First of all, if you are an American, you probably won’t know about it.
'American Fried Rice' is the invention of some Thai person. I don’t know how, nor do I know who, but I do know that I grew up with it. It is rice mixed with ketchup and then you have hot dog sausage, ham, a sunny side up egg, raisins, and voila - you have American Fried Rice - something which I'm sure confuses the hell out of Americans as does the rest of the world alike.
I suspect that it may come from when the Americans set their feet down in Thailand during the Cold War. Just like many other inventions that were influenced by the American troops during that time - not the least being sin-city 'Pattaya', some Thais may have been feeling particularly creative one day and thus threw hot dogs, ketchup and ham together to make this dish that didn't previously exist.
My mom loves American Fried Rice. To her, it’s a luxury because they used to only have it in restaurants and hotels. Now that I’m a lot older, and have become a little more sophisticated, I now know that American Fried Rice is a fraud! It isn’t real and luxury hotels never actually had it.
She’ll always be asking me to order this dish when we go to hotels nowadays and I have to tell her they don’t have it. Then, she would complain and go on about 'what kind of luxury hotel wouldn’t have American Fried Rice?'.
She would also ask which hotels belong to American hotel brands. I often take her to Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok because we can walk around their garden and get Thai Milk Tea. They also have a Thai menu, so my mom asked for American Fried Rice. Obviously, they didn’t have it and I don’t blame them.
I finally told her that American Fried Rice is a fraud just like Singaporean Cendol (it’s a green rice flour jelly in coconut milk) and Tokyo Pancake (It’s a pancake with custard filling or hotdog filling) - They don’t have any of those things in their countries. We Thais invented them and slapped their name on it as a branding exercise - a scam.
It's just like “fusion-confusion” cuisine these days, except American Fried Rice never costs that much anywhere.
Even having explained it to her and I think she now kinda gets it, she still wants her American Fried Rice which can only be found in some supermarkets and never in any of the international hotel chains that I go to. To date, no F&B directors know what the F*** American Fried Rice is.
The moral of the story is, there’s a lot to be discovered when it comes to local food and how locals like their food. Also, remember that your hotel isn't for everyone and not everyone is your target audience … like my mom!
Photo Credit from FoodTravelTV