From congee to cakes, the staple has endless uses
Rice is a Chinese staple, and the whole country enjoys this snowy white grain. But as in all major food preferences, there are marked differences in the north and south, with just about as many variations in-between.
Rice cultivated in the northern parts of the country, the great Dongbei northeastern black earth plains, tend to be sticky, short-or medium-grained rice. Constant research and crossbreeding mean that productivity has greatly increased, and most of the rice sold in China now come from here.
Those grown in the south, in the rice baskets of Yangtze and Pearl River deltas are the long-grained rice that are fragrant and fluffy. Rapid urbanization here has shrunk the land used for paddy fields, and homegrown long-grained rice has become a rare commodity.
Even further southwest, in the rice terraces of the Red River Valley of Yuanyang in Yunnan province, there are red rice of the sticky and non-sticky varieties, grains that have been cultivated for centuries. The tribal farmers use traditional farming methods here, and have kept the rice varieties pure.
Whatever the texture, size and shape of rice, it is more than just a staple on the dining table. It can be made into many dishes as well, some of which are classics.