A Nice Rice

A few weeks ago we received a package of rice from a friend who lives and farms on Sado Island.

We met Matt when we went to Sado for the taiko drum extravaganza we attended in August. He was an amazing tour guide, showed us around the island and even revealed a few secret swimming spots. I left Sado with an incredible fondness for the place, thanks to Matt. He and his wife are rice farmers, and their region has a reputation for producing some of the best rice in Japan.

Rice is rice, you say? Oh no, my friends! It most certainly is not. Get that Uncle Ben’s Minute Rice business out of my kitchen this instant.

I used to dislike rice. I thought it was dry and boring, because usually it was. After we moved to Japan my friend Saki slowly showed me the way to rice nirvana. She brought us to rice restaurants. She emailed me instructions on how to gently wash and then rinse and then soak my rice before cooking. She was sneaky but persistent in her teachings. Maybe because she had tasted my very first attempt at onigiri and couldn’t bear the thought of me torturing any more rice.

I still have no idea what makes good rice good, but I know it when I taste it. It sticks but isn’t too sticky. It’s floral and eaten alone, not hidden under heaps of curry or meat. It is usually white, but not a crazy bleached white, more of a pearl white with hints of purple or yellow. It looks and smells like a plant because it is.

If given a choice between rice or noodles, I’ll go for the rice. A bold claim, I know.

Check out Daruma An Farms for some damn fine island rice.

4 thoughts on “A Nice Rice

  1. I used to think that rice was rice, and it was just plain and boring. All I’d ever had was Minute Rice. Never could understand what people were talking about when they said rice was supposed to be sticky. But then I got into Japanese culture and decided, “Okay, now I’ve got to hunt down some of the real stuff and find out what the difference is.”

    And I’ve never looked back. Minute Rice doesn’t hold a candle to the stuff that sticks together and just plain tastes great!

  2. OK now it’s going to look like I’m stalking all of your Sado posts (sorry not sorry) but I just had to comment again. I know Matt, too! He was still an Assistant Language Teacher in the JET Program when we met. Super nice guy and yes, Sado rice kicks butt!

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