It’s great to be American, or a resident, whatever applies. Why? Because versatility is key here! So many countries, traditions and yes, cuisines are represented here, you don’t have to go on an adventure, you can stay on one. Comfort food has endless meanings here, including the ever loved fried rice. With its asian roots it comes in many variations, and here in NYC the options are countless. As you can imagine, I’m utterly spoiled, being that I tried an above average amount of them. Below I will give you a few options that I thought stood out. Im my humble opinion, these are some of the best in Manhattan!
Mission Chinese Food
Let’s cut right through the chase: This is my favorite fried rice. I’m a carnivore galore, and yet this vegan rice rocked my tastebuds! The first thing you need to know about this restaurant, is that they grow their own mushrooms. Above the bar. In a very much futuristic looking box lit with blue lighting. It’s called Urban Farming, and I love it. The rice contains these mushrooms together with red onions, sawtooth herb and Salt and Vinegar Chips. A bit of Jerk seasoning makes this rice irresistible!
Smoked Mushroom “Jerky” Fried Rice at Mission Chinese
This restaurant has two locations on the Lower Westside, and is actually big on noodles, as the name might suggest. But make no mistake the fried rice is absolutely delicious! There’s only one on the menu, so need for big decisions. The Seafood Fried Rice is absolutely delicious! Shrimp, dried scallops with egg whites and scallions lend their flavor to this light and clean tasting delicacy. Two thumbs up…
Seafood Fried Rice at Hao Noodle
Rice & Gold
First of all, I love everything at Rice & Gold. I think Dale Talde is the s*@t, and since his superior spot Talde in Brooklyn has closed its doors, I get my Asian kicks à la Talde right here in Chinatown. (I just hope that some day he’ll bring America’s best wings here). The rice you ask? It’s Supreme Fried Rice of course. It entails all the usual fixings plus a “land and sea and air collaboration”, aka pork, shrimp and chicken. I’m assuming it might change on occasion, bu who cares, it’s so yummy. Run, don’t walk there.
Supreme Fried Rice and Rice & Gold
Can you say Michelin Star? OK please do, because this beautiful restaurant in midtown has earned one! The food here is authentic Sichuan Chinese and filled with flavor for days. Nothing here is “Americanized”, there’s no MSG, tea will be served upon seating, the whole experience gives a bit of a feeling that you have travel far, far away. I ate here several times (and even ordered takeout), I just can’t get enough. The Fried Rice with Tea Smoked Duck is one of a kind, and obviously superb…
Tea Smoked Duck Fried Rice at Cafe China
Great NY Noodletown
If you crave a real Chinatown experience, this is the place to be. It’s crowded, it’s noisy, there’s no hostess, it’s every man for himself. I ended up at a community table per se, with some pretty great company, luckily. The menu is endless, which usually worries me (how can it all be fresh?), but this place was highly recommended, and I did see the accolades by Michelin and Zagat on the wall upon entry. So I ordered the Young Chow Style Fried Rice. I asked what exactly was in it, and with a grunt I was told: everything. Ok, perfect! I loved it. Light and fluffy, fresh and delicious. Just awesome.
Young Chow Style Fried Rice at Great NY Noodletown
This place is just beautiful! It’s dark and romantic, the decor is reminiscent of old time China with round booths along the walls. Once you pass the bar, you walk down the staircase while overlooking the dining room, and it feels very grandiose. The portions here are on the small side, the prices on the steep side, but, hey, that’s upscale for you sometimes. I’m here to taste the food, and it’s pretty darn good! The Johnny Fried Rice is well worth it, spoiling you with shrimp, Char Siu and scallions, and is topped off with toasted crunchy pork rinds. Spectacular!
Johnny Fried Rice at Chinese Tuxedo
Brooklyn Chop House
Brooklyn Chop House can actually be considered a Steakhouse, but I went for their dumplings and Chinese dishes, and I’m so glad I did. They had me at Onion Soup Dumplings, and I fell in love all the way when I had their Lobster Fried Rice! Dense and packed with flavor, this one is a must!
Lobster Fried Rice at Brooklyn Chop House