Rice is huge in Asia. Its a staple of the diet, and they treat it a lot like we treat bread in America: the meal just doesn’t seem complete without it! No matter what else they may eat, its hard for Indonesians to feel full without having some rice.
In English, we have one word: rice. I think some measure of the importance of rice in Indonesia is the number of words used to describe it in its various stages.
sawah – wet rice field
bibit – this is the seedling that is planted in the sawah to start the new crop
padi – this is the rice plant as it is growing in the field
gabah – this is the rice after it is harvested and separated from the plant, but still has the hull on it
beras – dry, ready-to-cook rice grains, the stuff you buy in the US
nasi – cooked rice, the stuff we eat in the US
bubur – rice porridge, made by overcooking rice with extra water added
Hopefully all these different terms in Indonesian give you an idea of just how important rice is here!