May 6, 2008

It's Time To Buy US-Grown Rice

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My Lunch Is Cute
my daughter's cute lunch, the rice is Calrose steamed with pandan

At the Filipino grocery there is a large poster of a balikbayan box company asking people to send rice to the Philippines. It's funny because when I bought my first balikbayan box in 1992 they suggested not to put a 25-pound sack of rice because it's too heavy. At the time I was puzzled at the special request and mumbled to myself "Now, why would anyone send rice to the Philippines? That's just crazy".

Shortage of rice has been in the news lately specifically in the Philippines. Several news articles reveal there really is no rice shortage in Asia and in the USA. However, the price of Thai and Vietnamese rice had gone up significantly and the most affected are poor countries and the Philippines which is the largest rice importer in the rice-eating world. This is so sad because the Philippines used to produce enough good quality rice. I have written about Thai jasmine rice before and its origin being the Philippine ancient variety MILAGROSA. If you look closely all the sacks of Thai jasmine rice have MILAGROSA on it. The news reports have blamed the Chinese for the higher price of Thai jasmine rice because they are buying them in huge quantities. And because of the law of supply and demand Thailand has increased the price of jasmine rice, it's just business, nothing wrong with that. We have been eating Thai rice for the past 20 years because it is better both in price and texture compared with the US grown (except for the Japanese variety). Now that Thai rice costs a little bit more, it's time to buy US rice not just to save some cash but also to support US produce. There are several varieties to choose from: Japanese, Korean, and American short, brown, long, and medium long grains. Just add one or 2 pandan fronds to the rice before steaming to have the same fragrance and flavor of Thai jasmine rice. Let the Chinese pay the high price of Thai rice, they can afford it anyway.:-)

Rice with Pandan
add a frayed pandan for fragrance and flavor

17 comments:

raissa said...

awww your daughter's lunch box is so cute. bento-style. Does it keep the heat? is it microwaveable? I feel like getting one myself after seeing this LOL and then wrap it in a big, pretty scarf much like how the japanese and the koreans do it hahaha

chocnut! woohoo. I am not a big fan of mallows but I like the choco covered cookies. If its frozen even better hahaha

oggi said...

Raissa, I did'nt ask if the bento is microwavable...my daughter sometimes heats it in a microwave oven, not warped..yet. eBay has so many bentos competing for the cutest lunch box and accessories including the scarf.:)
I'll freeze the choco crunchies..it's a great idea, thanks for the tip.:)

Marvin said...

Thanks for this write up oggi. I've read the differing reports and couldn't make heads or tales from them. But what you say makes sense. All I buy anyways is california-grown rice, so it's good to know that I'm not contributing to the problem.

Kelly Mahoney said...

That is a cute lunch indeed! I'm jealous, mine never looks like that.

oggi said...

Marvin, we have been eating Thai rice for 20 years and it's hard to break the habit...it was very cheap too at $7/25-pound sack..the price is now more than triple, same price or a little bit more than US-grown.

Kelly, thanks. I will try to snap photos of her bento box and will blog about it when I have enough.:)

Dhanggit said...

I thought this was your entry for LP Pinoy Bentou :-) hehehe, anyways rice with pandan is always the best i could eat it alone or even with just bagoong isda and calamansi..i miss the perfum of pandan coming out from a newly cooked rice;;waaaaaaaaaaaa you are torturing me dear!!!

btw, happy happy mother's day to you!!

oggi said...

Happy Mother's Day Dhanggit!

I love the aroma of pandan and rice...and you are making me hungry...bagoong and kalamansi..mmmasarap!

mirage2g said...

Oh I miss chocnut and mallows!!! =D

I'd love your bento too! hehe.

Join, Food for Which My City/Town is known for.

oggi said...

Gizelle, thanks for the invite. This is a tough one because Ashburn, VA is a boring town but I'll search here and maybe within the whole county...it's a wonderful idea to explore my own "backyard" for a food-themed post.

caninecologne said...

sorry to sound ignorant, but what are some US brands of rice?

oggi said...

caninecologne, good you asked because I did some research before I wrote this post and I was amazed at the variety and availability. The brands available in Virginia groceries are Koda and Han Kuk Mi but would like to try Hinode which are available in most groceries in California, they are a lot cheaper than Thai rice. I will order it online just to try and compare.

caninecologne said...

Thanks for the info on the brands! I've bought Hinode in the past but don't remember what I paid for it. According to my mom, rice prices have skyrocketed at the naval commissary. I was at Walmart yesterday and got a 5 lb bag of Botan Calrose rice for $3.84, which seemed reasonable so I bought 2 bags of it. Botan is packaged by JFC international.

oggi said...

caninecologne, I will check out Walmart for US rice as soon as we finish the Thai jasmine. Hinode seems cheaper than other US brands.

MasPinaSarap said...

I am new to the blog and I like it! There are recipes that I couldn't find anywhere else. I'll have to try them!
-Oh and I've known about the "Milagrosa" rice, but I didn't know it was our own, nice tidbit!
-I just got back from the PI and on rice days you can see huge groups of people waiting and waiting to be able to buy rice. It's really quite sad. I am thankful we bought for our relatives, what should last until Fall.
-We've almost always bought the "Nishiki" brand as we prefer the Japanese sticky rice, which is similar to what we eat in the PI. I always veto the idea of getting Jasmine rice when the quesiton comes up, no other rice seems to do it for me! :)

oggi said...

Maspinasarap, glad you like the recipes.
When we first tried Thai jasmine 20 years ago in Hong Kong we guessed the origin was our Milagrosa but did not know how they got the rice seeds. We presumed from IRRI in Los Baños Laguna because Asian (and US) farmers went there to study rice production, etc.
I read a 1997 Filipino Agribusiness article accusing the Thais of piracy with regard to jasmine rice.

MasPinaSarap said...

Wouldn't be the first time that we've missed out on becoming a rich country, which the PI is capable of, at least on account of resources. Cacao, Coffee (we used to be the 3rd in world production), we're only now sharing in the telecommunications industry that India has dominated, despite our overwhelming English ability, and connection to the U.S. and to top it off, Hawaii is now pushing to mass produce OUR Pili nuts, such as they did Austrailia's Macadamias, I'm waiting to hear "I love these Maui/Aloha/Kona Pili's" sooner or later...such a shame...

oggi said...

MasPinaSarap, wow Pili...about 20 or so years ago, our bangus fries were "stolen" by the Taiwanese and now there are bangus farms somewhere in NY brought by them, not Filipinos.
What's ironic is the US is now growing both jasmine and basmati in California. Thailand and India are protesting the piracy.

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