Did you know that Thailand has some 3,500 varieties of rice both wild and cultivated? Plus, there are as many as 120,000 varieties, both wild and cultivated, worldwide!
Each part of Thailand has a different variety of rice that grows more prominently and is more popular for consumption. For instance, in the mountainous north, the monsoon rains come early and end quickly, so varieties that grow and ripen fast are cultivated. Northerners prefer to eat sticky rice, so little jasmine rice is grown for local consumption. On the other hand, growing conditions in the northeastern region are ideal for jasmine rice and lots of it is grown there, but like northerners, people in the northeast prefer sticky rice, so little of the jasmine rice they grow is consumed there.
When you buy rice in Thailand, you can often purchase it in fresh, open-air marketplaces. You purchase it form vendor stalls that carry rice in big sacks or tubs. You can touch, feel and smell the grains to experience the diverse range of types of rice. There are so many kinds it might be hard to figure out what to buy! But it is a very fun experience to see that there’s more than just the handful of varieties you see at your local supermarket.