Rice Up Brings Rich Asian Flavors to Broward County

Leonardo LopezStaff Writer

Since its opening day on December 17, 2015, Rice Up Asian Kitchen has prided itself on serving high-quality Chinese and Japanese cuisine at more than reasonable prices. It can be found at 16642 Saddle Club Rd, Weston and 1748 N University Dr, Pembroke Pines.

Shufeng Zhu (also known as Johnny by the diners), the manager and one of the sushi chefs of Rice Up Asian Kitchen, was once a chef at Nami Japanese restaurant. 

However, he noted that in 2012, a dream of opening his own restaurant began to blossom. 

“Family means a lot to me. Although I was born in China, I came to this country when I was 22 because I wanted to be with my father who was living here at the time. My initial vision for the restaurant was to have a place where families and loved ones could go out, eat, and enjoy life together,” Zhu said.

Whether it is sushi or beef, Rice Up is dedicated to serving freshly well-prepared delicacies. 

One notable menu item is the General Tso’s Chicken. With its crispy breading, tender white meat and distinctly sweet sauce, this dish has become a personal favorite that I highly recommend to complete your order of Chinese food. 

I share this sentiment with Barbara Lopez, a loyal Rice Up Asian Kitchen customer since August, who said, “The General Tso’s chicken is an explosion in your mouth. It has the perfect combination of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors all packed in crispy bites of fresh chicken. This is a dish that you will have dreams about and something that you will constantly crave.”

In addition to these staple dishes of Asian fare, the chefs at Rice Up Asian Kitchen are known to innovate in the food that they prepare. 

For example, Zhu created the “Johnny roll” made with spicy tuna, avocado, jalapeño and tempura flakes. 

Another of his creations is the “Johnny fried rice” consisting of fresh white rice mixed with vegetables, chicken, pork sausage and shrimp. 

Additionally, Zhu noted that he draws inspiration from several cultural flavors to create fusions within his food. 

“One of our appetizers is the ceviche, a classic Peruvian recipe. This inspired us to use more tropical flavors from South America. We were suggested to use mangos to give it that special tangy taste.”

Osvaldo Fuentes, who had known Zhu since the manager was a chef at Nami Japanese Restaurant, has now become a regular patron for the newer restaurant. 

“What I love about Rice Up is that their service is top notch, and their staff make you feel like family,” Fuentes said. “Their prices are also very appealing. compared to other Japanese restaurants, their rolls are notably larger, and you feel like you are getting more for what you pay for,” he added.

“We currently have two locations- in Weston and Pembroke Pines. In the future, however, I would love to open in more locations; making sure that we keep the quality that we have right now,” said Zhu. 

He added that people can order food through their website at riceup2.com, by calling (954)392-9898, or through the Uber Eats and Grubhub delivery platforms. 

Rice up Asian Kitchen is open from 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. (Monday-Thursday), 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. (Friday-Saturday), and 12-10 p.m. on Sundays.

Some sushi from Rice Up.                                                                               Leonardo Lopez/The Observer


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