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Aug 6, 2022

Chinese Cuban Fried Rice

This Chinese Cuban fried rice, or arroz frito, is a wonderful combination of ingredients tossed together in just a few minutes. 

Chinese Cuban Fried Rice in small bowls with eggs.

There is no one recipe for Chinese Cuban fried rice. Each Cuban family has their own. However, some of the common ingredients include some sort of protein such as pork, ham, Spam, or shrimp, and soy sauce (typically dark soy sauce), or salsa china.  

Other common ingredients include bean sprouts, plantains, and Mahatma jasmine rice. What you typically don't see is a lot of ginger, garlic, or rice wine.  

Chinese Cuban Fried Rice in small bowls.

In the past, Cuba had a large population of Chinese immigrants. In fact, Cuba boasted that they had the largest Chinatown (El Barrio Chino de La Havana was over 45 square blocks) in Latin America. 

Between approximately 1838 to 1888, over 150,000 Chinese (mostly men) immigrated to Cuba as indentured servants on eight year contracts to work the sugar and tobacco fields. Once their contracts were completed, many moved back to China or emigrated to the United States (although later some moved from the U.S. to Cuba to escape discrimination in the late nineteenth century), but many stayed in Cuba and established lives and businesses in Cuba's Chinatown. 

After Castro took power, most of the Chinese store and restaurant owners had their properties confiscated by the Communist regime, so they escaped to the U.S., mostly to Miami, Puerto Rico, and New York City, re-establishing their small businesses. 

According to Grace Young, the author of Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge, an amazing cookbook containing recipes and stories from the Chinese diaspora, there were many Chinese Cuban restaurants in New York City. In one restaurant she describes (La Caridad 78, sadly closed during the pandemic), how the waiters all spoke perfect Chinese, Spanish, and English. 

Chinese Cuban Fried Rice with scallions.

Ingredients in this Chinese Cuban Fried Rice:

Jasmine Rice: Make this rice a day in advance or use pre-packaged cooked rice that you can find in the Asian section of you grocery store. It's actually pretty good. 

Dark Soy Sauce, Preferably Pearl River Bridge. The rice gets its flavor and color from dark soy sauce, which is not typical of Chinese fried rice. You'll have to order it online or find a Chinese grocery store. It's sweeter and saltier than standard soy sauce. 

Bean Sprouts. You'll probably have to find these in either an organic or Asian grocery store. A lot of standard grocery stores won't carry sprouts because of the small risk due to their warm growning conditions. If you wash your sprouts and cook them thoroughly, you will be fine. 

Protein. For this dish, I used pre-cooked bay shrimp. If you buy it frozen, be sure to thaw it and drain it thoroughly. Other proteins can include ham, pork, or Spam. 

Chinese Cuban Fried Rice Shrimp and Rice.

Other ingredients I played with were onions, eggs, scallions, red bell pepper, peas, carrots, and corn. 

You can add or leave out any of these ingredients. Substitutions are welcome! 

I also added a bit of Sazón seasoning for fun, which is a combination of achiote, cumin, coriander, salt, and other ingredients for this Latin American spice mix. Adding it is optional. 

Chinese Cuban Fried Rice Ingredients.

More Fried Rice Recipes:

Quick Shrimp Fried Rice

Kimchi Fried Rice

Zucchini Fried Rice

Shrimp and Pork Belly Fried Rice

Yang Chow Fried Rice

Stir-Fried Brown Rice with Vegetables

Chinese Cuban Fried Rice in bowls.

The Sunday Funday Group, hosted this week by Sneha's Recipe, is featuring recipes with sprouts. Be sure to check out everyone's recipes featuring sprouts! 

Originally published February, 2014 and updated August, 2022 with an updated recipe, recipe card, and photos. 

Chinese Cuban Fried Rice in bowls.

Chinese Cuban Fried Rice

Chinese Cuban Fried Rice
Yield: 8 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 10 MinTotal time: 30 Min
This Chinese Cuban fried rice, or arroz frito, is a wonderful combination of ingredients tossed together in just a few minutes.


  • 3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 eggs. whisked with a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch squares
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 2 cups bean sprouts, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 cup cooked bay shrimp
  • 4 cups cold cooked day-old rice
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced, 2 tablespoons reserved
  • 1/2 teaspoon sazón seasoning (optional), or 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Swirl 1 tablespoon of the oil in a hot wok. add the egg and cook and scramble until the egg is just done but still soft. Remove the egg to a plate and cut into small pieces. Set aside.
  2. Swirl an additional tablespoon of oil into a hot wok. Add the onion and stir for 30 seconds. Add the bell pepper, peas and carrots, and corn, and stir fry for one minute.
  3. Add the sprouts and shrimp and stir fry for 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a plate.
  4. Add 1 more tablespoon of oil to the hot wok and heat through. Add the rice and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and stir fry for 1 minute more.
  5. Add back the shrimp, egg, and vegetable mixture.
  6. Add the scallions and sazón seasoning (or salt) and stir fry for one minute more. Serve, sprinkled with the reserved scallions.

Nutrition Facts



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Fried Rice
Side dish
Chinese, Cuban
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Would you like to comment?

  1. Cuban Chinese? And a simple recipe? I'm doubly intrigued!

    1. It's really good. The book is amazing with all of the recipes from the Chinese diaspora.

  2. Nice shot of your mise en place. ;) I was expecting to use some type of spice (adobo/paprika) for this to be "Cuban", not just dark soy. It's amazing that so few ingredients can taste so good. Lovely pictures as always.

  3. This bowl of rice looks so delicious!

  4. Chinese Immigrants definitely have left a culinary mark whenever they have settled. A wholesome and filling rice dish. Looks very inviting.

  5. Love the delicious fried rice. Simple to put together.


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