SundayLife! food editor Tan Hsueh Yun, restaurant critic Wong Ah Yoke, food consultant Violet Oon and Peony Jade’s assistant executive chef Lee Hee Min did a blind taste test of eight budget and mid-priced rice brands from Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia.

A high-end brand, Royal Umbrella, was included to see if any of the cheaper ones were as good or better.

 

Review: Budget rice brandsBAITANG JASMINE FRAGRANT RICE

Country: Cambodia

Price: $9.90 for 5kg from FairPrice

Verdict: Mr Wong said: “It does not have an unpleasant smell but it may be better cooked with less water.” Ms Tan said: “It has the texture of glutinous rice.”

 

 

Review: Budget rice brandsROYAL UMBRELLA FRAGRANT RICE

Country: Thailand

Price: $15.80 for 5kg from FairPrice

Verdict: The judges picked this as the best rice. Chef Lee said: “Unlike the other brands, this fragrant rice can be eaten on its own with accompanying dishes.”

 

 

Review: Budget rice brands

 

HAPPY FAMILY FRAGRANT JASMINE RICE

Country: Vietnam

Price: $7.80 for 5kg from Sheng Siong

Verdict: Ms Oon said: “The rice grains are broken and it is quite tasteless. But, at least, there is a slight fragrance.”

 

 

Review: Budget rice brands

BUDGET LONG GRAIN WHITE RICE

Country: Vietnam

Price: $5.90 for 5kg from FairPrice

Verdict: The judges agreed that this brand lacked fragrance. Ms Oon said: “The rice is similar to the Happy Family brand, which also has broken grains. There isn’t much taste to the rice either.”

 

 

 

 

Review: Budget rice brands

 

FAIRPRICE GOLDEN ROYAL DRAGON

Country: Thailand

Price: $8.60 for 5kg from FairPrice

Verdict: All the judges picked up on an unusual almond aroma. Chef Lee said: “We can’t use rice like this for Cantonese or Sichuan dishes because the smell would spoil the taste of the dishes.”

 

 

Review: Budget rice brandsFAIRPRICE JASMINE FRAGRANT RICE

Country: Vietnam

Price: $7.80 for 5kg from FairPrice

Verdict: Chef Lee said: “Rice like this, which is slightly tasteless, is good for fried rice.”

 

 

 

Review: Budget rice brandsPADDY LAND CRYSTALLINE FRAGRANT RICE

Country: Vietnam

Price: $9.25 for 5kg from Giant

Verdict: Ms Tan said: “It has fluffy grains and a pleasant aroma but it lacks flavour.”

 

 

Review: Budget rice brands

 

FAIRPRICE THAI FRAGRANT WHITE RICE

Country: Thailand

Price: $6.50 for 5kg from FairPrice

Verdict: The tasting panel agreed that this rice was the worst of the lot. Ms Tan said: “The grains are broken and bland.”

 

 

This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on February 3, 2013. For similar stories, go to sph.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore. You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.