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Types of Rice

Updated on January 16, 2016

Since living in Hawaii, I have come to realize that there are plenty kine rice (many kinds of rice). Rice is one of the staples eaten in Hawaii.

Hawaii is made up of people from many diverse cultures, and when they immigrated they brought their favorite rice with them. The Chinese came with long grain rice, the Japanese with short grain. Later other rice was imported from different countries.

Let's take a little journey together and discover about the many different kinds of rice.

Not all rice is created equal

Having been raised in the mainland USA, I was exposed to the commercial easy-to-cook rice in a box like Uncle Ben’s White Rice or Minute Rice. It was pretty much tasteless to me.

Basically, we were meat and potato people, where the meal was usually baked and a can of vegetables opened to make it healthier. I liked potatoes more than rice back then.

I had hardly eaten other cuisines until I met the Tongan guy who became my husband. What a taste festival I have had since then, especially since living in Hawaii!

There are over 40,000 types of rice in the world, including those that are cultivated and those that grow as wild rice. I had no idea! I thought rice was rice and just one kind. So the past 35 years or so I have been enjoyed getting to know for myself how many different kinds of rice there are, and how many delicious ways they can be fixed.

Three Main Types of Rice

Rice is divided into types according to the amylose content (natural or synthetic starch) of the grain.

There are three main types of rice.

  • Indica: Long, slender grains high in amylose. This rice cooks up into separate fluffy grains of rice.
  • Javanica: Medium amount of amylose content and moderately sticky.
  • Japonica: Short and plump medium-grain rice low in amylose. It cooks up into sticky clumps.

In each of the above groups there are several specialty rice. Some countries also grow different varieties of these rice.

Nutritional Comparison

Hulled or Brown Rice

Although it takes longer to cook, the more nutritious rice is brown or hulled rice. The rice is milled to remove the hull, but keep the rice bran layer and the germ. It has more of a nutty flavor is chewy. It is more nutritious and has a lower glycemic index than white rice. The bran contains most of the minerals and vitamins. It is the bran that also gives it the darker color. Any type of rice can be milled as brown rice. It is more expensive because less people like to eat it, and it has a much shorter shelf life (The oil in the germ turns rancid).

Germinated Brown Rice

If you want a nutritionally superior way to prepare brown rice, soak it for 20 hours in warm water prior to cooking it. This stimulates the rice to germinate and this activates enzymes in the rice to deliver a more nutritious meal. Also known as Gaba or GBR rice.

Light Brown Rice

Fifty per cent of the bran is removed instead of all like in white rice. It is not considered a whole grain. It is faster to cook than brown rice (20 minutes instead of 45 minutes). It does have more fiber than white rice.

Multigrain Rice

A mix of different grains. It has a more complete flavor and more nutrition than white rice.

Converted Rice

This rice is pressure steamed and dried before being husked (milled). The grains absorb some nutrients from the husk, which makes it a good choice for people who want more nutrients but do not like brown rice. It looks and tastes like white rice.

White Rice

Milled white rice otherwise known as polished rice, is the most popular form of rice. The husk is removed and the layers of bran are milled until the grain is completely white. It is more delicate and tender than brown rice, but most of the nutrition is removed.

Good News: Ninety per cent of rice grown in America is enriched with iron; thiamine, niacin and often riboflavin, Vitamin D and calcium are added. When white rice is enriched, it has more iron and thiamine than brown rice. However, brown rice has three times more magnesium and five times more Vitamin E than white rice.


Submit a Comment

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    No kidding! I was surprised too. Thanks for commenting Stacie.

  • Stacie L profile image

    Stacie L 

    8 years ago

    wow that many kinds of rice!

    I love rice.:=)

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Great comment celinewayne. I appreciate that. We would all do better to eat brown rice, I am sure.

  • celinewayne profile image


    8 years ago

    hi elayne,

    great information about rice.

    i'd like to add a little that diabetic sufferer should eat the brown rice instead of the white one..

    thanks for sharing, i've just voted it up =)

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    thanks so much anglnwu. Yes, it was an interesting undertaking finding more about rice. Aloha!

  • anglnwu profile image


    8 years ago

    You did an incredible job of explaining all the different types of rice. I always thought that stickier rice has more amylose but I was wrong. I learned so much just from reading your hub. Thanks you and rated it up.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Elayne, this is a very good hub on types of rice. We have really got accustomed to brown rice and find I no longer have much taste for the white rice that sticks together.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    I am on vacation now, so haven't been able to answer all my comments, but know that I do appreciate them very much.

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 

    8 years ago from TEXAS

    I LOVE this hub and the information! I happen to love rice - my favorite is Indian Basmati, though our Texmati grown here in my state is a close runner-up. I dislike gooey rice (or any gooey starchy product). But there is surely nothing tastier than well-cooked rice of various kinds! I'm thrilled to learn more about these other kinds!

    I've never favored "quick-cooking" rice or oatmeal. It's so easy to cook "from scratch" and tastes so much better. I recently learned on a hub that quick-cooking oatmeal is stripped of some of the oats' best nutrients. I wouldn't doubt that the same could be said for quick-cooking rice!

  • LianaK profile image


    8 years ago

    Love rice--especially Calrose sticky rice. Lots of calories. Wish I could like brown rice. :). Thanks for the great hub.

  • HealthyHanna profile image


    8 years ago from Utah

    Thanks for writing this hub. I love rice, but I have never tuned into the differences and lately I have not liked my rice! Now I have a guide to how to buy and fix it.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    This was so useful as I really enjoy rice but ran out of ways to fix it. We use quick-cook brown rice.

  • Amber Allen profile image

    Amber Allen 

    8 years ago

    I use easy cook long grain rice because I find it easy to cook. It doesn't have strong taste but that does mean it goes with almost everything. I do think I need to be a little more adventurous and try some different types of rice. Thanks for sharing.


  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    @hello, hello - most people prefer white rice. It takes getting used to the texture of the brown rice. Thanks for stopping by.

    @2 patricias - I'm sure I have had at least 15 different kinds of rice, but there are lots more I haven't tried.

    Thanks for your addition to the hub peacefulparadox. It was funny when we went to China and went to a restaurant, I thought they would automatically serve white rice, but you have to ask for it. It is not part of the meal.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks for your addition to the hub peacefulparadox. It was funny when we went to China and went to a restaurant, I thought they would automatically serve white rice, but you have to ask for it. It is not part of the meal.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Most restaurants offer white rice with certain entrees. But with some restaurants, they can also provide brown rice upon request (may cost a bit more). I often try to ask for brown rice if they have it (since as the article says, it is more nutritious). I had even heard some restaurants that server "chicken broth rice".

  • 2patricias profile image


    8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

    An interesting Hub. We live in England and can buy several types of rice on our local shops - but not 40,000. We usually buy basmati (an Indian variety) and short grain for making rice pudding. Our husbands don't like brown rice :(

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    8 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for all these interesting information. Don't eat all the 40,000 types of rice at once I tried Brown Rice once and I didn't like it.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    @Les Trois Chenes - thanks for your comments. I hope you will get your wish for brown rice some day. I can buy it, but would rather eat white. Funny how we don't always do what is good for us.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks for your comments BJBenson. I still love potatoes but rice dishes come really close.

  • BJBenson profile image


    8 years ago from USA

    I learned this in Turkey too. Rice is much more important there then the potato. My Turkish friends would have me teach them potato dishes. They would show me things to do with rice.

    Tasteful Hub.

  • Les Trois Chenes profile image

    Les Trois Chenes 

    8 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

    quick and easy way to learn about rice. I'm even more cross now that we can't buy brown rice easily in Limousin, France - the French don't seem to be whole-fooders! I like your layout too!

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    You are welcome drbj. Glad you learned something as I did from doing this hub. Thanks.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    8 years ago from south Florida

    My knowledge of rice has been limited to two kinds: white and brown. To learn that there are 40,000 different kinds of rice is positively mind-boggling, Elayne. Thanks for the research.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Glad you stopped by reddog1027. Yes, it has been quite a revelation learning about rice - glad you enjoyed it.

  • reddog1027 profile image


    8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

    I guess rice isn't just rice. Thanks for education me about the different types of rice.


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