Rice, tells the story of one of the world’s most widely used foods. It’s the essential grain that is the bedrock of Asian culinary culture. The remarkable economic transformation of South Korea and Japan is often attributed to the exceptional diligence and collective consciousness that have been culturally ingrained in Asian cultures since pre-modern rice farming days. Some read more deeply into the meaning, saying that the Chinese character for rice, mĭ (米), can be dissected into bā shi bā (八十八), which is the number 88. This significant number represents the 88 manual tasks it takes to produce rice from seed to edible grain on the dinner table. From sowing to harvesting, rice is incredibly labor intensive and holds multifaceted meanings to humans.
About the Ingredient:
Rice, a key ingredient in Asian food culture, has been directly linked to survival itself as a daily staple food. Along with corn and wheat, it is one of the world’s top food crops. More than half of the world’s population relies on rice. Rice farming has helped to form societies with community-centered consciousness in Asian countries, and symbolizes the value of protecting tradition. Foods like pilaf, risotto, sushi, and rice cakes have derived from various cultivars and recipes. Recent patterns of reduced consumption have been overcome with development in agricultural technology. Growing, preparing, eating and sharing rice remains one of the world’s most common themes.
The Balinese are very particular about rice because it is the most basic ingredient that is a quintessential part of every meal. People in Bali think that it is a blessing to enjoy a humble meal of white rice and two or three dishes made with fish, meat, poultry, vegetables, or beans. Also, rice, religion, and deities are all interrelated.
As for sushi, rice quality comes first and fish is second. I would say that rice is responsible for 80 percent of the end taste of sushi and the fish takes up the remainder. In a nutshell, rice determines the quality. If the rice tastes good, the fish will taste good, too. On the contrary, if the rice tastes bad, the sushi will not taste satisfactory, no matter how fresh of a piece of fish is on top.
Pairs nicely with Magazine F: Namul, Magazine F: KIMCHI