From East Asia, rice was spread to Southeast and South Asia. Rice was introduced to Europe through Western Asia, and to the Americas through European colonization. Rice can come in many shapes, colours and sizes.
There are many varieties of rice and culinary preferences tend to vary regionally. In some areas such as the Far East or Spain, there is a preference for softer and stickier varieties.
Milling is a crucial step in post-production of rice. The basic objective of a rice milling system is to remove the husk and the bran layers, and produce an edible, white rice kernel that is sufficiently milled and free of impurities.
China has been producing fake rice for at least four years, and it is still on the market. Singapore media reported that this “rice” is produced with potatoes, sweet potatoes and – believe it or not – poisonous plastic. It is shaped like regular rice grains but remains hard after cooking and can cause serious health issues.
The water test
Get a glass of cold water. Pour a tablespoon of raw rice in the glass and stir. If the rice goes to the bottom, it is all good. If it floats at the top, be careful because it means it contains ‘plastic rice’. Do not eat.
The fire test
Knowing what plastic smells like, take a hand full of rice and burn it. If it smells like plastic do not eat it!
The mortar and pestle test
When molding a few grains of rice with a mortar and pestle, the powder should be quite white. For artificial rice, you will notice a yellow discoloration instead.
The mold test
If you want to know for sure whether your cooked rice is quite safe, put a small quantity of cooked rice into an airtight container and leave it in a warm place. Within a couple of days it will have gotten moldy. Only fake rice stays mold-free.
Much has been said recently about so-called “fake rice” made from indigestible plastic. However, not all such “fabricated rice” is inedible nor unhealthy.
The key difference between the controversial “fake rice” recently discovered in Davao and legitimate “fabricated rice” is their chemical composition. The so-called “fake rice” contains plastic, whereas “fabricated rice” may be made of healthily digestible ingredients such as starch.