Worldwide, rice is the most commonly eaten grain but in Korean cuisine, it is an absolutely necessary staple. In fact, it is more than just a food; it’s a symbol of life and a symbol of prosperity. In the past, the amount of rice a Korean family had was the determining factor in their wealth.
Also see: Best Korean Rice Cooker
Now, rice has expanded across the rest of the globe for a number of reasons. Most obviously, it tastes good! Secondly, rice is gluten free, meaning anyone with celiac disease or who is gluten free for any other reason can still eat it. Thirdly, the fitness world has discovered that brown rice is a wonderful food for weight loss and lasting satiation. It’s also just difficult to find a food rice does not compliment!
There are several types of rice in Korean cuisine. The most commonly used type of rice is short grain white rice. White rice is generally considered the most delicious rice but unfortunately, it is the least nutritious. White rice can be sticky and used for any recipe that requires shaping the rice, or it can be less sticky for other recipes. The other most common type of rice is brown rice. This rice is much more nutritious than white rice, but many people do not enjoy the taste as much. However, with proper cooking and a quality rice, brown rice can easily be just as tasty as white rice.
Both white and brown rice, as well as the other less popular types such as GABA or wild rice, have many variations. Each variation of rice has a different purpose in Korean cuisine, whether it is a sweeter sticky rice good for dessert or a muted flavored brown rice perfect to mix with veggies as a side dish.
The most important thing overall though, is to make sure you are using a good quality rice. We have made list of the best seven brands of premium Korean rice so you’ll have a perfect starting point no matter what dish you want to make!
Rated Amazon’s number one premium rice, we also love Nishiki’s medium grain white rice. This rice is grown in California but tastes like traditional Japanese Nishiki rice. It is light and fresh and blends well with seasonings, sauces and other dishes because its flavor does not overpower everything else.
Because Nishiki rice can be cooked to be different levels of stickiness, it is excellent for nearly every dish. The grains nicely oval shaped and adhere well to each other, making it perfect for sushi rolls or rice balls.
One important thing about Nishiki rice is that it is the best rice to make sake, or rice wine. Even if you don’t usually make your own sake, it can be a fun project to try! It takes a little patience and time, but it’s hard to beat being able to serve your family and friends your own, housemade sake.
Overall, Nishiki rice is an all around winner. Whether it’s served as a side dish, used to make sushi or even if it’s used to brew your own sake, you absolutely cannot go wrong with this premium rice.
Nomura & Co describes Kokuho Rose rice as their “best rice” and we definitely agree! Another California-grown rice, Kokuho Rose rice has been meticulously bred for absolute perfection as a premium quality sushi and sticky rice. Due to the way this rice is processed, it does not require rinsing before being cooked. It is also kosher certified!
As this is a small grain sticky rice, it’s a perfect premium rice for any recipe that requires sticky rice. This rice is a small grain sticky rice perfect for any recipe that requires a good, sticky rice. We love it to use it for sushi and other traditional Korean dishes such as kimbap, rice balls, samgyetang (rice-stuffed chicken soup) or yaksik (sticky rice dessert). It is also an excellent rice to use for any non-Korean dishes that require sticky rice. For example, we love using this rice for Thai sticky rice with mango, a sweet dessert dish with coconut milk and fresh, juicy mango, as well as traditional Laotian sticky rice, a simple side dish traditionally served in small, woven baskets.
Kokuho rose rice is definitely a premium rice that will easily become part of your go-to ingredients, whether you are making sushi, dessert, or just a side dish!
White GABA rice is a premium, Korean-grown white rice. White rice is usually the least healthy type of rice, but we love this rice because it is the healthiest white rice available! This rice is produced by sprouting white rice, which maximizes the flavor and nutrient content of the rice. This process gives the rice naturally occurring gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. GABA is an important neurotransmitter that affects your brain and other organs as well as your muscle tone. Some studies have even suggested that GABA rice can be helpful in managing diabetes.
GABA rice can be used in place of brown rice in any recipe, as it cooks similarly and has a similar taste and texture. It can also be mixed in with brown rice to add a little bit of different texture to your dish or to increase the nutritional value.
We absolutely love Han Kuk Mi wild sweet rice. Like brown rice, wild rice is a whole grain since it has the bran, germ and endosperm parts of the rice grain. This makes it high in fiber and nutrients, same as brown rice. However, Kan Kuk Mi wild rice is sweeter and more tender than most brown rices. It has a nice earthy flavor with a hint of nutty undertones.
This rice is as also as aesthetically appealing as it is delicious. As it cooks, it gets darker and darker purple until it is nearly black, which is so pretty in comparison to regular white rice. Because of this, we love using this rice to jazz up any regular rice dish especially for holidays or family dinners. It’s also an outstanding side dish when cooked with a little vinegar and garlic and mixed with any veggie.
Another of our favorite recipes to use Han Kuk Mi wild rice for is chicken wild rice soup. This hearty soup, filled with veggies and herbs, hits the spot on any chilly winter day or if you’re feeling a little under the weather. For a brighter version of this soup, try adding a little bit of curry powder!
While this may not be an everyday rice, Han Kuk Mi wild sweet rice is absolutely wonderful to make any dish a little extra special in flavor, texture and appearance!
Tamanishiki rice is a white, short grain rice that is frequently used in many Japanese restaurants and we can see why! It is excellent quality and can be used for many different dishes, from rice balls to stuffed rice triangles to sushi. It is all-naturally grown in California.
This rice is a wonderful neutral rice. It carries its own flavor without being overwhelming in any dish, yet does not need excessive amounts of seasoning to make it enjoyable. It is simply what it should be: premium quality, white rice. It can be cooked to be fluffier or cooked closer to a sticky rice depending on what you are going to use it for. With a little experimentation, this rice can be whatever you want it to be!
Just like their white rice, California-grown Nishiki brown rice is a wonderful, premium rice. One common misconception about brown rice is that it is not as delicious or as sweet as rice, but with Nishiki rice, this is definitely not the case. This rice has a mild nutty flavor and is a little sweeter than long grain brown rice.
Brown rice is one of the healthiest foods in the world! Unlike white rice, it is not milled or polished, meaning it keeps its bran and germ layers, which are the parts of a grain of rice that hold the most nutrients. This makes brown rice an excellent source of manganese and a good source of several other vitamins and nutrients including phosphorus and vitamin B3. Brown rice is also high in fiber and essential fatty acids, all of which are lost during the milling process. Fiber and good fats are important parts of weight loss, feeling full longer after eating and lowering cholesterol!
We love pairing Nishiki brown rice with any meat or fish, such as pork, chicken thighs or grilled tilapia. With a side of veggies, this is a great, well-rounded, healthy and delicious meal. Brown rice is also an easy way to make any rice dish a little healthier without sacrificing flavor. Whether you’re making pork fried rice, sushi or rice pilaf with mushrooms, substitute Nishiki rice in place of white rice for a heart healthy, delicious alternative!
We love Rom America brown sweet sticky rice because it’s such a great way to combine the sweetness of sticky rice with the health benefits of brown rice! It is sweeter than normal brown rice, like the Nishiki brown rice, and it also has the stickiness of white sticky rice. However, it still retains the health benefits that come from the hull of the rice.
This is a perfect rice to use for brown rice sushi. You can make traditional sushi with fish or go for a more Americanized, vegan version using veggies like bell pepper, carrots, cucumber and avocado. Either way, it’s delicious, healthy and sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
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