Sometimes, I write posts with the intent that maybe people will definitely read, and draw the interest of passing readers, garnering clicks for this blog. Sometimes, I write posts with the knowledge that I have something important to say, and I must say it.
This is not one of those posts.
Today, I will be writing a comprehensive ranking of the internet’s most popular Fried Rice instructional videos for no other reason than I thought it would be fun.
Uncle Roger DISGUSTED by this Egg Fried Rice Video (BBC Food)
This was what sent me down the fried rice click-hole. Uncle Roger (a character by U.K. Comedian Nigel Ng) critiques a BBC Food video by Hersha Patel. He critiques everything that Hersha does – she doesn’t use a rice cooker, she doesn’t use MSG – and it’s all amusing, and shows two ways of making a plate of fried rice: Hersha’s and Uncle Roger’s. But make no mistake, the thing that makes this video is Uncle Roger. The way he speaks, the crass things he occasionally says, and his overblown reactions to each cooking foible (“What is she doing?! She drains the rice?!”) are what makes this video.
And, if you enjoy this one, Nigel Ng and Hersha Patel did a collaborative video in which they cook together to make fried rice – proving that Hersha has a sense of humor, and can roll with the criticisms pretty well. It makes for a happy ending when watched after Uncle Roger’s scathing critique.
In review: very amusing, absolutely hilarious, fairly informative. 9/10
Fried Rice | Basics With Babish
There are few youtube cooks I respect more than Andrew Rea from Binging with Babish – perhaps, there are none. His videos in which he makes meals from movies, television, video games, etc., Binging With Babish, is excellent. But as far as its spinoff, Basics with Babish – it’s a little more inconsistent. This episode is one such example.
His fried rice looks okay, just busy – he adds in egg, shrimp, ham, frozen peas, mushrooms, garlic, soy sauce, and oyster sauce.
And just to hone in on one particular thing that Babish does here. I don’t know if I can get behind; he uses ham. I mean, Babish probably knows better than I do – he’s a better cook than I’ll expect I’d ever be – but it seems like an odd choice. And I know that pork fried rice is one of the most popular types of rice, but this feels more… crass, more American. We already must accept that the “Chinese food” Americans know is already incredibly Americanized – but adding ham feels like the next degree of appropriation.
1 Dollar Fried Rice | But Cheaper
I’m quite mixed on this video. It has a lot of the staples found in youtube videos of every genre. It’s part of a broader series called “But Cheaper,” explaining how to make high-quality food on a budget. The video lives up to its promise of making a serving of fried rice for $1.15. It’s interesting to have kind of a guiding concept beyond just “Let’s fry rice!” And it also falls into a common and great youtube trope is that the video includes a lot of B-Roll – footage that isn’t technically crucial, but is beautiful and high-definition.
But it has a lot of weaker aspects that are common to youtube videos of all stripes – the creator here concludes the video with an improvised rap about the rice which is fairly cringe, and also keeps in a lot of content that other cooking videos wouldn’t – like when he looks out his window and says he hopes his neighbors aren’t watching.
But as far as the content of the video, this cook goes into a fair amount of detail about various methods of cooking rice, and that you need to use leftover rice. The rice looks fairly good, even though he fries the green part of green onions that are approximately 2 inches long, but it doesn’t look unappetizing, ultimately. And perhaps most importantly, he advocates STRONGLY for washing your rice, which is crucial.
In review: DON’T end your video with a cringe rap, but DO wash rice before cooking it 7.5/10
Gordon Ramsay’s Spicy Fried Rice Recipe from Indonesia
The production value of this video is out of this world – which is what you’d expect from Gordon Ramsay. The backdrop is what makes it. As the title notes, Gordon Ramsay is making this in Indonesia, against a vista of mountains. It’s lovely to watch.
My issue with Gordon Ramsay’s recipe here is the inaccessibility – he concludes the video by saying “Who needs a takeaway when you can do it yourself” but I don’t really feel like I could do something like this, both in terms of skill and what he uses. Not all of us have these giant woks and difficult-to-find Indonesian spices, Gordon, no need to rub it in.
Plus the video is very stressful. It’s still entertaining, but there’s a frenetic energy that makes this just a little bit difficult to enjoy.
In review: unique, frenetic, and visually intriguing. Not accessible. 6.5/10
One thing I haven’t yet had a chance to watch – Uncle Roger reviewing this video. Can’t wait!
Your Kids Will Love These 4 Fried Rice Ideas – Buzzfeed Tasty
I don’t have any real objections with the rice here. It looks fine. Relative to all the other videos on this list, it just seems rather manufactured. I generally like Tasty’s videos. I even made this sushi dip recipe from them a while back, and it came out exceedingly well – far better than anyone would expect. On the other hand, fried rice is something that is maybe too simple for Tasty’s style of video – teaching you how to make complex recipes. By contrast, fried rice is fairly simple.
But these four fried rice recipes don’t look like anything special. They have teriyaki chicken, beef-and-broccoli, veggie, and pineapple-and-ham. Again, ham is used here, which I don’t love. And I can appreciate the idea of offering multiple recipes in the same video, but outside of the protein, nothing is too different from recipe to recipe. The video from Aaron and Claire shows how you can vary it from recipe to recipe, in all the small, subtle ways. These four recipes, aside from their proteins, are no different, there’s no new techniques – after the second recipe, it becomes honestly, a little boring.
In review: recipes are all fairly similar, the video is too polished, the rice looks fine, I guess. 6/10
5 Minute Easy Fried Rice (Aaron and Claire)
I read the comments after finishing this video to see what people thought about it, and I saw people noting how frequently the guy in the video said “Don’t worry about it!” and from then on, I was just more endeared to this man and the way he spoke. Every time he says “Don’t worry about it” makes me so happy. It was a lot like Uncle Roger, except this is an actual person, and not just a character. He makes multiple recipes – but, unlike Tasty, the recipes are actually different, and unique! And then he gets his partner to come by and give feedback. This makes the video personal, but not too personal.
He cooks Egg Fried Rice, Shrimp Fried Rice, Bacon-Pork Fried Rice, and Kimchi Fried Rice, all of which manage to be different enough, without being so different. He makes a lot of decisions that I wouldn’t think to make, but his taste-tester-partner Claire, and she gives feedback on each rice. They’re all unique, fun, and good. I feel like I got more out of this than I did out of Tasty’s video or the $1 rice video.
In review: lively and fun, personal, informative. 9/10
Fried Rice – Japanese Style
Isn’t this just the most aesthetically pleasing video you’ve ever seen?! Uncle Roger was the video that sent me down the fried-rice-video rabbit hole, but this is what inspired me to write this post.
This is the most beautiful fried rice video I have ever seen. As opposed to the lack of active commentary on Tasty, the silence here just so perfectly sets the mood.
I know I knocked Gordon Ramsay’s video for being inaccessible, and you’d think this would be the same because it’s cooked on a hibachi – most people don’t own a hibachi in their kitchen. That being said, it somehow does manage to feel… rather doable. The fried rice in this video doesn’t use anything too complex. All the ingredients are mentioned in the description; they only use fat (i.e. butter), garlic, onion, rice, and egg, topped with fried onion. One technique I’ve taken from the video is that the egg is cracked directly into the rice, then stirred and scrambled in from there. I can’t quite explain why, but doing this just makes it leaps and bounds better.
I have found myself returning to this video even when I’m not looking for cooking inspiration; sometimes, I watch it just to relax.
In review: simple, accessible, perfect, calming. Looks delicious. 10/10
To end with a question, I could ask which fried rice looks the most delicious, but fuck it, instead, share your fried rice in the comments! Let me know how you cook it – do you use ham? Please don’t tell me you use ham. Please? Please.