Kimchi Fried Rice is a popular dish offered at many casual restaurants and takeout spots in Hawaii. It's easy to make and delicious. The three main ingredients are rice, kimchi, and bacon (you can also use Spam or Portuguese sausage). Savory and full of flavor! Make this for lunch or dinner. It is a crowdpleaser ^_^
Why This Recipe Works
Kimchi Fried Rice is ever reliable and always delicious. Our family grew up eating kimchi fried rice at so many places.
We made it at home for simple meals. We ordered it from the great plate lunch spots in Hawaii and even sit down restaurants (I'm a fan of the one from Side Street Inn). Everyone in Hawaii knows about kimchi fried rice...it's a classic dish.
There are endless ways to prepare kimchi fried rice. This is a forgiving and flexible dish, like most of the recipes on the blog.
You can use more or less rice. You can replace bacon with Spam or Portuguese sauce...or use them all if you're feeling indulgent. Add more eggs or skip the eggs, as you like. Just follow the basic format of the recipe and enjoy it.
Kimchi or Kimchee or Kim Chee?
On the mainland, I see it written as kimchi.
In Hawaii, I've see kimchi, kimchee, and kim chee! I don't believe there is a "right" spelling. But no matter how it is spelled, it refers to the same thing.
Note: It's kind of like how noodles are spelled chow fun on the mainland but both chow fun and chow funn in Hawaii.
These are the ingredients you'll need:
- Kimchi - We often get homemade kimchi from friends, but you can also purchase kimchi at a Korean market or even Whole Foods (check out all the special items at Whole Foods Hawaii). If you're in Hawaii, you can also find kimchi for sale at pretty much all supermarkets...amazing ^_^
- Leftover rice - If you have leftover rice from a restaurant, great! If not, then just cook rice the night before. Fluff the rice up and leave it to dry out overnight in the refrigerator. You don't want freshly cooked rice because it will be too soft, and then you'll end up with mushy fried rice.
- Soy sauce - We use the Aloha brand or Kikkoman brand. Both work well. Kikkoman is easier to find outside of Hawaii but Aloha is a little less salty.
- Sesame oil - Kadoya is our go-to brand. Affordable and reliable.
- Green onions
Step by Step Directions
Let's get cooking ^_^
In a large pan over medium-high heat, add oil and saute the diced onion for 2 minutes.
Pro Tip: Try not to add too much oil because the bacon added in the next step will also add more oil/fat. We want flavorful but not greasy fried rice.
Add the sliced bacon and cook for 2 more minutes. Cook until the bacon is almost cooked through but not yet crispy.
Add the chopped kimchi. Keep cooking until the onion/bacon/kimchi mixture starts to dry out (and there is no liquid or kimchi juices left in the pan).
The point of having the mixture "dry out" is so that we don't end up with mushy fried rice. This is also why we use leftover rice as opposed to freshly cooked rice.
Add the leftover rice and turn the heat to medium. Use a spatula to break up the rice and stir to mix everything together. Note: Make sure to use a big enough pan otherwise it will be hard to mix the rice evenly.
Season with the soy sauce and sesame oil.
Pro Tip: Add a spoonful of oyster sauce for extra flavor!
Push the fried rice to the sides of the pan, making a hole in the center. Crack the eggs into the center of the pan and scramble the eggs (reference the third photo from top of this post to see how it should look). After the eggs are cooked, mix the eggs into the fried rice.
Finish and serve.
Turn off the heat. Add the sliced green onions. Mix and serve. Enjoy!
FAQs and Tips
No problem! You can replace the bacon with Spam or Portuguese Sausage.
...you can pan fry a sunny side up egg separately and top each individual bowl of rice with a fried egg. You can also poach eggs and put it on top of the rice. There are many ways to incorporate the egg. You can also skip the egg if you prefer. It will still be very delicious.
Yes! If you have extra time, slice a few cloves of garlic and add that in at the beginning. It's not necessary for this dish, but garlic is always welcomed ^_^
Top the dish with roasted sesame seeds to make it extra pretty.
Other Fried Rice Recipes
We love fried rice! There are so many different fried rice dishes. Here are a few favorites:
Ginger Fried Rice - Super fragrant and elegant. This fried rice will warm you inside out. It also happens to be a popular Chinese postpartum dish.
Spam Fried Rice - A classic! Yes we do eat a lot of Spam in Hawaii haha. And Spam fried rice is a great way to enjoy it.
Yang Chow Fried Rice - Our family's go-to fried rice dish featuring lap cheong and shrimp. Definitely make this.
Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe
See below and enjoy ^_^
- In a large pan over medium-high heat, add oil and saute the diced onion for 2 minutes.
- Add the sliced bacon and cook for 2 more minutes, until the bacon is almost cooked through.
- Add the chopped kimchi. Keep cooking until the onion/bacon/kimchi mixture starts to dry out (no liquid in the pan).
- Add the leftover rice and turn the heat down to medium. Use a spatula to break up the rice and stir to mix everything evenly.
- Season with the soy sauce and sesame oil.
- Push the fried rice to the sides of the pan, making a hole in the middle. Crack the eggs into the center of the pan and quickly scramble the eggs. After the eggs are cooked, mix the eggs into the fried rice.
- Turn off the heat. Add the sliced green onions. Mix and serve. Enjoy!
- Feel free to replace the bacon with Spam or Portuguese sausage.
- Egg is optional. You can also replace scrambled egg with fried eggs (top each individual bowl with a fried egg) or poached eggs.
- For extra flavor, you can add a tablespoon of oyster sauce!