Finding an alternative rice supply
April 11, 2013 8:23 PM   Subscribe

The recent news of high levels of lead in imported rice has a friend freaking out, and I'm helping look for alternatives to the 20 kg bags of Thai rice he's been buying.

We all live in Canada. My friend's originally from Hong Kong and lives with his aging mother.

If he could bulk-order organic American white rice from some Canadian supplier it would be ideal. Ordering direct from the U.S. is sometimes more complicated but might be a possibility.

Catch: it has to be a variety that cooks up Chinese-style. If it doesn't clump up on the chopsticks it won't work because he won't be able to persuade his mother to eat it.

Alternatives I haven't thought of?
posted by zadcat to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Could he make some arrangement with others who buy rice in bulk, like restaurants perhaps, who already have the purchasing process worked out?
posted by XMLicious at 9:30 PM on April 11, 2013

Do you guys get rice from Texas, California, or the Carolinas up there or is it typically all imported from Asia?

You might want to search out "Texmati" rice -- it's a strain similar to basmati that's grown in Texas. It'll say that name on the label (in fact it appears to be a trademark of that particular rice company). I've seen it in American supermarkets from New York to Louisiana to California. And... apparently you can order it on Amazon, which is crazy, but maybe a solution.
posted by Sara C. at 9:30 PM on April 11, 2013

Calrose is popular here in california - locally grown and shorter, Chinese style grain.
You might also look for Nishiki - a Japanese brand that is easy to find here. (Japan is not on the list of problem countries.)
posted by metahawk at 9:42 PM on April 11, 2013

Best answer: You want Kokuho Rose. It's a proper East Asian short-grain rice varietal grown in California. It's all I use here in the SF Bay Area. Definitely good for all Chinese / Korean style dishes, and it "clumps on the chopsticks" just right.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 9:42 PM on April 11, 2013 [6 favorites]

Huh! As another big rice-eater, I was given to understand that the American-grown rice has more arsenic than the imported rice. That was the big scare of six months ago.

But I guess the imported rice now has more lead than the American rice?

Consumer Reports heavy metal testing results from November 2012,sorted by country of origin

The starchy version of the devil and the deep blue sea, I guess.
posted by vetala at 2:26 AM on April 12, 2013

Grown and processed by a family own business in La, this rice is great for sushi and quite yummy. Any shipping issues that you have would be handled by a La. native. La. natives are typically very helpful and friendly.
posted by myselfasme at 5:34 AM on April 12, 2013

Just to clarify, the rice has to be long grain, aromatic so in all probability will be a jasmine type. If she is from Hong Kong then it cannot be as sticky as Japanese style unless she is a different province closer to the northern Thai border where the standard will be closer to sticky but even then it is a long grain sticky and not short or medium. There are many details that are missing since there are a lot of rice variations and older folks are WAY picky about their rice. My suggestion is to buy small sample bags of the rice types/brands being offered. My best bet for you though is look for American or Thai jasmine.
posted by jadepearl at 5:50 AM on April 12, 2013

Best answer: Although this article does not mention lead, Lundberg Family Farms seems to be more transparent than others in discussing the CR tests linked above. I wish more food companies sat down with NY Times the way they did.
posted by invisible ink at 4:27 PM on April 12, 2013

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