21 January, 2020, 07:43

Fried Rice Hut cooks up eccentric Asian for under $9

The entire menu is under $10.

Fried Rice Hut quietly opened last week at 1655 S. Alvernon Way.

The small restaurant space previously housed Taco Shop and Los Betos Mexican Food. The vibe is still take-out casual with counter service and bright turmeric and white walls.

“We want food that people in this neighborhood can afford to eat every day,” said Hak Ghun, who owns Fried Rice Hut with chef Yuko Takatori.

As a result, the most expensive meal on the menu is $8.99.

Menu and interior at Fried Rice Hut (Credit: Jackie Tran)

At first glance, the menu appears to be standard Chinese take out with large fried rice specials at $4.99. Fried rice choices include chicken, beef, pork, and shrimp. Traditional combos ($5.99) include your choice of fried rice along with your choice of egg rolls, dumplings, or crab rangoons.

Next, Japanese items come into play. Tempura combos ($6.99) are available in chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, or fish with your choice of teriyaki, orange, sweet & sour, or Kung Pao sauce along with your choice of fried rice.

The menu starts becoming more eccentric afterwards, with options that include shrimp scampi ($8.99) and barbecue meatballs ($7.99).

“I make everything from scratch,” Takatori said. “I’ve been working on the recipes for the sauces for a long time.”

Yuko Takatori tasting fried rice at Fried Rice Hut (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Takatori has 20 years of cooking experience; she graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Scottsdale and spent time as a sushi chef and personal chef before moving to Tucson.

The rice used in the fried rice features a lower glycemic index than conventional rice, Takatori said. The fried rice is cooked and lightly seasoned to order, and less sticky than conventional fried rice. The broccoli florets are on the firmer side for a fresh crunch.

Dumplings and egg rolls are on the meatier side. The dipping sauces are on the gloppy side, so make sure to dip in the appetizers while piping hot for maximum adhesion. The sweet & sour sauce naturally pairs best with the fried appetizers, but the gingery teriyaki and spicy Kung Pao also suffice.

Dessert comes in two forms: apple cinnamon pie ($1.99) and rice pudding ($1.50). The apple pie is reminiscent of the version from McDonald’s: hot, fried crispy, and gooey. However, the apple cinnamon filling is surrounded by an egg roll wrapper and dusted with sugar. The rice pudding is simple and sweet, featuring al dente rice with a mild sweet milky pudding and a dash of cinnamon.

Dumplings and egg roll at Fried Rice Hut (Credit: Jackie Tran)

“We’re still working on everything and listening to feedback so we can get things ready for the grand opening,” Ghun said.

Operating hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday. Hours will change after the grand opening, which is scheduled for July 4.

Fried Rice Hut is located at 1655 S. Alvernon Way. Keep up with Fried Rice Hut on Instagram.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.

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