This is only a tiny selection when compared to the 100,000 plus varieties available around the world, but here is a brief description of the main rice varieties available in store. Only a fraction of all the rice produced in the world reaches international trade as most of it is used for personal requirements – especially in Asia. At a basic level, we differentiate between round, medium and long grain rice. Round grain rice is generally between 3 and 5 mm, medium grain rice between 5 and 6 mm, and long grain rice is over 6 mm long.
In many Asian languages the words for rice and food are identical – which just goes to show how important this plant is in terms of nutrition on the Asian continent. The actual wild form of this agricultural crop has been lost, however, as the history of rice growing stretches back around 10,000 years in south east Asia.