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Chinese Fried Rice and…It Always Rains at Easter

Easter is just a few days away and I’m reminded of a saying we have here in Sydney, ‘It always rains at Easter’ and this is despite Easter being on a different date every year.

One thing you should try to avoid at Easter is camping.  We made that mistake once, never twice!

Chinese Fried Rice

When we were first married Carl wanted to take me camping because his family holidays consisted of caravaning all over the New South Wales coast and he was convinced that as I had never been camping, was missing out on something wonderful.  Carl had a mate who was a true boy scout who loved being outdoors, sleeping in tents and tying knots in lengths of rope.  The scout and his wife, asked Carl if we would like to go camping with them at Easter at Grassy Head, a destination on the mid-north coast, seven hours north of Sydney.

We didn’t own any camping equipment so the scout told Carl he would organise everything we needed.  I wasn’t keen and said, ‘Why don’t we just rent a nice holiday house’ but the scout thought that was a shocking suggestion.

We had to be at their house the night before departure because the scout wanted to make sure we were on the road before dawn and before any other vehicle was on the road.  We spent the night sleeping on their lounge room floor with a couple of cushions behind our backs.  I hardly slept a wink.

We went in the scout’s car and it was packed to the brim with a range of things I had never seen before and all of it looked dirty and smelt musty like it had been pulled from the recesses of a mechanic’s workshop.  When we arrived at the campsite I was disappointed at the size of the parcel of land we were allocated and shocked at how the other campers were just an arm’s length away and how I had to listen in on their conversations even if I didn’t want to.

The scout put up his tent and air mattress and then started on ours.  The tent he’d borrowed for us was a piece of musty orange plastic decorated with mould and slime.  He put it up and then blew up the air mattress he had also borrowed announcing that it had a leak but not to worry because it was just a slow leak and the mattress shouldn’t flatten until the morning.

The scout’s wife asked if I would like to take a look at the beach (that couldn’t be seen from the camping ground) and I said I did but could we take umbrellas because it was now raining.  Grassy Head might be a lovely beach on a good day but the day I was there it was dark, grey and gloomy with a very rough swell.

Grassy Head

We walked back to the tents and it was now early evening and I suggested, as it was now pouring, that we eat at the Chinese restaurant I had seen that was fairly close to Grassy Head.  The scout scoffed at the idea saying that when you’re camping you’re self-sufficient and don’t dine in restaurants so he and Carl cooked up some sort of meal on a little camp stove kept dry by umbrellas.

I went to bed fairly early as there wasn’t much else to do and woke to find the air mattress flattened and water swirling around the floor of our tent.  It had poured all night and the tent had many leaks.  I spent the day in the communal laundry washing everything from my doona, towels and sheets, to every item of clothing I had brought with me.

The rain continued for the next three days without ceasing.  I must have asked about four times if we could go to the Chinese restaurant because I just wanted to be out of the rain but having not brought our own car we had somehow lost our independence and the scout was making all the decisions.

The mercy of the Lord is that the very next morning a State of Emergency was declared and we all had to evacuate.  The whole region was in a flood-zone.  I was elated.  I was packed in no time.  We piled into the car with Carl and the Scout in the front and his wife and I in the back.  After we’d been on the road for a few minutes I said to his wife, ‘Is your bum getting wet?’  And she said, ‘I think so.’  We looked around us and the car had a leak.  The water had come onto the rear seats and soaked through the cloth.  We were sitting in water-soaked seats.  And we had to sit on those seats for the next seven hours.

I couldn’t get home soon enough.  We never again holidayed with the scout and his wife and Carl has never again asked me to go camping.

Whenever I’m soggy and damp, I think of Chinese food.  It’s where I was hoping I could get a reprieve from the rain.

Fried Rice

Comfort food for the damp and soggy

Serves:  4-6

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  Minimal.  This recipe uses ingredients you would have stocked in your fridge and pantry.

  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 small white onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbspn finely diced ginger
  • 2 rindless bacon rashers, finely diced
  • 2 tspns white sugar
  • 2 tbspns shao hsing wine or dry sherry
  • 4 cups steamed jasmine rice
  • 2/3 cup finely sliced spring onions (scallions)
  • 2 tbspns light soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil

Break eggs into a bowl and beat lightly.  Heat half the oil in a hot wok until suracece seems to shimmer slightly.  Pour beaten eggs into wok and leave to cook on thte base of th wok for 10 seconds before folding egg mixture over onto itself with a spatula an dlightly scrambling for about 1 minute or until almost cooked through.  carefully remove omelette from wok with a spatula and drain on kitchen paper.  Set aside.

Heat remaining oil in hot wok and stir-fry onion, ginger and bacon for 1 minute.  Add sugar and stir-fry for 30 seconds.  oPour in wine or sherry and stir-fry for 1 minute.

Add rice to wok with spring oinions, soy sauce, sesame oil and reserved omelette and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until well combined and rice is heated through.  Use a spatula to break up the omelette into smaller pieces while cooking.  Transfer rice to a bowl and serve.

This recipe is from Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking

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  1. This post made me laugh! We camped at The Basin once and woke up with our air mattress FLOATING inside the tent. Spent the rest of the night huddled in the laundry trying not to wake our friends in the tents next to us (their tents didn’t leak!) At 5am, I made a bunch of cheese sandwiches and woke everyone to tell them to load up… we were leaving!

    The fried rice looks MUCH better than the soggy cheese sandwiches I made!

  2. Awful. I know your pain. I have been camping three times and it rained every single one. The last time, I slept in the van and let my husband brave it out. Never again! I need the promise of a hotel with a bed and other modern amenities. There are other ways to be at one with nature.

  3. That rice looks amazing! LOL at your story – I hate camping and this reminds me of why.

  4. My husband has been obsessed with fried rice. I’ll have to make this for him!

  5. The guy I’m dating went camping a lot as a kid and I REALLY hope he doesn’t have any delusions about any future family camping trips. If he does…I’m showing him this post.

  6. My idea of camping is a nice hotel, condo, or cottage, so I’m right with you on this one!

  7. What a simple recipe. I will definitely try this. Our spring weather turned cold again so this is very appealing. My husband and I only “camp” in a hotel with rave reviews, a Kinig size bed and a spa. Everyone is happier that way.

  8. Your post is very funny. Still laughing about the wet seats.
    The rice looks amazing! I Usually make this when I have leftover rice. I shall try your recipe next time.

  9. Ah, I can relate to your camping experiences of rain, cold, noisy neighbors and leaky air mattresses. I think you need to grow up camping to like it. Starting this as an adult didn’t work for my husband and me. We still have our tent, but I couldn’t tell you where it is stored.

  10. what a wet adventour u had. my god smily mold on the tent, I wouldnt lsleep in that thing!

    chinese fried rice is always one of our fav. comfort foods. a great dish in desperate times!

  11. This totally reminds me of the one time Mike and I tried camping as well. I’m impressed you made it for three days. I suppose you were at the mercy of someone else. We intended to make it for two nights, but after one, we were both ready to run home. We have some friends that want us to come with them for a weekend this summer with the kids. I’m thinking one night can’t be that bad…and the kids will have fun. Famous last words thought right?! Well, if we go, I’m going to make sure Chinese food is nearby. 🙂

  12. I’m excited for Easter because my nieces will be with me. And they love fried rice!

  13. Funny, it always rains Easter on the other side of the equator too, even if it is the opposite season!

  14. Ha! What a story. Once we went camping for my birthday with a big group of friends and it poured – and I mean poured! But we had already started a fire and it must have been the most powerful fire ever because it was blazing the whole time and kept our fronts dry! It ended up being the best camping trip I’ve ever been on. But a few days of that would get tiring! This fried rice looks delicious!

  15. I can well imagine myself in your story! I camped only once in my life, for a week, and it was the last one. I need a minimum “luxury” like my own bathroom and a stable roof over my head 😉
    I love fried rice and am always happy to see what others put into their fried rice, because it’s always different. Yours looks great.

  16. That sounds awful! I still remember camping with my family when I was little and waking up soaked in the middle of the night since it had started pouring and the tent leaked. It was miserable. At least my parents had the good grace to let us sleep in the (non-leaking) car after that, though!

  17. I attempted to make fried rice with the egg before and it was a disaster. I didn’t know, to make the egg, the pan has to be very hot. I will have to attempt this again and try out your recipe.

  18. You know I think that those things are happening to people who dont like camping. It’s one of the Murphys Law rules that exist not for you that you dont like camping; but for the ones who love it and want to show you the beauty of it…
    I can dive into this rice anytime!

  19. Oooh,..I never went camping. That’s not really my thing! The rice looks fab & tasty!

    To make you feel better, I just gave YOU a well-deserved AWARD! Yeah!
    Why? You can read it at my latest blog post! Come on over to collect it, my friend! 🙂 xxx

  20. What a great story! I have been on many of those camping trips! Thankfully we upgraded to a little caravan, now I have the choice of caravan gourmet food or wood fired camp food when we camp. We don’t stay in caravan parks we will usually camp on vehicular access beaches because I hate being at arms distance to people!

    I am amazed that you can make even fried rice look beautiful, great shot 🙂

  21. I packing an umbrella next weekend – ha! Have a Great Weekend:)

  22. Last time we went camping the ground was very hilly and we migrated down to the end of the tent several times during the night. Dad being an army man, we went camping a lot growing up, but nowadays I prefer Glamping to camping- hotel style!

  23. This is exactly why I have never gone camping and never will. A nice hotel with clean towels and a comfy bed is much more my style.

    Your fried rice is also my style. I am eager to give it a try.

  24. I did quite a bit of camping in my youth and had a few outings that would rival your experience, so, I can sympathize. Your conclusion, though, that you think of Chinese food when “soggy and damp” gave me a good chuckle. Today’s recipe is a good one, Charlie Louie, easy to put together and a tasty dinner is the result. And you don’t have to be damp to enjoy it!

  25. The first time I went camping I insisted on checking into a campsite with flush toilets and clean showers. This was on Cape Cod, MA. We drove from camp site to camp site until we found one to my liking, fortunately they had vacancy. That was also the last camping trip.
    Your fried rice looks yummy.

  26. Haha Charlie I have a similar camping story. My friends can’t understand why I don’t like it but I hated it. It took me days to get everything ready from the food to the equipment etc. We got there and it rained, I got eaten alive my mosquitoes and other bugs and mum had loaned us a single air mattress instead of a double so I got no sleep. When we got back it took me hours to unpack and wash everything. What is fun about that?!

    I would much rather sit at home and eat your fried rice!

  27. It’s tradition.

  28. Yuck, camping. One thing I absolutely hate is being soggy and beset by mosquitoes, lol. Love the fried rice recipe though, yum!

  29. Yep, this is why I don’t camp!! What a horrible story. At least this recipe looks lovely xo

  30. Oooh, if there’s anything more miserable than camping in the rain it’s camping in the rain when your tent is leaking! Luckily I now have a bach to go to at Easter, but even so I’ve just ordered the weather prediction book for 2012 from the library, to make sure that Easter won’t consist of rain and more rain.

  31. I’m with you Charlie, I hate camping, done it once, and never again. Trouble is DH makes me feel Ike I am depriving my boys of a rite of passage or something!

    I watch friends via Facebook, battling flooded campsites and laughing later about it, sorry doesn’t seem like fun to me. Give me a warm, dry locked up hotel room anytime!

  32. Haha thank you Charlie! I am now going to show Mr NQN your story in case he asks me to go camping again. He is also convinced that I will love it. Meanwhile here I am resisting…

  33. oh no, even in the car a wet bum!
    I love camping, I can’t wait to take the kids 🙂

  34. You can keep camping but I will take the fried rice, thank you.
    🙂 Mandy

  35. Yummmm can you please please make this again!

  36. I love chinese food either and I’m not the camping person either hahaha

  37. Hehe- your story made me giggle! I grew up camping and quite enjoy it but have only been camping over Easter once…and never again. The weather really is always terrible at Easter! Love the fried rice recipe, it’s very similar to how my mum makes it.

  38. I have no idea why, but it was always rainy on Easter when I was growing up. So weird…though comfort food always helps to make one happy. 🙂

  39. My husband loves nature and loves to camp. I’m not a big fan of it so we have only done it a couple of times all these years. We’ll be in Sydney in August and it will be our first time.I hope the weather will be okay!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      That’s lovely that you are coming to Sydney. I hope we do turn on some great weather for you. August can be a bit unpredictable though!

  40. A fantastic story. I laughed all the way to the end, although I am quite aware of the fact that is was probably no fun at all back then. But your description is so full of strong images I can almost feel I am joining you on the trip. I also had to laugh of your statement that you have this saying about rain and Easter despite Easter being on a different date every year. Well, I come from a part of the world where it rains a lot. A couple of days off in one way or another – or weeks for that matter – won’t change the chances to the better anyway…

  41. Sheets? You had sheets? Now THAT is camping in style. Cute story. Great-looking fried rice. Makes me want some right now.

  42. That’s a horrible experience 🙁 I’ve never gone camping and without sounding too high maintenance I don’t really think I’d want to nor will I really enjoy it ~ I don’t really like going on holidays with people that I’m not familiar with because it’s really hard to accommodate to each others preferences and needs ~
    Glad you haven’t had to go camping again 🙂 Have a lovely Easter!

  43. Another entertaining story Charlie, I missed you yesterday! Hope the blog is back for good. The fried rice looks delicious!

  44. What a beautiful rice dish!! Camping.. well, that was just a flat-out failure.. maybe a good thing because you never had to do it again, lol:) The only time I thought it was “fun” was when I was 18 and we drank beers all day and all night.. and didn’t know if our tent was filled with rain or not!! xo Smidge

  45. finger crossed, we gonna have a nice weather for easter this year…

  46. I love fried rice!!!! This looks like a great recipe that I must try. Thanks for posting! YUM!

  47. Magnolia Verandah says:

    Thank goodness my husband hates camping and loves chinese food. He would have been in that restaurant in a flash.

  48. Just so Carl doesn’t feel odd, my parents dragged us all over the state in a caravan as well. This however did not make me want to camp….. at all!. It did always rain at Easter, this was the only time we went to the same place and that was Kiama and believe me it always rains in Kiama at Easter


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