The 10 Best Fried Rice Dishes in Los Angeles
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 intended to be an afterthought. Many Asian restaurants in L.A. take their fried rice seriously, featuring vibrant ingredients prepared in a variety of compelling ways. Follow this grain-lined path of 10 fried rice triumphs, listed in alphabetical order.
Ayara Thai, located on a side street near LAX, is named after beloved Thai elephants. Chef Vanda Asapahu and family debuted their restaurant in 2004; her mom hails from northern Thailand and her dad from central Thailand, so you’ll find influences from both regions on the menu. Crab fried rice ($12) uses real crab meat; a claw rises from beneath the mound like some sort of zombie crustacean. Ayara's rice is fluffy and folded with scallions, onions and scrambled egg. Garnishes include cilantro, sliced cucumber and a squeeze of lime. 6245 W. 87th St., Westchester; (310) 410-8848, ayarathaicuisine.com.
Chef Kwang Uh and partner Matthew Kim preside over Baroo, a “free-style experimental kitchen” in a Hollywood strip mall. In a matter of months, they have built a following for their fermentation-fueled cuisine — without the benefit of a sign. A baroo is a bowl that Buddhist monks keep for a lifetime, and they would no doubt appreciate filling it with the kimchi fried rice ($9) here, which is unlike any kimchi fried rice in L.A. Amira basmati rice hosts fermented pineapple kimchi, a jiggling 63-degree-Celsius sous-vide egg sprinkled with toasted buckwheat and quinoa, a quenelle of gremolata, pineapple jalapeño salsa, vivid purple potato chips, nori strips, spices and a microgreens garnish. The dish is gluten-free and vegetarian, but you can add bacon and Spanish chorizo for two dollars extra. 5706 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; (323) 819-4344, baroola.strikingly.com.
Cassia, a standout Southeast Asian brasserie from chef Bryant Ng, Kim Luu-Ng, Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan, housed in an art deco building in Santa Monica, has progressed from the late, great Spice Table in myriad ways. A larger space has allowed Ng to implement programs like house-made, Asian-inflected charcuterie, two varieties of which factor into Ng's charcuterie fried rice ($16). Smoky Chinese bacon and slivers of lap cheong join savory salted fish, along with crunchy strips of lettuce tossed with rice that’s seemingly oil-free. Cilantro adds a finishing flourish. 1314 Seventh St., Santa Monica; (310) 393-6699, cassiala.com.
This stylish restaurant from chef Chloe Tran, partner John Vu Cao and American Gonzo Food Corporation enlivened downtown Culver City with modern, “Fraiche Vietnamese” cooking. A reclaimed wood façade gives way to massive cyclo visuals, communal seating and lanterns shaped like vials, orbs and rounds. The fried rice ($13) is pleasantly funky, with big pieces of salt cod, dark-meat chicken, mildly bitter rapini and charred scallions. Cilantro and a squeeze of lime both help round out the bowl. 9810 Washington Blvd., Culver City; (310) 596-8266, east-borough.com.
This modern restaurant from chef Sang Yoon in Culver City’s Helms Bakery complex features a mellow patio, open kitchen and a style of pan-Asian cuisine that’s typically prepared with a twist. Crab fried rice ($14) features jasmine rice tossed with sweet strands of Indonesian blue crab meat, egg, pea tendrils, serrano chilies, scallions and red onion, all wok-fried in peanut oil that subtly coats the grains. 3239 Helms Ave., Culver City; (310) 204-1865, lukshon.com.Next Page
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Los Angeles dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.