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White versus Brown
Old 11-03-2007, 06:37 PM   #1
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White versus Brown

I was on the ThaiVisa "Thai food" forum and the thread was discussing the consumption of rice so I had some questions regarding rice production. In SEA, white rice is king.

I googled my questions but could not find an answer,

so folks,

Is it more expensive to produce white rice?

If No,
don't bother to read the rest but

If Yes,
why are most rice producing countries still producing the more expensive white stuff?

Is there a hidden economic incentive for manufacturers?
Are all the separated parts more profitable than the whole (grain)?

If brown rice was cheaper, would folks (especially 3rd world) buy it?

Is brown rice less versatile than white rice?
Is it just habit?

How long had rice been polished to a squeaky clean white color?

Just curious. :confused:

MJ
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Old 11-03-2007, 06:44 PM   #2
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White rice cooks faster and takes a lot longer to spoil, but is nutritionally inferior. Some folks dont like the chewy, nutty taste of the brown rice.

Its a good bit more expensive to make white rice than brown as the rice needs to be polished and different countries prefer different polishing approaches. For example many asian rice buyers demand rice that has been polished with talc, since it provides a very attractive, shiny result. But talc polishing is illegal for rice manufactured or exported to the US.

There is also a cultural stigma that only the poor eat the less expensive brown rice. Once again, what is considered the cheap crap is actually whats better for you and another product thats shinier, prettier and more expensive yet isnt as good is the most favored.
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Old 11-03-2007, 06:59 PM   #3
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When I look at the nutritional values of white and brown rice; I do not see a difference - even in fiber. So where is brown rice better?

Now I can see people SEA in the PAST liking white rice better because it sticks together better and is easier to eat with chop sticks.
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Old 11-03-2007, 07:18 PM   #4
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You're probably looking at some comparisons between brown rice and enriched white rice. In some cases the enrichment is water soluble and gets washed off at some point, in others its a water soluble coating that may not be absorbed as well into the system.

"The complete milling and polishing that converts brown rice into white rice destroys 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. By law in the United States, fully milled and polished white rice must be "enriched" with vitamins B1, B3, and iron. But the form of these nutrients when added back into the processed rice is not the same as in the original unprocessed version, and at least 11 lost nutrients are not replaced in any form even with rice "enrichment.""

Brown rice also has approximately 4x the fiber of white rice.

White rice is very quickly digested and converted to sugar. Brown rice takes longer to digest and is released as sugar more slowly. But its still a high GI food.
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Old 11-03-2007, 07:44 PM   #5
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Now I can see people SEA in the PAST liking white rice better because it sticks together better and is easier to eat with chop sticks.
Why only in the past? Chopsticks are not going away any time soon.
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Old 11-03-2007, 07:48 PM   #6
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C F B,
You are probably right. I'm looking at what is in the supermarkets.
Where can you get the brown rice you are talking about?
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Old 11-03-2007, 11:04 PM   #7
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I've heard the "takes less time to cook" theory, and I believe it. If you've seen how far some Asians have to walk to get firewood, and/or if you've ever cooked brown rice on a campfire, it makes perfect sense.
DH and I prefer brown rice but my MIL cannot understand it. In her case it's purely cultural, she's from the southern U.S.
So I don't see 3rd-worlders converting soon.
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Old 11-03-2007, 11:32 PM   #8
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I think large scale rice polishing began in the 2nd half of the 19th century. Polishing removes the bran and germ, and although it creates a nutritionally inferior product it had the huge advantage of retarding spoilage. When the bran and especially the germ are removed, fatty acids which can cause the rice to rapidly become rancid are removed.

In Asia rice polishing created a new disease, beri-beri, which is caused by lack of thiamine in the diet. There are many other sources of thiamine, but poor Asians and especially soldiers, prisoners, etc. were depending very heavily on rice. Once it was polished and the germ/bran removed, the thiamine went along with what was milled off and beri-beri showed up. Ultimately it could lead to heart failure and death.

For survivalist uses and long term storage, enriched white rice is probably a better choice than brown, because if it is stored hermetically in a reasonably cool place it can last a very long time.

If brown rice is preferred for daily cooking, it may be best to store it in the refrigerator.

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Old 11-04-2007, 12:59 AM   #9
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Ha... yes it can... I have some rice that is over 7 years old and it is still 'good'..

I used to eat it a lot, but have not cooked much lately... I usually do eat it when eating out...
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Old 11-04-2007, 08:20 AM   #10
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DH and I prefer brown rice but my MIL cannot understand it. In her case it's purely cultural, she's from the southern U.S.
I always thought it was northerners that ate white rice so much! I know more people in Louisiana who eat brown rice than white.... and many more eat brown rice here than did in Southern California when I lived there. Brown rice is so popular in New Orleans that for example, if you order a meal at my favorite local Chinese restaurant where we ate yesterday (instead of ordering separate dishes), the menu even requires that you specify white or brown rice with your meal. Brown rice is easily available at other Chinese and Japanese restaurants here, usually on the menu though sometimes not. Now brown rice with your gumbo or etouffee at a cajun/creole restaurant is another matter. You could order brown rice, and would probably get it, but I haven't seen that done as much.

I would imagine that brown rice is less popular in more rural areas, but it is certainly popular, easily available, and commonly consumed in New Orleans.
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Old 11-04-2007, 08:38 AM   #11
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I always thought it was northerners that ate white rice so much! I know more people in Louisiana who eat brown rice than white.... and many more eat brown rice here than did in Southern California when I lived there. Brown rice is so popular in New Orleans that for example, if you order a meal at my favorite local Chinese restaurant where we ate yesterday (instead of ordering separate dishes), the menu even requires that you specify white or brown rice with your meal. Brown rice is easily available at other Chinese and Japanese restaurants here, usually on the menu though sometimes not. Now brown rice with your gumbo or etouffee at a cajun/creole restaurant is another matter. You could order brown rice, and would probably get it, but I haven't seen that done as much.

I would imagine that brown rice is less popular in more rural areas, but it is certainly popular, easily available, and commonly consumed in New Orleans.
Well, I grew up in New Orleans, and things must have changed. We always ate white rice. I cannot imagine the red beans and rice containing brown rice... ugh. Same with your mentioned etouffee or gumbo.

DW loves brown rice. I do not, and only eat it if there is no alternative. I may not be eating healthy but I am eating tastier, IMHO.
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Old 11-04-2007, 08:46 AM   #12
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Well, I grew up in New Orleans, and things must have changed. We always ate white rice. I cannot imagine the red beans and rice containing brown rice... ugh. Same with your mentioned etouffee or gumbo.
You are right! As I mentioned in my previous post, white rice is a common ingredient in cajun/creole type restaurants and that would be the main exception. But as you also know (if you grew up here) we have many, many, MANY different types of food and restaurants available here. In the Italian restaurants you get pasta so there is another exception. But more and more people here are eating brown rice, particularly in Asian restaurants here. The restaurant business is highly competitive in New Orleans, and restaurants are very compliant when it comes to dietary requests or requirements of their customers.

Brown rice is certainly WAY more common than it was in San Diego when I lived there. And when I lived in Hawaii, I don't recall ever seeing brown rice on a menu in a Chinese restaurant.
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Old 11-04-2007, 09:36 AM   #13
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None of the higher end sit down restaurants i've been to around here do brown rice, but all the 'faster food' ones like pick up stix and pei wei offer both brown and white as options. But those are side dishes...not too many rice recipes will work very well with brown rice vs white. Too assertive, the wrong texture, and the recipe would have to be altered substantially to manage the different cooking times
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Old 11-04-2007, 09:56 AM   #14
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As always, you guys never disappoint!

Thanks

PS: I actually like white rice better just like fat rich butter, brie type cheeses or whole milk but I choose to eat when available, brown rice or low fat milk products.
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Old 11-04-2007, 04:44 PM   #15
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Brown rice is easily available at other Chinese and Japanese restaurants here,
Ok, now I am curious, but getting back to Dex's point about chopsticks, how does one eat it? Or do they make it sticky somehow?
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Old 11-04-2007, 05:28 PM   #16
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Spoon.

Although I've had some luck with chopsticks, its not something you'd want to watch.
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Old 11-04-2007, 05:54 PM   #17
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Ok, now I am curious, but getting back to Dex's point about chopsticks, how does one eat it? Or do they make it sticky somehow?
If you can eat peas with chopsticks (more than one at a time, please!) then you won't have any trouble eating brown rice with chopsticks. It just takes a little practice.

The brown rice served in local Chinese restaurants is a little stickier (use a little bit more water in cooking) but in my opinion it is not as sticky as the white rice they serve.

On another topic -- Between my earlier posts and now I had lunch with Frank at a nice restaurant on St. Charles Ave., and while he was eating his duck and andouille gumbo I mentioned the white rice and how gumbo was never served with brown rice. He said that was not at all true, and related a example from many years ago when he was a young boy. His father and a family friend would take him down into Cajun country and go on duck hunting expeditions. In the evenings they would cook up a gumbo with the ducks they shot, and throw in rice from the fields down there where it was being grown. He said, "after all, rice is grown in Louisiana" and that brown rice was and is used in gumbo in Louisiana. His family has lived in New Orleans for more than six generations, and he is a native here so I guess he knows what he is talking about. So, I will retract my statement about white rice being so common out in the country here!
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Old 11-04-2007, 06:00 PM   #18
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White Rice is still the staple here in Hawaii. However, brown rice is available at most decent resteraunts upon request, and even some plate lunch places.
Personally, I prefer brown to white, although I think Jasmine is the best tasting rice.
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Old 11-04-2007, 07:41 PM   #19
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Rice also comes as black, red, pink. There's also wild rice (totally unrelated).
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Old 11-04-2007, 07:54 PM   #20
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Thank God it doesn't come in red or blue - the Bush haters would be commenting.
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