Korean rice is enjoyed over ingredients, under ingredients (deop bap), fried, steamed, pounded, even scorched (crispy nurungji) as shared in this post about the Most Popular Korean Rice Dishes.  Rice is a commonly eaten grain but in Korean cuisine, it is an absolute everyday staple.  It is also gluten-free and can be enjoyed without limiting gluten restrictions.  The most important thing is to make sure you are using high quality rice, even if a Korean name is written on the packaging, most of the rice is actually mixed with pesticide coated rice grown in California.  We have made a list of the top five premium Korean rice you must try now.

1. Hyangminara Rice Golden Queen III

The crop of rice dictates half of the bap’s taste.  Historically, rice from Yeoju Icheon (여주 이천) in Gyeonggi Province has been perceived to be the best and served to the monarch.  Then Japanese rice crops such as Koshihikari took over the top while traditional Korean crops from the region started disappearing.

Dr. Yuhyun Cho at a Korean government agency dedicated 20 years to develop a Korean rice crop that would taste better than the current titleholder.  Golden Queen III is that product and he is the patent owner.  Taller crops taste better, but are susceptible to wind leading to lower production.

Hyangminara Golden Queen III is a rice crop between glutinous rice and plain white rice.  The bap will look and stay chewy, and sticky even hours after the rice is cooked.  Your home will be immersed in the delicious aroma of rice while cooking Hyangminara Golden Queen III.  Each grain of rice is rich in flavor - you will smell popcorn - and nutrition.

2. Kang Daein Organic Rice of Life

Kang Daein Organic Rice of Life is high quality, healthy and delicious rice.  Kang Daein and Jeon Yangsoon, known as the first Korean cultivators to grow organically and improve rice production for decades without chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.

In a nutritious and clean organic paddy field, huge amounts of grass grow.  Instead of herbicides, natural grass eaters are used, worms. To use this natural method, farmers have to endure the hassle of adjusting the paddy water several times a day.  By keeping the belief that healthy food, humans and nature have coexisted for a long time, this method involves the knowledge of utilizing the day and night, temperature and humidity, even the movement of stars, resulting in healthy rice with extraordinary taste.

Kang Daein Organic Rice of Life produces white and five-colored rice which gets shipped by air from Korea the next day after it's milled.  It's that fresh.

3. Gawaji No. 1

Gawaji No. 1, a chewy rice breed, meets our criteria.   Gawaji No. 1 is a rice breed almost exclusively harvested in Goyang, Gyeonggi-do.  Chok-Chok Rice is the brand started by young farmers there.  The rice is pesticide free, comes in an innovative, small package. Each rice is small and shiny.  As Gawaji No. 1 has less protein and more amylopectin than other breeds, you can enjoy a delightful rice chewing experience.  When this rice is cooked, you will taste the stickiness that is in between non-glutinous rice and glutinous rice.     

The rice is named after the Gawaji Village in Goyang where the first 12 cultivated rice seeds were found on the Korean Peninsula.  Gawaji No.1 is a unique rice breed produced by the Gyeonggi Provincial Agricultural Research Institute and the City of Goyang.  Known to be the first cultivated rice on the Korean Peninsula, Gawaji No.1 has a high quality supplied to over 30 schools.

4. Charm Dream

Cham Dream (Gyeonggi No. 5) is a rice developed by Gyeonggi Provincial Agricultural Research Institute and is catching the taste of the world.

Dr. Jeong-Hee Jang, a researcher at the Gyeonggi Provincial Agricultural Research Institute, explains that the flavored rice varieties are rice that adapts well to the Hansu-ibuk region, and that it is more mature than Chuchung rice.  It has the ability to ripen at high temperatures, so the rice stays very clean and tastes soft, rich with a subtle sweetness with the stickiness of glutinous rice.

5. Jeju Haenyeo Rice

Haenyeo (해녀, sea women) are female free divers in Jeju Island.  They make a living by collecting seaweed and other sea life from the ocean.   Now you can enjoy cooked rice with hijiki, conch, and seaweed they harvested by hand.  Each cooked rice and healthy seafood prepared in the bowl can be a good meal itself even without a side dish.

Kim'C Market carries three flavors: Jeju Hijiki Rice wild caught hijiki, Jeju Conch Rice with chopped and cooked conch, and Jeju Seaweed Rice with fresh Jeju seaweed.

All of the three rice bowls are microwavable.  Hijiki, conch and seaweed are 100% natural, hand collected by Jeju haenyeo.  Dropping a few drops of sesame oil or perilla oil will make this meal even more delicious.

Keywords: South Korea, korean food, korean rice, premium rice, preium Korean rice

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