of Chinese people in its vast Chinatown. By the 1880s, Chinese establishments began opening in the United Kingdom, particularly in London and Liverpool where many Chinese sailors and students would visit.

Though it has changed over the years, and certainly has become ‘Westernized’ in some ways, fried rice is a delightfully basic and versatile dish that can be dressed up or down in so many ways. Perhaps that is why it was decided that fried rice deserved to have its own day in celebration!

In 2018, National Fried Rice Day was founded by Benihana restaurants. The day is established in connection with the restaurant’s accomplishment of setting a new Guinness World Record for the longest cooking marathon.

National Fried Rice Day Timeline

8000 BC

Rice is eaten by humans 

Historians suspect that rice has been eaten by humans for as long as 10,000 years.[1]

589 AD

Fried Rice is invented 

The earliest record of fried rice shows that it is made during the Sui Dynasty in China.

19th Century

Fried Rice comes to North America 

It’s likely that immigrant communities brought this dish to the United States.[2]


First documented Chinese restaurant opens in the US 

With the large population of Chinese immigrants there, restaurants serving Chinese food begin opening in California.[3]


First National Fried Rice Day is celebrated 

Founded by the Benihana restaurant, this day was established along with breaking the Guinness record for the longest cooking marathon.[4]

How to Celebrate National Fried Rice Day

Get on board with celebrating and enjoying National Fried Rice Day! Take a look at these ideas to get started, or come up with some of your own fun ideas:

Enjoy Eating Fried Rice

In honor of National Fried Rice Day, head out to a delicious Chinese restaurant in the local area and order a dish made with fried rice. Chicken fried rice or pork fried rice can be a whole meal themselves, or fried rice can also be used as a side dish that goes along with some other protein or vegetable based recipe. Because it’s a versatile dish, fried rice is a great complement to a great many different Asian foods and meals.

Try Making Fried Rice at Home

Fried rice is actually a fairly simple dish to make as it doesn’t require a lot of ingredients and the steps are not very complicated. Start with cold, leftover rice from a meal that was eaten a day or two before. Then, add-ins like onions, carrots, peas or other veggies, as well as a blended egg. Flavor the fried rice with sauces such as soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and oyster sauce.

Cook the concoction on high heat and let the rice brown a bit on the bottom of the pan. Fried rice is a delicious recipe that only takes a little time to make and is enjoyable for the whole family!

Get Creative with Fried Rice

National Fried Rice Day is here to remind people that this dish is anything but boring! In fact, it has so many unique ways it can be made, it could almost be eaten every day of the week with just a few adjustments. Try out some of these ideas to make those fried rice dishes a bit more interesting:

  • Bacon, Ginger and Edamame Fried Rice. Peanut oil, chili paste, bacon, edamame and fish sauce give this dish its unique flavor.
  • Shrimp and Kimchi Fried Rice. Korean chili paste, kimchi, shrimp, spring onions, peanut oil and sesame oil make this take on fried rice super special.
  • Thai Spicy Chili and Basil Fried Rice. Chilies, oyster sauce, fish sauce and shrimp make a tasty combination.
  • Korean Barbecue Chicken Fried Rice. Combine amazing shredded BBQ chicken with long chili, spring onions, garlic and cabbage.

Go to Benihana for National Fried Rice Day

Since Benihana is the company that founded National Fried Rice Day, perhaps it would make sense to head over to one of their restaurants in celebration. With more than 75 Benihana restaurants throughout the US, Central and South America and the Caribbean, it’s a delight to head to one in honor of National Fried Rice Day.

In the past, in honor of National Fried Rice Day, Benihana has provided a program where patrons who eat at their restaurant are helping to feed hungry children. On past National Fried Rice days, Benihana has made a one dollar donation for every customer who ordered the Hibachi fried rice dish. The donation, equaling at least $25,000, was given to the No Kid Hungry charitable organization.

Make a Donation to Feed the Hungry

Even for those folks who can’t make it to a Benihana or if their local Chinese restaurant isn’t hosting a campaign to feed the hungry, National Fried Rice Day is still a fantastic time to make a donation to help hungry people. In fact, many people all over the world don’t have much other than rice and beans, so making a donation in honor of a day that is focused on rice can help someone in need and be a way to celebrate the day!

Try a Healthy Fried Rice Recipe

Some people tend to shy away from eating fried rice on a regular basis because it does have some ingredients that make it less healthy than plain white or brown rice. However, there are some adjustments that can be made that will help a recipe for National Fried Rice Day be more healthy.

Much of the problem with fried rice has to do with the types of oils used to make it. So substituting healthier oils, such as avocado oil instead of the traditional denatured oil. Plus, using brown rice instead of white rice for the recipe will add some nutritional value to the grain.

Another issue with fried rice is the high sodium content. Substitute low-sodium soy sauce for the regular stuff to make it better for you. And, those who don’t feel great about fried eggs in their diet can make the whole thing vegan by skipping the egg. It’s a delicious alternative that will make your heart happier and healthier on National Fried Rice Day!

National Fried Rice Day FAQs

Is fried rice healthy?

Unfortunately, frying rice typically adds calories and fat, making it not as healthy as eating just plain white rice.

Does fried rice contain eggs?

Yes, fried rice is typically made with egg, meat and vegetables.[1]

What country did fried rice originate from?

Although many cultures have some form of fried rice in their cuisine, the earliest history of fried rice comes from China.

How to make fried rice? 

Fried rice is best made with leftover rice, eggs, meat (chicken or pork), chopped onions, and sauces like soy sauce or sesame sauce.

Should fried rice be crispy?

Most Chinese fried rice is not typically crispy, but people who like it crispy can refrigerate the rice and then double cook to crisp it up.[2]

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