Know Your Rice – 4 Most Popular Japanese Varieties!

  • HOW TO
  • Buying rice in Japan is not as easy as just picking a sack off the shelf. Know what you’re buying, and how it tastes!

    The Japanese eat a lot of rice, in fact, many as often as three times a day. Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, it is the staple of the Japanese diet. There is more to Japanese rice than simple white rice, check out the options below. By knowing these you can add some variety to your diet, and maybe find a new favourite staple!

    1. Sticky (White) Rice

    This is staple of the Japanese diet, after all, many people eat it a couple of times daily. Sticky rice is glutinous rice in which grains “stick” together for easy eating with chopsticks. There are many brands of white rice, with Koshihikari being one of the most popular.

    2. Genmai – Brown Rice

    Genmai, or brown rice, is essentially unpolished white rice. Full of flavour, a little firmer than white rice, this one is a great, highly nutritious option. Some people describe the flavour as nutty, but I think it just tastes wholesome. If you buy genmai, be sure to use it up sooner than you would regular white rice, as it has a shorter shelf life.

    3. Haigamai – Half Milled Rice

    Haigamai is half milled rice, so it is basically between white and brown rice. The rice is made by removing the outer layer of bran, but leaving the rice germ intact. Personally, it is my go to rice option.
    I love white rice too much, and eat way too much of it. White rice is said to be lacking in nutrition compared to other kinds. I also love brown rice, but it does strange things to my tummy. Haigamai is the perfect alternative. Nutritious, but no trots!

    4. Mochi Rice

    Stickier than the usual white rice, mochi rice is used to make rice cakes. The rice is pounded in a large type of a pestle and mortar, with pestle being made of wood and extremely large, and the mortar being a hammer.

    This exciting adventure is called ‘Mochitsuki’ – or mochi-making!

    You can also see mochi rice in a variety of Wagashi – Japanese sweets, such as daifuku.

    In conclusion, there are many different kinds of rice you can enjoy in Japan. Be adventurous and try a few out. But, be sure to check the package, or use google, to determine the best water and cooking requirements for the different types as times and amounts may vary. If you stumble across one you like, enjoy it!

    Related Articles:
    Choose The Best Japanese Rice With These Pro–Tips from a Local Farmer