It is a surprise to many that Thailand is the world’s number one or number two rice exporter depending on the year, and the world’s fifth or sixth largest rice producer depending on which study you believe. Rice production is so vital to the Thai economy, it contributes around 15-17% of Thailand’s agricultural GDP.
Thailand also consumes more rice per person in-country than most other countries in the world. Much of the rice sold in Thailand is Jasmine Rice, and it is amazing in flavor and smell. The rice has a very nutty taste, and is awesome with curries, or pork, fish and chicken dishes.
If you plan on buying rice in Thailand to cook at home, on your first visit to the supermarket you might be surprised to find out how big the bags are and how many brands you can choose from.
Unsurprisingly, Thais are incredibly picky about their rice and believe in buying the best quality possible for the price, which is why choosing rice for a Thai can sometimes take a while.
As you can see from the photo too, rice comes in many different price ranges. The cheapest available this week at my local supermarket was 135 baht ($4.40) for a sack that would feed a family of four for about a week, if they eat rice at every meal.
A sack of rice could also be as high as 500 baht ($16.50) and that is just at a generic Thai supermarket. If you buy it at a specialty rice store in Thailand, top quality rice would cost you quite a bit more.
As for me, my favorite Thai rice is the Royal Umbrella rice brand. It tastes great, is still affordable and always seems good quality rice. You will see two types of Royal Umbrella rice brand below — even the bags are beautiful.