September 20th

National Fried Rice Day -

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National Fried Rice Day, celebrated on September 20th every year, is a culinary holiday dedicated to the appreciation of fried rice, a staple dish enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Fried rice, which originated from the Chinese cuisine, is a versatile and beloved dish that has transcended its cultural roots to become a global comfort food. It is made by stir-frying cooked rice with a variety of ingredients such as vegetables, proteins like chicken, pork, shrimp, or tofu, and a mix of seasonings including soy sauce, garlic, scallions, and sometimes egg.

The beauty of fried rice lies in its adaptability – it can be customized to suit different dietary preferences and incorporate leftover ingredients, making it both a delicious and practical meal. National Fried Rice Day encourages food enthusiasts to indulge in their favorite version of the dish, whether it be a classic like Yangzhou fried rice, a spicy rendition with a kick of heat, or an innovative fusion that blends different culinary traditions.

History of National Fried Rice Day

The origins of National Fried Rice Day are tied to a relatively recent marketing initiative by the American restaurant chain Benihana, which is renowned for its Japanese teppanyaki-style cuisine. The chain declared the first celebration of this culinary-themed day on September 20, 2018, in a bid to pay homage to fried rice, a dish integral to its menu and much adored by its patrons.

Benihana’s launch of this day reflects a larger trend where businesses craft their own commemorative days as a strategic move to boost brand visibility and foster customer engagement. In the spirit of the event, Benihana encouraged its diners to not only tuck into their famed fried rice but also to share their gastronomic experiences on social media platforms, often accompanied by incentives such as complimentary servings and online contests.

Despite its commercial origin, National Fried Rice Day has also come to highlight the significance of this dish, which enjoys immense popularity and is widely recognized in different cuisines across the globe. The day has gone beyond a mere marketing ploy to become a nod to the dish’s rich cultural diversity, with each iteration—be it the classic Yangzhou style from China, the sweet and tangy Thai pineapple fried rice or the spicy Korean kimchi fried rice—telling its own unique culinary tale.

National Fried Rice Day has carved out a niche among gourmets and casual diners alike. They mark the day by indulging in the savory delight of fried rice, sharing recipes, and experimenting with its multiple variations, thereby fostering a global appreciation for this humble yet universally cherished dish.

National Fried Rice Day Timeline

Origin of fried rice

The earliest mention of fried rice is from the Sui Dynasty in China.

Yuan Dynasty

The dish evolves over centuries, possibly becoming more popular during the Mongol-founded Yuan Dynasty, with variations spreading across China.

Ming Dynasty

Cookbooks from the Ming Dynasty provide recipes for different types of fried rice, showing its integration into Chinese cuisine.

Early 20th Century

Chinese immigration to other parts of the world begins to introduce fried rice and other Chinese dishes to various countries, leading to new variations.

Global Popularity

Fried rice gains widespread popularity internationally as Chinese restaurants become common in many countries, with localized versions emerging.

Inception of National Fried Rice Day

Benihana, an American restaurant chain, establishes September 20 as National Fried Rice Day.

Ideas to Celebrate National Fried Rice Day

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Fried Rice Cook-Off

Invite friends and family over for a fried rice cook-off. Each person can bring their own unique ingredients and compete to see who can create the most delicious or inventive fried rice dish. Set up a tasting station for everyone to sample the different recipes and vote on their favorites.

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Cultural Exploration with Fried Rice

Celebrate the different ways fried rice is prepared around the world. Choose several recipes from various countries, such as Chinese Yangzhou, Thai pineapple, Indonesian nasi goreng, or Korean kimchi fried rice. Prepare each dish and have a tasting party to explore the diverse flavors and techniques used in different cultures.

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Fried Rice Movie Night

Host a cozy movie night with a side of fried rice. Choose films that feature scenes with iconic fried rice moments, like 'Eat Drink Man Woman' or 'The Joy Luck Club', and enjoy a night of cinema paired with a bowl of warm, comforting fried rice.

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Fried Rice Sampling Tour

If you live in an area with multiple Chinese or Asian fusion restaurants, organize a fried rice sampling tour. Visit several local eateries to taste their take on this beloved dish. Make sure to take notes and discuss with your group which versions you liked best.

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Fried Rice Recipe Exchange

Coordinate a recipe exchange specifically for fried rice recipes. Participants can contribute their favorite or family heirloom recipes. Compile them into a shared document or blog post to create a community resource celebrating the diversity of fried rice.

8 Interesting Facts About Fried Rice


A Global Staple with Chinese Origins

Fried rice is believed to have originated in China during the Sui Dynasty. Chinese fried rice, or 'chǎofàn' in Mandarin, typically includes ingredients like rice, eggs, vegetables, and some form of meat or seafood. It is a versatile dish that can be found in various forms across the world.


Invention from Leftovers

Fried rice was originally created as a way to use leftover rice. Cooks in China found that by stir-frying the rice with a few additional ingredients, they could transform it into a delicious new meal. Today, many people still use fried rice as a method to repurpose leftover rice.


Day-Old Rice is Key

For the best textured fried rice, day-old rice is often recommended because it has less moisture compared to freshly cooked rice. This results in a less sticky and more separate grain when fried, which is a signature characteristic of good fried rice.


Varied by Region and Country

Different regions and countries have their own versions of fried rice, adapting the dish to local tastes and available ingredients. For example, Thai fried rice includes flavors like tamarind, fish sauce, and lime, while Japanese fried rice, or 'chahan', often includes mirin and uses short-grain rice.


Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner

In some cultures, fried rice is not just a lunch or dinner food; it's also eaten for breakfast. In Indonesia, for example, 'nasi goreng', a local variant of fried rice, is a popular breakfast dish, typically enjoyed with a fried egg on top.


Street Food to Fine Dining

Fried rice can range from a simple street food snack to an elaborate dish in fine dining restaurants. High-end versions might include luxurious ingredients like lobster, truffles, or saffron to elevate the dish to gourmet status.


World Record Achievements

Fried rice has been the subject of world record attempts. For instance, the largest serving of fried rice was recorded by the Turkey Culinary Federation in Bolu, Turkey, in 2015, weighing in at an impressive 3,150 kilograms (6,945.18 pounds).


Fried Rice Syndrome

Despite its deliciousness, fried rice must be handled properly to avoid foodborne illness. 'Fried rice syndrome' is a term associated with the bacteria Bacillus cereus, which can survive even after reheating if the rice is left at room temperature for too long. Proper storage and reheating are essential to enjoy this dish safely.

National Fried Rice Day FAQs

Next National Fried Rice Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 September 20th Wednesday
2024 September 20th Friday
2025 September 20th Saturday
2026 September 20th Sunday
2027 September 20th Monday
What is the pattern? Every September 20th

National Fried Rice Day Word Search

  • Fried
  • Rice
  • Stirfry
  • SoySauce
  • Eggs
  • Tasty