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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Rice - The Bread of Asia

I have visited nearly every Asian country. Although there are many commonalities with these countries, there is nothing more ubiquitous than rice. The people will tell you there that they couldn’t live without it. Although that was probably a factual statement years ago, today it is more of an emotional statement. With food much more in abundance today, the Asian people have more opportunities at dinner time than they used to, but is so ingrained in their diet it is who they are.

It is by far the number one preferred food for the Asian people regardless which country I have visited. Rice is easily grown in these countries because there is an abundance of favorable environments for rice to thrive. Rice requires a hot, humid environment, and an abundance of water. This is something the Asian countries have in copious amounts.

It is fortunate that they have such a crop to depend upon, as there are many poor regions throughout Asia. With imported food,m being expensive, many countries rely on their agricultural economy for their existence. Although most countries of the world are becoming richer than in years past, it is still a lifeblood to the poorer regions of these countries.

I have witnessed these poorer regions in my travels. Below our images of the Nepalese people caring for their rice after it is harvested.

After harvesting of the rice, it is laid out onto the ground for drying in the hot Asian sun. The women can be seen raking the rise to evenly distribute it for maximum sun exposure.

Rice is harvested when it reaches optimal moisture content. This is often determined visually by the color appearance. At this time the rice is harvested by knife or sickle by cutting of the rice straw.

The next step is threshing, or the removal of the rice grains from the plant. There are many methods employed, but often it is accomplished just by shaking and beating the grains from the shaft. As many of these poor regions don’t have mechanical means with threshing, it is often done by hand.

The grains are then dried in the open sun for the most part. That’s the part you see in the pictures above. This is the part which I am most familiar because it is a familiar site throughout harvest time in Asia. On many of my motorbike rides through the countryside I have had to divert around scenes as you see in the pictures.

The end process involves cleaning of the rice and then milling to remove the outer layer of the rice paddy. Paddy is simply the name of the rice plant itself. In the poor villages, the milling is done by hand. It is done by pounding the paddy with a mortar and pestle. Quite a lot of work but necessary in these villages.

When I’m visiting the Asian countries. I certainly eat a lot of rice. Something I don’t normally eat because I typically try to avoid carbohydrates, and rice is abundant in these. But in some places I travel it is just not practical to maintain a low carbohydrate diet.

I think of rice as the potato of the Western world. Just as much of the Western world relied upon the potato for sustenance during its poor years, so does the Asian world look to the rice paddy.

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Mike Wells
Mike Wells
27 may
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Very interesting how people live and survive. Most of these people don't have a 7-3 job that they punch a time clock. It appears the women have a hard life .

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27 may
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At least they are self employed.

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