There are dozens of varieties of fried rice, each with their own specific list of ingredients. In Asia, the more famous varieties include Yangzhou and Fujian fried rice. In the West, Chinese restaurants catering to non-Chinese clientele have invented their own varieties of fried rice including fried rice, Singaporean fried rice and the ubiquitous 'special fried rice'.
Fried rice is a common staple in American Chinese cuisine, especially in the westernized form sold at fast-food stands. The most common form is a basic fried rice, often with some mixture of eggs, scallions, and vegetables, with chopped meat added at the customer's discretion. Fried rice is also seen in other Asian American restaurants, even in cuisines where there is no native tradition of the dish such as the Caribbean. The dish is also a staple of Chinese restaurants in the United Kingdom , and fried rice is very popular in the West African nations of Ghana and Togo, both as a restaurant food and as street food.
Ingredients used in fried rice are greatly varied. They can include:
*Vegetables such as carrots, , celery, and peas
*Chicken, pork , shrimp, or tofu
*Chili pepper or hot sauces - these are sometimes offered in a small dish served alongside the rice. Many cooks also season the fried rice with black pepper.
*Shoyu, rice wine, or cooking sherry is sometimes used as it gives fried rice a brown color.
Often cooked in a wok, it includes vegetable oil or animal fat to prevent sticking, as well as for flavor. Often, onions and garlic add zest and extra flavor. It is popularly eaten either as an accompaniment to another dish or, alternatively on its own as a course by itself.
Popular garnishes include fried shallots, sprigs of parsley, carrots carved into intricate shapes or sliced chili sprinkled on top of the heaped rice. Many food stands found on the streets across Southeast Asia will serve fried rice on the spot expecting the customer to choose which garnishes to add.
Fried rice is made from cold rice which has already been cooked by boiling. The wok is heated with some oil, until it starts smoking. Rice is stirred quickly and uniformly to prevent burning, and to coat the rice grains with oil to prevent sticking. After 1-2 minutes the rice is flavored to taste and stirred thoroughly, then the other ingredients are added.
More often than not, the rice is also tossed with an egg to smooth its texture and enhance its flavor, and hence the name 蛋炒飯, ''dan chao fan'', meaning simply egg with fried rice. The most common method of preparing is to stir fry spices like chopped garlic in a wok briefly to release its aroma , and then to crack an egg into the wok; before the egg becomes completely cooked the rice is then added, and after some intense stir frying it is ready to be served.
* Bai cha - A variation of fried rice that includes diced , garlic, shoyu, and herbs usually eaten with pork.
* Canton fried rice - a Cantonese dish of fried rice typically dry, Fukien fried rice is usually served "wet", with sauce or gravy on top.
* Cha Han (チャーハン）- is Chinese fried rice suited to Japanese tastes, sometimes adding katsuobushi for flavor.
* - A fried rice dish consisting of generous portions of shrimp, scrambled egg, along with barbecued pork. This is the most popular fried rice served in Chinese restaurants, commonly referred to simply as "special fried rice" or "house fried rice."
* Yuan yang fried rice - Fried rice dish topped with two different types of sauce, typically a savory white sauce on one half, and a red tomato-based sauce on the other half. Elaborated versions use the sauce to make a symbol.
* Thai fried rice - The flavor of this version is radically different from that of common fried rice, and comes from various additions not found in Chinese fried rice.
* American Fried Rice - Bizarre as it sounds, this style of fried rice is actually a Thai invention of hot dogs, fried chicken, eggs as side dishes or mixed in with rice fried with ketchup. Apparently, this was served to G.I.'s during the Vietnam war, but now has become very popular and commonplace all throughout Thailand. The Malaysian counterpart, substituting pork with chicken, is called ''Nasi Goreng USA''.
* Nasi goreng - a Malay and Indonesian version of fried rice. The main difference compared to fried rice is that it is cooked with sweet soy sauce . It is often accompanied by additional items such as a fried egg, fried chicken, satay, or keropok. Served in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the southern Philippines, and most of the neighboring countries. Also very popular in the Netherlands.
* - A popular version of fried rice in Peru and Ecuador. Brought by Asian immigrants, it combines the traditional Chinese recipe with a distinct touch of South American flavor.
* Kimchi bokkeumbap or kimchi fried rice - A popular variety of fried rice prepared with Korean pickled cabbage, kimchi, and a variable list of other ingredients. Although a wide range of fried rice dishes are frequently prepared in Korean cuisine, often with whichever ingredients are handy, Kimchi Fried Rice is a popular variety.
*Garlic fried rice - Also known as ''sinangag'', this Filipino version only contains garlic and is often a breakfast fixture. Sinangag can be combined with other foods to create a new food like "Tapsilog"
*Curry fried rice - standard fried rice mixed with curry powder for a spicier flavor.
*Hawaiian fried rice – A common style of fried rice in . Usually contains egg, green onions, peas, cubed carrots, and one or both of and . Also sometimes available with kimchi added. Normally cooked in sesame oil with.
*Arroz Frito - Very similar to "Special Fried Rice", this version of fried rice can be found along side typical ''criollo'' dishes in many Cuban restaurants. This dish features ham, bbq pork, shrimp, chicken, and eggs along with a variety of vegetables. Some restaurants add ''lechón'' , lobster tails, and/or crab. Chinese Cubans are responsible for the dish's popularity.