Fried rice is made from steamed rice stir-fried in a wok, often with other ingredients, such as eggs, vegetables, and meat. It is sometimes served as the penultimate dish in Chinese banquets (just before dessert). As a home-cooked dish, fried rice typically is made with leftover ingredients from other dishes, leading to countless variations.
The many popular varieties of fried rice have their own specific list of ingredients. In Asia, the more famous varieties include Yangzhouand Fujian fried rice. Elsewhere, most restaurants catering to vegetarian or Moslem clientele have invented their own varieties of fried rice including egg fried rice, Malaysian (spicy) fried rice and the ubiquitous “special fried rice”.
Fried rice is a common staple in American Chinese cuisine, especially in the form sold as fast food. The most common form of American Chinese fried rice consists of some mixture of eggs, scallions, and vegetables, with chopped meat added at the customer’s discretion, and usually flavored with soy sauce instead of table salt (more typical for Chinese-style fried rice). Fried rice made in American Chinese restaurants can vary in appearance, from a dark brown appearance often seen in East Coast establishments, to a light brown appearance often seen in Midwestern American Chinese restaurants. Fried rice is also seen in other American restaurants, even in cuisines with no native tradition of the dish. The dish is also a staple of Chinese restaurants in the United Kingdom (both “sit-in” and “takeaway”), and is very popular in the West African nations of Nigeria, Ghana and Togo, both as restaurant and as street food.