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What is Bamboo Rice?

By Bronwyn Harris
Updated May 16, 2024
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Bamboo rice is not a specific varietal of rice, but is rather a short-grained white rice that has been treated with the juice of young bamboo plants. While milling the rice, the chlorophyll from the bamboo is added. This process causes the rice to be high in vitamin B, and gives it a flavor and aroma much like that of a jasmine green tea.

A striking pale green, bamboo rice is not technically considered sushi rice, but is sometimes used for sushi to lend color to sushi rolls. It should not be cooked like regular sushi rice. To cook it, 1.5 cups of water (0.35 L) should be added to each 8 ounces (227 g) of rice. It should then be cooked as usual, but allowed to sit for 20 minutes after cooking.

Bamboo rice can also be served as an Asian-style risotto, or a side dish when the cook wants to add a striking note of color to a meal. After it is cooked, the rice is usually moist and sticky. Some Asian markets carry this variety, and it can also be ordered from mail-order food catalogs or specialty food stores.

The jade color of the rice can complement many different types of meals, and can be pleasing to the eye as well as contributing a fragrant aroma and delicate taste. While rice is often an unnoticed part of a meal, bamboo rice will cause guests to take notice of its subtle flavor and attractive coloring.

Cooks wishing to experiment with bamboo rice may wish to try serving it with stir-fry instead of white or brown rice. The rice provides a unique visual contrast to the pink color of salmon, or the golden brown color of pork chops. In fact, it can be used as a substitute for white rice in virtually any meal, to lend a festive flair to the meal presentation.

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Discussion Comments

By anon1004881 — On May 08, 2021


If I enjoyed the taste of bamboo rice after my trial. I was going to try and make mango rice with it. The colors would be a striking as your saffron rice idea, but similar to you, I’m not sure if the flavors would go together based on what I’ve read. The sweetness of the mango might balance the green tea-like taste of the rice.

By anon1004880 — On May 08, 2021

Does anyone know how to cook bamboo rice in a rice cooker? I fail miserably making rice on the stove top every time, but it always comes out perfectly in my rice cooker. I bought a small amount to try it and don’t have enough to experiment on different settings.

The note above it says it’s sushi rice but should not be cooked like sushi rice. Just wondering what setting to use on my rice cooker. White/regularly or sushi? Or maybe sweet/sticky? Mixed? Arrrrrggghhh!

Thanks for any light you can shed from trial and error.

By anon249238 — On Feb 20, 2012

So does anyone feel confident about eating rice from China? There's much less green rice where so many nasty metals leave a green tinge on things.

By golf07 — On Oct 11, 2011

I like most Asian food, but for some reason it took me awhile to get used to the light green color of bamboo rice.

When I tried this at a restaurant, the rice was moist and tasted OK, it was just the first time I had seen anything other than white or brown rice.

The flavor is different and has a light grassy taste to it which does complement a lot of dishes.

I don't think I would buy bamboo rice to use at home, but would order it again at a restaurant for something different. At least I would know more of what to expect the next time I order it.

By Markus — On Oct 10, 2011

@manykitties2 - I used to wait tables at a Thai restaurant and on my breaks I loved to watch the chef prepare his dishes. One of them was stuffed bamboo shoots. I liked it so much that I started making it at home.

Unless you grow your own, you'll need to buy fresh bamboo for this recipe. Cut the bamboo at the joints, the lower joints are usually the better ones to use as a cooking vessel. Then slice it long wise.

The filling is made with dry bamboo rice, water, terriyaki chicken, cabbage, carrots, onion, soy sauce, and a few other Asian spices. Mix all the ingredients together, pack it in the bamboo shoot, wrap it up tightly with banana leaves and cooking string or aluminum foil and throw it on the grill for about forty-five minutes. Delicious!

By candyquilt — On Oct 09, 2011

@feruze-- Yea, it is kind of expensive, especially if you buy one pound packages. I used to get it like that for about $6-10 per pound. But then I realized that I can get it for so much cheaper if I get a big bag of it. You can get 10 pound bags for about $40 which is much cheaper than getting it per pound.

I think you should get a small bag first and if you like it, you can get a large one next time to save money. I've replaced my jasmine rice with bamboo rice completely. I like that it has some fiber, antioxidants and vitamins in it. I'd rather pay a few extra bucks and actually eat something that is beneficial for me. Regular white rice has no benefits whatsoever.

By ellafarris — On Oct 09, 2011

@manykitties2 - I know what you mean about making the same old risotto rice dish. Last year for St. Patrick's Day, I came up with a new recipe using bamboo rice that's fun and easy to make, and really delicious too.

I cooked the rice according to the directions and then in the final stages I added some edamame and chopped scallions. This not only gave it a kick of flavor but enhanced the beautiful green color of the rice.

I shaped the rice into patties using a one fourth measuring cup and then I sprinkled a few more of the edamame and scallion mixture on top. Then to finish off the dish, I circled the base of each patty with sweet vidalia onion grilled shrimp.

The taste and color combination were out of this world and it was so perfect for our little green holiday!

By bear78 — On Oct 08, 2011

I love jasmine green tea. I can't believe that there is actually a kind of rice that smells like it. I'm sure I would love it.

My favorite Asian meal is one I had at a Japanese restaurant. It was grilled salmon, rice and salad with sesame sauce. It was pretty good with white rice, but I bet it would be much better with bamboo rice. Maybe I'll talk to the Chef of that restaurant and ask him about serving bamboo rice there.

One thing I'm wondering is, what's the price of bamboo rice like? It must cost more than regular rice, but is it still affordable?

Or is it so expensive that it's a luxury food?

By manykitties2 — On Oct 08, 2011

@wander- I am sure that the red of the saffron rice would look great with the pale green of the bamboo rice, but I just can't see the flavors going well together. I find that bamboo rice has a very subtle taste, where saffron rice is spicy and really good just on its own. I suppose you could mix the two, but I would try it by yourself before presenting it.

Does anyone have any good recipes that would make good use of bamboo rice?

I have a new bag of bamboo rice sitting in my cupboard and would like to make something more interesting than my regular risotto.

By wander — On Oct 07, 2011

Bamboo rice is great thing to add to your regular rice dishes if you want to add some color, and put a few more vitamins into your meal. The bamboo rice I buy is sold just like any other rice, but the different brands are slightly different colors, or at least that has been my observation so far.

I think that the easiest way to cook bamboo rice is to just follow the directions on the package. Different brands give slightly different cooking times, so it is best to check.

On another note, does anyone know if bamboo rice would be suitable alongside saffron rice? I like the idea of having two distinct colors added to my plate, but worry that the flavors wouldn't go well together.

By anon220184 — On Oct 06, 2011

bamboo rice is a variety of rice grown on the bamboo. it comes every 40 years and has many medicinal values. please check on this rice variety and then have some posts on ways to cook this.

By anon180907 — On May 27, 2011

actually some types are very green.

By anon157897 — On Mar 04, 2011

oh yeah, and, it's not green. It looks a lot like brown rice, but very fine grain. (Post about rice from Wayanad, India)

By anon157896 — On Mar 04, 2011

I got Bamboo Rice in India, in Wayanad, and it states that it is a "medicinal rice which flowers once every 40 years and is harvested in the forest".

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