There is a myriad of rice worldwide and only a few make it to the top list of best rice types. One of the most sough-after is Japanese rice because of its famous recipes. But, what is the best Japanese rice brand to use? Let’s discover the top 3 popular brands in this new post!
The Best Way to Choose Japanese Rice
Upon choosing Japanese rice, you must consider 4 vital factors in order to achieve perfect and high-quality grain. According to Nishijima Toyozo, a 5-Star Rice Master, you should carefully look at the sweetness, firmness, aftertaste, and the country of production.
In terms of taste, there are two prominent types of rice in Japan, the Koshihikari and the Sasanishiki. The first type is actually stickier, fuller and has a richer flavor.
This type is popularly used in Western-style restaurants and bentos while the latter is plain and smooth, which is mostly used in Japanese breakfasts.
Rice is grown all throughout the country and the taste, texture, and aroma depend on the locality of where the grains are harvested.
Top 3 Japanese Brands to Consider
Japan has been popular in cultivating the highest quality of rice over the years and they still maintain to provide the optimum variety of this grain. In fact, they ranked 9th as the world’s largest rice producers and currently has over 60 rice brands to choose from.
However, of these 60 plus rice brands in Japan, there are only 3 popular Japanese rice brands to consider. Although most of them are available within Japan, a few of them has reached worldwide distribution and here are the three Japanese rice brands to choose from:
The Koshihikari rice of Niigata Prefecture is known for its flexible, aromatic, and sticky grain and is overall one of Japan’s highly famous rice brands.
This Japanese prefecture is recognized to be one of the producers of superior rice quality and sake.
What makes this brand and rice variety unique is the explosion of flavors inside your mouth after taking a bite.
This is why most big restaurants in Japan only use rice from Niigata and source out their other ingredients of the same locality.
Another great reason to taste Koshihikari rice is that, for 28 years, it has received A rank in the overall annual rice tasting.
Cooking Koshihikari rice does not require special processes. The steaming method is the most preferred technique but it’s also perfect in the rice cooker.
You just have to remember the rice to water ratio to avoid overcooking or making it soggy.
Here’s a quick guide on how to cook Koshihikari rice:
- Measure a cup of Koshihikari rice
- Wash and rinse at least 3 times
- Soak the rice in water for about 30 minutes
- Drain the water completely and let it rest for 10-15 minutes
- Place the grains inside the cooking pot
- Add 1.2 cups of water and cover with a tight lid
- Cook for about 15 minutes on medium-high heat
- After 15 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and let it rest for 10-15 minutes with the lid on
- Fluff the rice with a spatula and serve
Tamanishiki Super Premium Short Grain Rice
Another brand to look for is the Tamanishiki Super Premium, which is a blend of Koshihikari rice and Yumegokochi rice.
It is a variety of short-grain Japonica rice and has excellent texture and flavor.
Although it is quite sticky when cooked, still the authenticity of Japanese rice exudes making it more fun to eat with chopsticks and alongside your favorite food.
This brand is grown and harvested in California through the partnership of JFC International and a rice crop specialist.
Tamanishiki is sticky when cooked so it is most ideal for your next onigiri and sushi cravings and also for other Japanese homecooked dishes.
Tsuyahime Authentic Japanese White Rice, Traditional
Lastly, the recent addition to top Japanese rice brands is Tsuyahime Authentic Traditional rice from Yamagata Prefecture.
It was rated special A in 2010 by the Japan Grain Inspection Association and now more famous than the Koshihikari.
Tsuyahime’s grain is sticky, shiny, sweet and bigger than most Japanese rice. Apart from these qualities, it has a delicious aftertaste even when the rice is already cool.
The brand uses 5 times fewer pesticides than most regular white rice and also boasts of its perfect texture, sweetness, and umami.
Cooking Tsuyahime is pretty easy and straightforward as the rest of the Japanese rice. Although there are a few differences, you anyone can actually do it!
- Measure a cup of Tsuyahime rice and place it in a colander
- Wash and rinse the grains in a circular motion at least 3 times to remove excess starch and dirt
- Soak the grains in cold soft water for 30 minutes (There is no need to soak if the rice you bought was newly harvested)
- Place the rice in a rice cooker or cooking pot and add a cup of water and let it cook
- After the rice is cooked, let it sit for about 15 minutes
- Fluff the rice with a fork or spatula and serve
Tip: Cold soft water is free from hard mineral contents such as calcium and iron.
What is the Best Japanese Rice Brand?
If we are to consider the global demand for Japanese rice, the Koshihikari Premium Rice still tops the list as the best Japanese rice.
Considering the overall factors such as demand, taste, and popularity, many Japanese restaurants worldwide use Koshihikari.
Although Tsuyahime Authentic Traditional Japanese Rice toggles on second, it still has a lot to go through before it will get even with Koshihikari in terms of popularity.
We have finally discovered what is the best Japanese rice brand in this new post! In fact, there are top 3 brands you can choose from in case you are planning to have some Japanese-inspired dinner.
Before I end this post, always remember that before you purchase Japanese rice, you have to carefully read the labels and note of the country of production, harvest date, and the type of rice.
These factors are vital in cooking Japanese rice especially when you are cooking plain white rice, sushi or any other Japanese dishes.
Have you tried cooking any of the above-mentioned brands? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!