S’pore eatery seeks participants of International Fried Rice Competition held 20 years ago at Downtown East

Who doesn't love fried rice?

Ashley Tan | October 19, 2021, 06:45 PM

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Twenty years ago, Singapore played host to what was apparently the world's first ever fried rice competition.

Some 40,000 people turned up at Downtown East in July 2001 to either cook up a storm or spectate for the competition's Grand Final.

Fried rice competition

The event was hosted by fried rice restaurant Chen Fu Ji, and included a "student" category, with participants from various Singapore schools.

A YouTube video posted by Roger Koh, the owner of Chen Fu Ji, claimed that chefs from all over the world travelled down to join the competition.

Although Chen Fu Ji claimed that the competition is the first of its kind in the world, the narrator in Koh's video stated that the competition occurs every year.

A previous video purportedly shows another fried rice competition taking place in 1997.

Chen Fu Ji shared that it took around three months for the competition in 2001 to progress to the final stage.

Here are some of their finished products, all beautifully plated.

Photo from Chen Fu Ji / FB

Which were then reviewed by a panel of judges.

Photo from Chen Fu Ji / FB

Photo from Chen Fu Ji / FB

And this was the winning plate of fried rice.

The winner of the competition, who Chen Fu Ji revealed as one Chef Alvin, walked away with US$10,000 (around S$17,500 in 2001).

These nostalgic photos from two decades ago were shared by Chen Fu Ji in a Facebook post on Oct. 17.

The restaurant added that the creations from the competition have "helped to raise the standard of fried rice in Singapore", and hoped its post would jolt some fond memories of the event.

It is also searching for anyone who had attended or was part of the competition, urging them to come forward so the restaurant can "show [their] appreciation".

With a free plate of fried rice, perhaps?

Photo from Chen Fu Ji / FB

You can view Chen Fu Ji's full post here.

Started in the 1950s

Chen Fu Ji has been around since the 1950s, its humble origins a small shop in Chinatown.

It became famous for its Gold Plated Fried Rice, which costs S$25, according to AsiaOne.

Chen Fu Ji reportedly closed its Riverside Point outlet in 2016, the last of its 10 outlets, all of which has shut down due to what Koh had cited as high rental and declining business.

However, it seems that Chen Fu Ji has made a comeback, with an outlet at 279 Jalan Besar, under a new name called "The Ultimate Fried Rice".

Photo from Chen Fu Ji / Google Maps

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Top photo from Chen Fu Ji / FB