Minneapolis fry-off 2010

The best fried rice near campus

Minneapolis fry-off 2010

Conrad Schoenleber


The rules: one order of pork fried rice ordered during a busy period; in this case, 7 p.m. âÄîdinner time. The goal: Peg the best and most affordable fried rice in town.

Making fried rice is a simple, yet precise endeavor. Each restaurant prides itself on its individual recipe choices and its special extra ingredient.

âÄúOld style Cantonese-American fried rice will be dark, because of the soy sauce used. Hong Kong style fried rice will be lighter and less salty,âÄù Harry Niletti, a food critic for the website Chowhound.com, said.

Regardless of the style, there are certain base ingredients to each fried rice dish: Eggs, salt, green onions, soy sauce, cooking oil and, of course, rice. These are all stir-fried together with whatever extra ingredients are chosen and then served.

Now on to the battle:


Village Wok

Where: 610 Washington Ave. SE

Wait: Five minutes

Cost: $5.95

Portion: Around 16 ounces


This fried rice is classic Cantonese style with a deep brown color. The first bite is salty with a strong taste of soy sauce. ItâÄôs salty enough that continued eating leads to a dry mouth. The fried rice has sizable chunks of pork, the largest of any of the restaurants visited. ItâÄôs well cooked and seasoned with a tang of jerky âÄî though some more vegetables would be nice. ItâÄôs a little lacking in the peas, carrots and onions. For $5.95 this is the cheapest fried rice you can find in the University of Minnesota area, if not anywhere in Minneapolis. ItâÄôs a cheap way to soak up all the toxins from the late night, $50, whiskey-coke binge you went on.




Shuang Cheng Restaurant

Where: 1320 4th St. SE

Wait: Less than 5 minutes

Cost: $7.06

Portion: Around 16 ounces


This is classic Cantonese fried rice as well. It has a very brown color, darker than that of Village Wok. Things take a dark turn after the first bite with salty flavor that demands a drink of water immediately after. It does, however, have a pleasant oyster sauce seasoning that makes it stand out a little bit from other restaurantsâÄô fried rice. This one is also lacking in the vegetables, but does have sizeable portions of green onions. The pork portions are tiny, chopped into puny fragments that are borderline unnoticeable. There are also not very many of them, adding insult to this pork injury. This is the worst of the fried rice reviewed.




Hong Kong Noodles

Where: 901 Washington Ave. SE

Wait: 8 minutes

Cost: $8.57

Portion: Around 20 ounces


Not surprisingly, this fried rice is cooked Hong Kong style. It has a light, yellow color that just seems cleaner than the Cantonese style and is significantly less salty. ItâÄôs easier for a student to consume 20 ounces of this fried rice without feeling like purging than it is with the Cantonese style. While it is slightly more expensive than the rest, Hong Kong Noodle makes up for it by giving significantly larger portions. There is a healthy amount of vegetables, with carrots and peas in abundance. The pork, however, is once again lacking. The portions, while larger than that of Shuang Cheng, are small enough that they only slightly contribute to the overall taste of the fried rice. ThereâÄôs just not enough in there. WhatâÄôs the point of ordering pork fried rice if thereâÄôs no pork? This is tastier fried rice, but it would be great if Hong Kong noodle spent the extra dime and didnâÄôt skimp on the pig.





Where: 1417 4th St. SE

Wait: 6 minutes

Cost: $6.95

Portion: Around 20 ounces


After picking up this fried rice, itâÄôs immediately obvious that this is the landslide winner of the fried rice battle. The rice is Hong Kong style with a fresh and satisfying taste. While fried rice is often best used as a side dish, this could easily be a main course, especially with the larger portions. Peas and carrots abound and the pork is plentiful. The green onions add a zest when the simpler flavor begins to bore.

Not only does Pagoda have the best fried rice but itâÄôs also the most student-friendly, with delivery and an extensive online menu ideal for the digital generation.

âÄúWe want to make the best Chinese food at the lowest price in the area,âÄù co-owner Justin Lin said. âÄúWe try to stay competitive while also using quality ingredients.âÄù