RIO#8- Rice

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


berasdry, 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!


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