Best Fried Rice | Best of Chicago 2013 | Food & Drink | Chicago Reader

Best Fried Rice 

Clockwise from top middle: arroz gordo (fat rice), fat rice noodle, bok choy with pork stock, balichang catfish, African chicken, and shaking chile whitefish

Clockwise from top middle: arroz gordo (fat rice), fat rice noodle, bok choy with pork stock, balichang catfish, African chicken, and shaking chile whitefish

Andrea Bauer

Rainbow Cuisine

When Thai street vendors make naem khao tod, they deep-fry balls of rice, scoop them hollow, smash them, and toss them with red curry paste, chiles, sugar, fish sauce, peanut, cilantro, lime juice, slivers of fresh ginger, and—most important—sour fermented ham. Why this isn't a readily available movie theater or sporting event snack in the U.S. is only because nobody knows about it. If anyone can change that it's chef Wanpen Phosawang, who makes the ultimate version of this dish. Her secret: she leaves behind a bit of the usually discarded soft white rice from the interior of the croquette, which creates an unbeatable collision of textures.

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