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“Lettuce” make your fried rice delicious…


Alice’s is a great little Chinese restaurant around the corner from my house in San Francisco. My family always gets takeout because it makes eating at home with a four-year-old easier. But on a recent school holiday, my son and I decided to go out for a “date lunch”. Because we picked Alice’s I learned that they add iceberg lettuce to their fried rice, but only when you eat in. Shredded blades of iceberg are stirred into the rice just before it’s plated. The beautiful color, crunchy texture, and juiciness turned this side dish into the star of the meal. The Chinese have long been cooking with a variety of lettuce called san choi in Cantonese (luo kui in Mandarin), which looks like romaine but resembles iceberg in texture. The leaves are stirred into soups—like West Lake Fish Soup—for texture and color, stir-fried with soy sauce and sesame oil for a quick and economical side dish, or added to a dish when it needs to feed a few more. No matter what the reason, it’s always good. You can bet that the next time I make Fried Rice (Vol. Nº 6, The Grocery Store, page 63) for dinner, I’ll be sure to add a handful of shredded green goodness to it.—Julia Lee

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