How Jasmine Rice is Grown: From Paddy to Table | Mini Documentary

(lively music) Sawaddee Ka. – Welcome to a very special
episode of Hot Thai Kitchen. So I just came back
from a trip to Thailand, but this was not a regular trip. I was on a special mission. So the Thai Trade Center invited me, along with a couple of journalists on this fantastic trip that
looks at the journey of rice from paddy to table. I was super excited about
this trip before I went, but by the time I was done with it, I was just absolutely blown away at all the different
things that I learned. It was such a cool
experience, and I’m so excited to be able to share this with you in this special video. So to start out the trip, we went to a province of Suphanburi, which is not too far out of Bangkok, and we went to this place
that was so fascinating, and we got to see the very beginning of the journey of rice. Let’s take a look. So I’m here at a place called Na Here Chai in the Suphanburi province. Now, this place, I don’t
really know too much about it, but I know that it’s a
learning center about rice. So I am here to learn
about how rice is grown, and apparently it’s supposed
to be pretty hands-on, but I really have no idea what to expect, so this is gonna be fun. At first I wasn’t quite sure
what this place was exactly. There were some
traditional Thai buildings, but also some sort of a factory, or maybe a warehouse, and of course, lots and lots of rice. Loads of rice. Now, what I did know and was excited about was that I would get to do
some hands-on rice planting. But first, we got on a
brief introductory tour, led by Here Chai himself, who
is the owner of this place. It doesn’t look like much here, but what’s behind me are trays that the little seedlings
have dropped into, and check this out! This is a tiny little rice grain that’s just sprouted. This is like the babiest of baby rice. Next comes the best part. We’re heading to a miniature rice paddy, and yes, this is where I would get to some actual rice planting for the first and probably the only time in my life. Look at this. Rice! On the plant. I’ve never seen one. I’ve never touched one until today. I’ve seen pictures of it on rice bags. Look at that. Look how beautiful this is. All right, my uniform has arrived. I gotta put my farmer
hat on and my big boots. My farmer boots. Wow, these fit better. (speaks in foreign language) – [Woman] That’s more fashionable. – It’s been a long time since
somebody tied my laces for me. Ta-da! I’m ready to go (laughs). I am so excited, you have no idea. I’ve always seen this, like I don’t know, on TV, in documentaries, and now I’m about to experience it firsthand. (speaks in foreign language) Oh, so apparently, they do it bare feet. I’m just a princess. So these are the rice seedlings that have been grown separately, and now they’ve grown to the right age, they get planted into
this muddy paddy here. (screams) So that mud was a lot
deeper than I thought, and really hard to walk in in those boots. No wonder farmers actually go bare feet. The planting itself was
pretty straightforward. Stick each rice plant into
the mud in nice, neat rows, and then smooth everything
out to cover the hole. This is a very strange
feeling on my hands right now. It’s soft and smooth. If any of you have ever put,
like, mud masks on your face, that’s kind of like this. I am never throwing away a
single grain of rice ever again. Ta-da! (laughs) I grew rice, ladies and gentlemen. I really need a round of
applause for all of this. Oh, my gosh, was that an experience! That was so much fun. And it’s a lot of work. But people used to do this for a living all day, day-in, day-out. I mean, nowadays they
have trucks and things that do this for you in neat rows. Man, that’s a mess. But back in the day, this is what people did eight hours
a day just to grow rice. This is how you really
appreciate your food. After that, we headed to
this beautiful, carpet-like vast field of baby rice plants. And turns out this is actually
Here Chai’s main business. Look at this. It’s literally a carpet of rice. So this is the seedling, and now they have a machine, like a big tractor that separates all of these
into tiny little bunches and then they place those
little bunches in the paddies, so basically what I
was doing with my hand, now they have a machine to do all of that. Look, the watering machine’s here. So what they do here is they
actually grow the seedlings for various farmers. So they will sell (speaks
in foreign language). So they will sell these seedlings for all the farmers in this form, and they just roll it up
like carpet and transport it. But the highlight for me
were these adorable buffalos! Here Chai actually keeps
them here to represent pre-tractor times, when buffalos were used to plow rice paddies. This is the female. Her name is Wen. So all this was good and fun, but it still left me a little confused as to what this place actually is. It’s a learning center,
it’s a bit of a museum, it’s also a rice nursery,
so I chatted with Here Chai to find out what is the
story behind this place. So he explained to me
that back in the day, he just sold seedlings. He developed different rice varieties, and he sold them to farmers, but as he became more and more successful, he started to realize that there was a lot of knowledge that he collected. A lot of farming techniques,
just know-hows in general about rice farming. But there was nowhere
to spread that knowledge and to pass it on to other farmers. So he wanted to start a learning center to serve that need. Today, Here Chai opens up to the public and also accepts field trips, because he recognizes
that knowledge about rice is so core to the Thai way of life, since rice really is the
lifeblood of Thai people. Now, in Thailand, we have a saying that rice farmers are the
backbone of our country. And it is absolutely true. Especially before the age of machinery, when that’s how hard
they had to work all day to get rice on our table, and we eat a lot of rice. I mean, it is our number one sustenance, so definitely have a newfound appreciation for their hard work. So from the farm, the rice
gets dried and then milled, so that part we didn’t get to see, ’cause apparently it only happens during certain times of the year, but we got to see what I think is a really interesting part
of this whole process, so our next stop is a
rice processing plant. See, I always thought that rice just gets milled, bagged, and off it goes to the store, but apparently not, because I am standing
here at a processing plant where they deal with the rice between the milling and
the bagging process. I have no idea what happens here, so let’s go find out together. This plant is called Siam Grains, and it’s located in the suburb of Bangkok. We were first introduced to the manager and our guide, Mr. Kittipan. We started with an introductory video, and then Mr. Kittipan pointed out that just outside our window are the trucks full of rice that have just arrived from the mill. And the first thing they do
is they poke each bag of rice with this massive needle that
sucks up a sample of rice into the plant for quality control. This right here is the first
step of quality control. So the rice just got vacuumed. That’s where they all ended up. So they’re looking for, first
of all, moisture content. If the moisture content is above 14%, they reject it and they send it back, because if it’s too moist,
it’ll actually get mold on it, and the second thing is they sort of just, as you can see, rice all over the table. They sort of scatter the rice on the table and just take a look at
its overall appearance. Does it look good? You know, does it look
like nice, healthy rice? And the third thing is they
look for yellow grains. So there are usually a few yellow grains, which she said is usually rice
that’s too old or whatever. I’m not entirely sure, but it’s rice that they do not want, and if they look in this, they see that this lot has far
too many yellow grains, they reject the whole lot. There’s a lot of different,
tiny little details that go into this quality control process. After the rice gets through that preliminary sorting process, half of it goes up to the lab for, you know, things that requires lab for further QC, and the other
half, it’s really interesting, gets cooked in these cute
little rice cookers behind me. I love it. And they cook every single batch of rice to make sure that it’s up to standard. This is the lab I was talking about. Here, the rice goes through
a much more rigorous testing of moisture content, of
the whiteness of the rice, and also of purity,
which basically looks at how much of this jasmine rice is actually not jasmine rice? Turns out that some contamination of other white rice is inevitable, but if it’s not at least 92%
jasmine, they reject the lot. So we’re gonna now go in and take a closer look at the processing, but I’m looking at this pile of rice here, and I recognize it. I can get that at my local supermarket. The place is massive, and the first thing that hits you as you walk
in is the smell of rice. Yep, there’s definitely
a lot of rice in here. The rice first goes through a machine that sifts out little stones that’s left over from the milling process, because apparently, some rice mills use stones to mill their rice. And then the rice gets polished for that nice, shiny appearance
that you see at the store. But the really impressive thing was the next station that he showed me. So this is the coolest
part of this whole process. It’s a color sorter. Basically, there’s a camera that’s looking at all the rice
that’s pouring through, and if it catches anything
that doesn’t look like rice, basically, any yellowing grains, pieces of plastic, of glass, or anything that could’ve contaminated it, it uses wind to blow it all out, so that at the end, the only thing that comes through is rice. How cool is that? Look at this. This is all the rice that
went through the color sorter, so you can see it’s all
the yellow and white and all the imperfect grains came out. And after all the sifting and
the polishing and the sorting, the rice is finally ready to be bagged. But it’s not quite done yet. The bags then go through a metal detector to see if there’s any
teeny-tiny bits of metal that might have slipped
through the cracks. Then and only then are the
bags ready to be shipped out. And this giant claw right
here basically puts the rice on the pallet, and then off it goes into the truck, into the
containers, and look at that. How cool is that? And it just senses the
presence of the rice, and off it goes. Who knew so much had to happen to rice even after it’s been milled before it could end up on
our store shelves, right? Now, when I was at Siam Grains, I thought the place was huge, and I had never seen so
much rice in my life. But that was about to change, because our next stop was
in the province of Ayutthaya at the CP Processing Plant. I am now standing in front of the biggest rice processing plant in the world. This place processes over a
million tons of rice a year. A million! And this place is so big,
it’s even got its own port, and from here, rice gets
shipped either domestically or it goes to another port where it will ship all over the world. So the rice you’re having could
be coming from right here. And just so you get an idea of
how large this operation is, they have a command center. I know! A command center for rice. And from this room, they can keep track of every single step of the process, not just at this plant, but also at their other plants around the country. You know, what fascinated
me about this place isn’t so much what they
do, because fundamentally, they do the same thing
as Siam Grains does. But what’s remarkable
about it is the scale. When I say that this place processes a million tons of rice a year, to put that into perspective, that is 15 billion cups of cooked rice. 15 billion meals come out of this place every single year. Now, that was a lot of rice. And I had no idea rice could be such a technologically advanced operation. I mean, when I was in that command center, I felt like I was at NASA or something. And you know, when all was said and done, when we concluded the trip, the thing that was going through my
mind at the time was that I have cooked thousands of
batches of rice in my life, easy. And it had never occurred
to me that the reason why there’s no, not even a tiny little rock, a tiny bit of hay, no dirt, no nothing, and the reason why it’s
so white and fluffy every single time, like that
doesn’t happen naturally. Or easily, for that matter. I mean, it takes a lot of
work and attention to detail from people like Here Chai,
who develops a good variety, and then from people at
the processing plant, who clearly take no shortcuts to make sure the rice is absolutely perfect. So I hope you enjoyed this trip and learned from it as much as I did. Definitely let me know your
thoughts in the comments below, and if you haven’t
subscribed to this show, please do so, so you
never miss an episode, and I will see you next time. Sawaddee Ka (lively music)

100 thoughts on “How Jasmine Rice is Grown: From Paddy to Table | Mini Documentary

  1. Man, that was comprehensive Pai! Good job! Your curiosity leads you to that passion you have for good food and selfless sharing! You know what makes Thailand special? The quality of rice they export is the same quality you'll find on anyone's table…rich or poor! Thank you for your passion…its a gift… and your smile! Its as bright as the sun! Cheers!

  2. Walking bare feet and touching those mud really help restore your micro biome of your health !

    Would be cool if Rice are test for heavy metal levels.

  3. I've eaten Japanese rice all my life and recently discovered Jasmine rice. I somehow thought it was just cheaper rice this entire time but no. It is the best rice ever! And then I somehow thought I was purchasing rice from poor farmers without modern equipment still out there with the water buffalo, and …. well anyway. Clueless huh? But I learn so much stuff on YouTube all the time, thanks Pai! And now I know where that delicious rice that makes my whole house smell like yum comes from. Welcome 21st century.

  4. Thanks Pai-this was astonishing trip and a wonderful saying that rice farmers are the backbone of our country!! have more respect for rice + rice farmers now!

  5. About rice processing is interesting for me, it is a inportant knowledge for me. I didn't realize the process is so secured. I eat rice in Canada which is imported from maybe Thailand cock brand, I never saw a single stone or other thing than rice. It is perfect 1oo% rice grain which is safe for us to eat.

  6. I wish they had the same procedure for checking rice when I was stationed in Thailand for two years. At the air base where I was the cooks used rice purchased in Thailand and I found worms, and rocks in it when trying to eat it. That was one reason when I was on my days off and ate at the Army base down the road near Sattahib since the cooks there used only food purchased and shipped from the United States and they cooked it themselves and didn't use civilian staff to serve, cleanup, and take care of the kitchen maintenance. I loved their food much more and didn't think that I would say that about Army food.

  7. If anyone gets the chance to eat new rice (like fresh processed then freshly cooked) do it! try it! Fresh rice has a special fragrance and it's just so good. I've eaten rice all my life but there's just something special about fresh rice you just have to try at least once!

  8. Wow! Thanks for sharing that! …a command center for rice lol who knew. This reminds me of my sugar cane Factory tour when I was younger. You're like all this just for sugarcane and you appreciate it more.

  9. A terrific documentary on Thai rice production. Thank you for bringing this to us who consume the rice but have not the slightest idea of what goes on between the farm and our grocery store!

  10. I've done almost the whole rice farming before because my Mom used to help family farm and harvest their little rice patch. Didn't do the planting or cutting to harvest, but did do the "banging the rice plant on the floor to release the grains from the leaf" part, then a little at a time went to this hole in the ground and we used a heavy wooden contraption that when we step on one end, the heavy wooden side goes up and when we let go, the heavy side goes down and pounds the rice in the hole for the rice to release from its shell. We did this for a good 10-15 mins before they scooped the rice out and a new bowl of harvested rice goes back in. As a little kid I enjoyed stepping in that contraption lol it was the highlght of my weekend..😂😂

  11. They grow rice in Arkansas and it is the largest crop here every year. After that Soy Beans is the second largest crop in the state and in the region.

  12. So you never seen rice fields at all growing up in Thailand? Thank you for the wonderful video, im just now watching lol I know its been posted a while now. I loved seeing people working in the rice fields while visiting family in Thailand through the Isan area, maybe more rice up that way 🙂 Most people I notice out in the northern part were doing things by hand still, especially for the harvesting

  13. I loveeeeeeeeeee my jasmine rice 🍚 and after this I going to love it even moreeee and that’s why sometimes good quality rice is expensive , more reasons to don’t complain about the price now !!! Thanks 🙏 sooo much for all this type of documentary’s!!!

  14. So much work for the tiny grains of rice. It seems like it should be far more expensive to purchase after all of that time, work & processing! Thank you for your mini documentary and sharing with us, it is truly fascinating! My husband and I hope to visit and live in Thailand for a while after retirement. So looking forward to it, but even more I will have a new appreciation for rice when it arrives at the table to eat! 🙂

  15. My wife family has rice and I bought a few lots of rice paddys next to my inlaw. I planted rice one your for 4 hours my back was killing me. So I went down town and bought a rice machine and brought it back to the farm and gave it to my inlaws. Planting rice is hard work. ALso yes bare feet the Thai way. Love Thailand our farm and my inlaws are in Nam Som about 50 minutes from Udon Thani. When the rice is harvest the put the rice thru a machine that shakes the husk off of it and they your the left over they use it to feed pigs. Great Video makes me home sick.

  16. Your energy and joyful way of teaching is infectious and captivating!! By far my favorite chef!!! Thanks for the great videos😊

  17. What happens to the rice that is rejected? I'm hopeful it isn't wasted. I have a new found appreciation for the ease of buying a massive bag of rice without all the hassle of processing!!

  18. WOW, that was so fascinating. Thank you so much. I can see why you have almost 600k subscribers! I am now a subscriber and I hit the bell icon, always a thumbs up. Great job, Pai.

  19. loved this! thank you, this was such a great video. so very intresting and I am blown away by the history and process.

  20. Hi Pai! I'm planning a visit to Bangkok soon and would love to experience planting rice. What is the name of the place in your video?

  21. Thank you Pailin,delicious rice..I cook only une day,thank to all brother and sister in Taiwan ,a lot for

  22. Pai ,,, I was always of the view that you were born in Thailand ,,but little did I know you are not … Canada ?

  23. Pai, thank you for doing this vlog, it meant a lot to me since my family are rice plantation farmers and owners. I can vividly remember when I was young I used to help load bags after bags of rice on our big tractor trailers, tagged, and ready for export. However, the new generation and some people may not know the hardship that our ancestors have to overcome.

    As you found out by wearing boots in the rice patties are no match for the muddy waters. People who eat at a buffet and waste every grain of rice don't know the hardship that rice farmers have to overcome. Rice farmers depend largely on the weather (hot or cold, typhoons or drought), season, and if they are able to have enough of water source for the season before it's harvest. The obstacles and challenges that rice farmers have to face are paramount to those who can only put rice on their plate. One time there was a drought that hit all the farmers where we was not able to obtain water for growing rice for 3 months, where we was unable to grow any rice for our first harvest, but than it comes the rain. However, this rain was unusually warm and my grandparents decided to go ahead and plant the young rice anyways. So the young rice grew, we harvest it, dry it in the sun, than put the rice in the mill to process for its removal of yellow husks, and it's process, than bagged. After everything is done and loaded on the truck my grandfather came home from his regular job and to check on the rice before the truck ship it out. Well he was happy of the job we done, but than he ask "what is that smell and where is it coming from?" We all cannot find where it's coming from since we've been working in the plant and our nose done ran away from us with the smell of rice. My grandpa checked everywhere and the last thing that he look into was the husk hopper and needless to say we was not thrilled what he found and told us to do next. He found a flattened mouse in the hopper it is where we lost another 15,000+ lbs or rice that season.

    So I guess my family can relate to other rice farmers who knows and care a grain of rice is a grain close to reality.

  24. In rural Thailand they can't afford the machines so they still do it the hard way, and the workers get 200 to 250 Thai baht for an 8 hour day

  25. What a fabulous documentary! I have always loved rice but now that I've seen this video I have a great respect for the farmers and processors of this important food. Plus, I absolutely love your narratives. Your voice is so pleasant and full of passion when you talk about food. So glad I found your channel.

  26. Thank you Pai for another great video! Your presentation is always excellent no matter what the subject. You are a natural in front of the camera and easily connects with your audience.

  27. I know this was posted almost two years ago, but I just watched this and your channel for the first time. It's one of the coolest things I've ever watched.

  28. Ohhh wow! This was just amazing to watch! I am definitely watching the whole series!
    Thanks so much for sharing it and making such a great video!

  29. Can’t believe just discovered your channel now. You’re inspirational and so enjoyable to learn from. People have say my praise in all your videos I’ve watched, but this one I really wanted to tell you about an old Chinese saying that went through my head for the whole experience.
    In China, we all grow up learning ancient poetry in school and throughout society. In a way the words of our ancestors and great writers are embedded in everything we do and is part of culture. One of the earliest is the poem about rice. It teaches us how strenuous and dedicated rice farmers are to put food, also alluding to basically rice, on our tables. Parents always quote it when talking to kids about food wastage, like “who knew that each grain of rice/food in our bowls came from hard work.”
    Thanks for showing us and doing what you do! You’re a staple now in my family

  30. HELLO LOVELY VIEWERS! Important Note:

    If you have questions about this video, you can post it here for the community to answer. But if you want to ask me, please get in touch via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or my website (all links are in the description above). If you leave questions in the comments I may not see them due to the large volume of comments I receive across the hundreds of videos on this channel.

    Thank you for watching!

  31. When I was in the Philippines and Korea in the 70's and 80's it was still by hand. Pretty sure the small farmers still do it by hand. I do like jasmine rice a lot! Rice…what Nunchaku were invented for…

  32. Thanks Pailin for taking us with you to the wonderful Journey of rice. I now really appreciate each an every grain of rice.

  33. wow thanks for showing us the rice milling process, rice command centre? Haha I learned something just by watching your video, excellent!

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