Ever wondered when rice first got fried? Look no further than the Sui Dynasty, which brought us the amazing dish that is fried rice. Keep in mind this was between 589-618 AD, so there were no gas wok burners. It’s believed that fried rice was invented to put leftovers to use. Basically, taking old meats and veggies and rice then remixing them into stirred up, scrumptious sustenance.
There are actually no specific ingredients for fried rice, save for rice, as the dish was invented to cook leftovers. General ingredients have consisted of chopped veggies and meat that were from a previous meal and pre-cooked rice. The addition of an egg is also widely accepted, but whether scrambled or fried is better is up for debate. The basic building blocks of fried rice have made their way past China. The Korean variant includes over-ripened kimchi. Korean fried rice was further popularized outside of South Korea through pop culture, in particular the song “Wishes” by Byun Jin-sub, which talks about his ideal girl who cooks him kimchi fried rice. The 2010 song “I Need a Girl” by artist Taeyang takes a more feminist approach, as his ideal girl eats kimchi fried rice made by him.
From humble beginnings as a leftover remix to one of the ultimate rice dishes on the planet, it’s easy to see why fried rice is here to stay.