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Sep 12, 2012 02:32 PM

young chow fried rice vs house fried rice

I'm in the mood for Chinese takeout tonight and in my perusal of the menu spotted Young Chow fried rice. I did a quick google search and it seemed similar/same as house fried rice but the menu also has this listed. The only difference is the Young Chow is listed as (white style). Any idea the difference between these two? Is Young Chow just what I think of as house fried rice with white grains instead of the typical yellow grains of other fried rice varieties?

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  1. I think there are hundreds (if not more) types of house fried rice in american chinese food. I dunno about the "typical yellow grains" as most fried rice I know is usually brown (but then again, I live in Canada). Not brown rice, but the restaurant's regular, steamed, white rice browned from cooking (wok sauteeing) with soy.
    My interpretation is that house fried rice is usually regular fried rice with more "goodies" in it; maybe shrimp, maybe bbqed pork, maybe bean sprouts, maybe chicken, etc etc.
    Young Chow, as I've had it, generally has no soy (thus lighter in color), but picked up color (and unique flavor) from wok hai (fiercely hot wok), usually has a frozen mix of peas and carrots (sometimes lima beans sometimes corn niblets), onion, shrimp, and bits of chinese sausage (the sausage is a big part of the difference, I think), and egg.
    To me,
    Young Chow:

    4 Replies
    1. re: porker

      Yea, the pictures you posted are consistent with my google search. I think the "yellow rice" at my local place is due to the addition of saffron ( At my other usual place, the fried rice is more of what you posted for house fried rice and I assume is brown due to more soy sauce. I guess the "white style" would explain the lack of saffron and soy sauce. hmm...decisions, decisions...

      1. re: fldhkybnva

        It depends on my mood *and* the place.
        Usually the house rice is very moist, very salty, and rich.
        The Young Chow, I think, depends on the wok hai factor. If done right, the rice takes on a...a...I wanna say "burnt" flavor, but thats not it. I simply call it wok hai (perhaps wok hei or wok hay). If not done right, its simply a heated mix of rice and other ingredients.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          I seriously doubt that many Chinese restaurants would use saffron in anything. There's lots of cheaper ways to get a 'yellow' color in Chinese food.

          1. re: Puffin3

            Whoopsies, I immediately felt that wasn't the ingredient I was looking for...brain fart...I meant to say turmeric powder

      2. "freshly" made rice vs. a day old rice (which is better for fried rice IMO) ?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Maximilien

          Don't think there's a right or wrong answer in using freshly cooked rice vs day old/leftovers, the most important thing is the cooking technique with the wok, the temperature and timing control of wok stir fry. Some prefer a dryer end result and some prefer some moisture.

        2. Yeung Chow (Yangzhou) fried rice (揚州炒飯) has diced/chopped char-siu (Chinese BBQ pork) (叉燒) as the essential ingredient. The fried rice acquires the caramelized/sweetish flavor of the char-siu. Other common ingredients include peas, diced carrots, "scrambled" egg/omelet, etc - but usually no leafy greens.

          "House fried rice" could be anything, as others here have said.

          9 Replies
          1. re: huiray

            Wow, that sounds yummy. I think I will give it a try.

            1. re: fldhkybnva


              Of course, if the char-siu used is inferior (like those red-dyed pieces of dried-out pork that el cheapo places try to pass off as char-siu) then the fried rice will lack the taste imparted to it by properly made, caramelized, fatty/lean succulent stuff.

            2. re: huiray

              Not knowing the true roots of the dish, but rather from personal experience, I would have thought chinese sausage, Lap Cheong (臘腸), was the essential ingredient.

              1. re: porker

                Are these ingredients just not included in the regular house fried rice?

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  I'm thinking house fried rice can have any or all or none of the above - its purely the choice of the cook or the restaurant as to what goes in.
                  I think Yeung Chow is a specific dish with specific ingredients cooked a certain way.

                  1. re: porker

                    'House' fried rice is basically anything that is left over from the day before. That may include some items that were untouched from customers plates in some restaurants. That practice isn't only used in some Chinese restaurants BTW.

                    1. re: Puffin3

                      OK, makes sense. I guess my next "struggle" will be shrimp fried rice vs young chow...tough tough decisions.

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        Yeung Chow fried rice frequently has shrimp in it.

                2. re: porker

                  The fried rice that is known as "Yeung Chow" (or Yangzhou) fried rice ("chow fan") in SE Asia and Southern China is typified by the use of char-siu. I imagine the use of lap-cheong is a substitution or adaption or variation, call it what you will. The "style" of the dish doubtless plays a part, see the images here:

                  It is true that the more commonly known "Yeung Chow" fried rice is said to be the Guangzhou (Canton) version, which would also appear to be the version more known outside China and in North America. The dish may not actually have been invented in Yangzhou, although nowadays the dish - if made IN Yangzhou - has certain specified ingredients which do not include either lap-cheong or char-siu. NB: Yangzhou is north of Shanghai, quite far from Guangzhou (Canton).

              2. I think we need to address the big white elephant in this discussion. If you're getting Chinese food from a place that serves yellow food-colored fried rice, you're going to a pretty shitty place. Even if they serve yangchow fried rice, it's probably going to pale in comparison to one done right. Just be aware that your mileage may vary.

                4 Replies
                1. re: E Eto

                  Well, yes. I'd hate to start the traditional vs non-traditional Chinese food debate but sometimes the shitty place hits the spot. The nature of the awning type Chinese takeout place is always kept in perspective when gauging my expectations of most products. Also the rice is not a bright highlighter yellow (more of the color Indian style rice hence the reference to turmeric above, but is definitely not the usual brown color that I am familiar with at most places).

                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    As one cook of such a Chinese takeout explained to me (a Chinese customer), the one thing that makes fried rice YangZhou is the addition of "curry", hence the yellowish color.

                    But "curry" means different things to folks from different cultures. To prepare the dish at home, simply buy curry powder (yellow in color) from a Chinese grocery store if you are cooking Chinese but use Japanese curry blocks (borwn in color) if you are cooking Japanese. To cook Thai or Indian, I'd follow the recipes and only use what ingredients are called for. The curry situation there is more complicated.

                    1. re: borntolovefood

                      Curry powder is perfectly fine if used in a true Hong Kong style restaurant serving rice plates/noodles (carb based foods), for dishes like Singaporean style stir fried vermicelli (which is actually a Cantonese invention), or Chao Kwai Teow (bears very little resemblance to the Malaysia/Singapore versions), or if making something like curry beef brisket (shortcut version) or curry chicken with a rice plate. For fried rice specifically? Mostly unheard of in authentic Cantonese places, no idea about American Chinese restaurants.

                      1. re: K K

                        Unheard of in authentic cantonese places, perhaps.

                        For most Chinese places in the US, the truth is they serve what they think the public expect and would tolerate, not what some of us native Chinese were familiar with prior to coming to this country.

                2. Fried rice is one of those dishes that's basically whatever you want to make of it. I've seen Yang Chow fried rice made differently in different restaurants. House special fried rice is literally whatever the cook wants to put into it. My personal "House Fried Rice" is cooked with Hebrew National hot dogs.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: raytamsgv

                    It a little hard to say what the official difference is, but around me, there doesn't seem to be one. A lot of the resto's I go to use the term Yang Chow interchangable with House Special (or Ten Ingredients or Subgum) to describe the fried rice that has a little bit of every one of the above meats in it (chicken, pork, shrimp, sometimes beef). Some are darker, some are lighter, but I can't think of anywhere where the color changes much trough the fried rice as a whole (that is, a place where the Yang Chow fried rice is noticably darker or lighter in color than say the Chicken fried rice). I also don't think I've seen a place where there were two options i.e. somewhere where there was a Yang Chow fried rice and a House Special Fried rice on the same menu (though it may have once or twice, I don't eat a lot of fried rice, so my eyes tend to sort of glance over that section.

                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                      Yea, that is why I was confused. The presence of both house special fried rice and Young Chow fried rice (white style) on the menu.

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        To my mind it's sort of similar to places where they is both House Special Mai Fun and Ha Moon Mai Fun on the menu. Okay, in that case there is a little difference, Ha Moon has chunks of pickled vegetables and ham whereas HS usually doesn't (and HS can have beef bits, which HM never does) but otherwise, they tend to be pretty similar.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          I think It might be an American regional thing where the management might say "Even though it ain't exactly right, lets call it Yeung Chow. It sounds fancy for the menu and the gweilo won't know the difference anyway."

                        2. re: jumpingmonk

                          I was looking at the menu at Danny Ng's here in Manhattan and thought of this thread.
                          The Young Chow Fried Rice (Ham, Roast Pork and Shrimp) is 8.95 and the House Special Fried Rice is 12.95. Based on the price difference I'm inclined to think it isn't the same thing, at least in this restaurant. I'm going to order both next time just to see what the difference is.
                          Also took a quick look at Lan Sheng's menu. The Young Chow Fried Rice (chicken, Pork, Shrimp and veggies) is 8.95. The House Special Fried Rice is also 8.95 but lists diced cured pork, yibin yacai, onion scallion and egg.
                          I'm going to have to start sampling more HSFR and YCFR to see what the differences are.

                          1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                            That was also my next approach - order both and compare. There is always someone who is willing to eat some leftover fried rice right?

                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                              Fried rice by definition is "leftover". It's the quiddity of what makes good fried rice, good.

                        3. re: raytamsgv

                          My personal "House Fried Rice" is cooked with Hebrew National hot dogs.

                          If you add in ketchup, that would be my "House Fried Rice".

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Swap out the hot dog with spam and you just might have something.

                            1. re: porker

                              Actually, I think that Ipse just wants to have his House Fried Rice kosher.