I always thought the fried rice has some kind of American influence. Indeed it has a fascinating history and is crossover food.
The common explanation and assumption is that the U.S.A. abbreviation stands for Udang (Shrimps), Sotong (Squid) and Ayam (Chicken). There’s also an omelette on top or wrapped around the fried rice.
Its real origin or influence ought to be the American Fried Rice (ข้าวผัดอเมริกัน) dish, invented by the Thais during the Vietnam War.
It has American side ingredients like fried chicken, omelette, hot dogs and ketchup. The Americanization of the spicy Thai fried rice was to cater to American soldiers stationed in Thailand during the war.
Today, it can be found in the menu of Thai restaurants in the States and is listed as “Khao Pad American”.
Not surprisingly, many Tom Yam and Nasi Pattaya stalls serve this dish here. Locally, this is a dish where no two restaurants serve it the same way.
This one is from Restoran Studio 5 in Ampang Jaya. Even the 3 chefs in the 3 shifts here, cook it differently. Show this pic if you want the same version.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 1600, f13, 1/80 sec.
I asked a friendly local for food recommendations. He suggested the Chinese Tom Yum stall down the road and I went there right away. Since the shop was quite busy, service was understandably slow. So I cleaned my lenses and a lady finally came to take my order.
She said there is no Tom Yam at her shop. Wrong place, wrong corner. Haha. She drew me a map and gave me directions as that other stall has no signboard or name. I ordered a drink, feeling bad that I used her table and received help. She said I shouldn’t feel bad and that I should hurry as the other stall might close soon. What wonderful people.
Finally found the real Tom Yum stall and they were friendly too, even though they are famous among locals. I ordered seafood Tom Yum with Kuey Teow (Chinese Fettuccine). It came with three fairly big (and fresh) prawns, mussels, loads of cuttlefishes and squids. Amazing.
Even more amazed to find out it is only RM 5.50 for the sumptuous bowl!
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f9, 1/1250 sec.
Tasty Mee Siam Special with Sambal Sotong (spicy cuttlefish) in Selayang; at the start of my northbound adventure. The stir-fried vermicelli dish is a fusion of Chinese, Malay and Thai flavours. A very basic version used to be school canteen food.
Kluang Rail Coffee is purportedly the only authentic outlet outside Kluang officially connected with the original Kluang Railway Station Coffee in Kluang, Johor.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 1600, f7.1, 1/60 sec.