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I love the Chinese food we get from takeaway shops, and often to save on the cost we will cook our own rice at home. This is good, but the rice never seems to have the same texture as takeaway rice - it's less sticky, and much harder to eat with chopsticks. I usually use plain long grain rice as that's what I have in the cupboard. Does anyone know what kind they would use in a Chinese restaurant or takeaway?

Also, out of interest, what kind is used in authentic Chinese cooking? (I am well aware that this is vastly different from what we eat as "Chinese food" in the West!)

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5 Answers 5

up vote 16 down vote accepted

Well in Chinese cooking we use a wide variety actually. Typically speaking...

Medium or Long Grain Rice

  • White Rice
  • Fried Rice

Sweet Rice or Glutinous Rice

  • Sticky Rice (You commonly see this at Dim Sum places in the sticky rice dishes wrapped in lotus leaves, among other places.)

There are others of course, but those are the common ones you'll find since you were asking about Chinese Takeout. The shorter the grain, the more "sticky" it will be. However, that doesn't mean that long grain rice should come out grainy either. I suppose different restaurants will do it differently, around here they generally use long grain rice for "white rice". This is how my mother taught me to make rice:

  1. Wash Rice a few times till there isn't any more murkiness.
  2. Add water till it reaches your first knuckle on your pointer finger when the tip is just barely touching the rice (should generally work for any amount of rice).
  3. Bring to boil, turn to simmer. Check back in 10 to 15 minutes If the water is mostly gone, and it isn't at the texture you like, you can always add a bit more water.
  4. Let it sit for a few minutes after the heat is off.

In China, you'll find all different grains. I've seen both short and long grains, and have seen plain white, long grain rice served as well.

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Glad you asked!

I'm a Chinese person who lives in Shanghai.

Based on what I see and my girlfriend's preferrence, native young guys in Shanghai are after rice from Thailand, in Chinese "泰国香米". It looks long and thin, just like @talon8 said. This kind of rice has sweet smell.

Personally, I prefer rice from Wuchang. Wuchang(五常) in a place in Heilongjiang Province, in the North East China. Wuchang rice is basically considered the best in China by elders.

Also, rice in Chinese cuisines is served alone, while in many South Asia cuisines rice is mixed with pork or other kinds of meat.

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Welcome to the site Matt, thanks for your input. –  BaffledCook Mar 24 '13 at 19:01
Google translates the first one to 'Thai rice' (I assume what's sold as 'jasmine rice' in the U.S.) A bit of research into Wuchang rice suggest that it's a highly aromatic short grain rice. (and that there may have been attempts to pass of fake Wuchang rice in 2010) –  Joe Oct 19 '14 at 21:28

I think Jasmine Rice is what you see in many Chinese restaurants. Short grain rice (aka sushi rice) is more popular for Japanese food. The stickiness of regular (as opposed to glutinous) rice is a factor of the amount of water you use. The more water, the stickier. Glutinous rice is not really used for regular food, its mainly for special dishes and desserts.

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Look for any sticky rice (or short-grain rice) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_rice

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Best Chinese restaurants buy in bulk Basmati rice makes a hell of a differences!

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But... basmati rice is traditionally used in India, not China, right? (Also, surely every restaurant buys their basic ingredients in bulk, whether they're good or not.) –  Jefromi Oct 19 '14 at 21:19

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