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Your visit to Koh Samui might make you find a new favorite food item—rice. This is a staple food in Thailand and is served practically in every dining place you can find in Samui. The locals use this grain for both sweet and savory dishes. Thai jasmine rice is often steamed or fried while glutinous rice or sticky rice is used to make porridge and desserts. Here are some things to love about Koh Samui’s number 1 food item.

It is incredibly filling.

A cup of cooked rice is one of the most satisfying things you can eat. Why? It fills you up really good. So if you need a carb load or if your work calls for physical exertion, rice is a good thing to eat on a regular basis.

Instant energy.

Rice is a good source of carbohydrates so understandably, it is also an effective energy source for the body. There are 34 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams of steamed rice which is why with this in your diet, there’s no way you’d go hungry.

Easy on the tummy.

Rice can easily be incorporated in one’s diet because it is easily digested. Even those who can’t chew that much and are on a soft diet for medical reasons can eat rice in the form of porridge or congee. Rice, even the glutinous variety, is also gluten free, which is great news for people who have sensitivity to gluten such as those with celiac disease.

Unbeatable in terms of versatility.

Because of its neutral taste, rice can be combined with many different kind of ingredients and can be eaten alongside any dish. As what was mentioned, it can be used in desserts and at the same time it can be made into something salty or savory. It can be eaten with eggs, stir fried vegetables, stews, grilled meat, and even with fried spring rolls. There are individuals who even eat steamed rice with stir fried noodles. Yes, carbs on carbs, but it is just so yummy! Rice can also cross culinary borders and can complement flavors of both East and West. Rice goes well with soy sauce, fish sauce, shrimp paste, sesame oil, and ginger of the orient in the same way that it blends with saffron, paprika, cumin, olive oil, and pancetta of the West. Its grainy texture means that it can easily soak up flavors too, thanks to its immense surface area. It can be steamed, mixed in soups, made into salads, stir-fried, baked, and cooked in coconut milk too. The possibilities with rice is endless which is why chefs from around the world can’t get enough of it.

Easy to cook.

Unlike its counterpart risotto, Thai jasmine rice is easy to cook. Actually steamed Thai rice is one of those things that gets cooked on its own. It’s hard to mess it up unless you have a hard time following the simplest of instructions. You can boil it in a stove top with a ratio of 1:1 rice to water or use a rice cooker. You can increase or decrease the water content a little depending on how wet or grainy you want your steamed rice but 1:1 is the commonly used ratio.

Readily available locally.

In Koh Samui, you can find rice almost everywhere. In fact, it is a good idea to stock up a bit especially if you are on a budget. You can have steamed rice with omelet for breakfast or cook a huge batch of mixed rice and ration it for several meals. If you learn how to cook steamed rice, you can easily transition to fried rice using your leftovers. Buy a small bag and get cozy with it in the kitchen. For a little money, you will have something to eat all throughout your holiday. Or you can order a rice meal at the walking streets or small diners. A typical rice meal won’t cost you more than 100 baht and will keep you full for hours.

Cheap.

Yep, it is cheap. Because it is a local grain, you can have this for a decent price in Samui. It is actually cheaper to eat rice on the island than have bread, pasta, potatoes or beans.

Has a long shelf life.

All the more reason to stock up on Thai rice is its long shelf life. Uncooked rice can last for a few months if kept on a cool dry place. Unlike bread and potatoes, you can buy a huge quantity of this and not worry that it would get bad easily.

Can be shared.

Cooked rice—be it steamed or fried can easily be divided among a family or a group,making it great to order in a restaurant. You can cook a huge batch of steamed white rice and eat it with a curry dish, stew, or deep fried fish. Or you can cook the local version of fried rice and eat it as is. Since this has eggs, meat, and vegetables, it is a meal in itself and will tide you over for a few hours.

Fun to eat.

Rice dishes are fun to eat. Rice porridge are known to be comforting especially in cool weather or when it is raining, while fried rice is simply irresistible. You can eat rice with a spoon, with a fork, with chopsticks, or even with your hands. You can even cook it with sugar and coconut milk and wrap it in banana leaf. With rice, meals are guaranteed to be enjoyable.

Popular Local Rice Dishes You Need To Try

In Koh Samui, you will have a tough time picking a favorite rice dish. From the street food staple Thai omelette over rice, to the classic pineapple fried rice to the sweet mango sticky rice, you will definitely find it easy to fall in love with this local grain. Learn how to cook your favorite local rice dishes on your holiday so you can incorporate rice in your meals when you get back to your home country.

Happy eating!