Wei Pantry

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Los Angeles-based food company specializing in Vietnamese and Asian-inspired home-cooking products. 

How to buy rice

Growing up my friends always told me rice just tasted better at my house.  I even had a friend who always went straight to the fridge for some bites of plain rice to my mother's horror.  The quality and brand of rice you buy is really important - here are the tricks my mom taught me about buying rice:

1. Buy rice at your local Asian grocer - If there is one reason why you should go to an Asian grocery store, it is to buy rice.  The selection and quality of rice is far superior to a regular grocery store, and costs just a fraction of the price. 

[Big bags of rice at  Uwajimaya ]

[Big bags of rice at Uwajimaya]

2.  Buy "New Crop" - Look for the bags that say "New Crop [Current Year]" or the current year.  This guarantees it is a fresh crop of rice. You will taste the difference!

3. Buy a variety of rice - Cooking rice is easy (especially with a rice cooker!), and changing up what kind of rice you have is an easy way to reinvent meals.  Here are the five types of rice I always have on hand:

  • Jasmine White Rice (white) - Jasmine rice is a long grain rice common in Southeast Asian cooking.  It's what I grew up eating with my family, and cooks up quick and easily.
  • Jasmine Brown Rice - A healthier version of the former that fills you up and helps with portion control. 
  • Red Jasmine Rice - Cooks and tastes just like brown rice but with a great color.  You can also mix the two together for a more textured appearance.
  • Sticky Rice - Also known as "sweet rice", is one of my favorite treats that makes rice special.  I absolutely love making easy savory sticky rice dishes like this one here.  You can also of course make coconut sticky rice (sweet or savory).
  • Japanese Rice - I use this for making sushi.  It's a shorter grain and stickier, and therefore holds together much better.
[Japanese Rice]

[Japanese Rice]

Favorite brands - Butterfly Brand and Three Ladies Brand have never let me down.