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May 5, 2009 12:25 PM

Where to buy sticky rice?

Where can I buy the really really sticky rice used a lot in japanese restaurants? I love in the Brookline area and I'm not really sure where would be a good place to buy it. Also, what brands are good as well? Can I just use regular short grain rice or should I buy the sweet rice or glutinous rice?

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  1. Japanese short-grain white rice is stickier than many varieties you might be familiar with, and is probably what you want for most purposes. I don't believe glutinous (a/k/a sticky, sweet, or pearl) rice is much used in Japanese cuisine, unless you're making mochi.

    Look for it in stores like Ming's, C-Mart, and Super 88. "Japonica" is the variety you want; the words uruchi-mai are another clue. The stuff from Japan is really expensive; I'd advise you to start with the California-grown brands of japonica. You'll sometimes see it packaged as "sushi rice".

    You could even start with the RiceSelect brand of sushi rice, sold in square plastic jars from the TX company that does hybrids like "Texmati"; you might find that in your local Stop and Shop or Shaw's. Not sure where in the US it's grown, but it's the real thing, a non-hybrid Koshihikari rice.

    Whatever you do, rinse and rinse and rinse: multiple changes of water until it's clear.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Its the rice and the technique.

      Start with short rice, rinse until clear, let set and hour in its cooking water and then turn on the rice cooker or stove. On the stove, cover, bring to a boil on a high heat, reduce to simmer for ~15 min until most of the water is gone, remove from heat and let sit for ~15 minutes.

      1. re: alwayscooking

        Also, if the OP is talking about sushi rice, the short-grain Japanese rice is made sticky and sweet by the addition of sweetened rice vinegar after the cooking, but I don't know the exact proportions.

        1. re: bella_sarda

          Yep, labeling japonica as "sushi rice" is kind of a dumb American misnomer, like calling arborio "risotto rice". Cooked japonica doesn't become sushi until the seasoned rice vinegar is added. But it's still plenty sticky before the addition of the vinegar.

    2. There are many different kinds. Sounds like you are talking about sushi rice which is not technically "sticky rice." Super88 in Allston has a half decent assortment. You want just short grain .

      These are some of the brands you might consider: Kokuho Rose, Nishiki. Sticky rice is more of a chinese thing, and it is in fact very sticky. Think it is more or less interchangeable with sweet rice, though I may be wrong there.

      4 Replies
      1. re: StriperGuy

        Super88 did have a decent assortment, but it seems hit or miss right now-- when I was in there the other day, the only japonica that I saw was Kokuho Rose, which is OK but kind of bland, I find. They might have had more in small packages, though-- I was only looking at big bags, and maybe they were just running low on stuff. If you strike out there, though, you can try Mirim on Harvard, for a decent but slightly more expensive assortment.

        If you're willing/able to shell out for a premium rice, I'd recommend one of the brands with koshihikari rice. Our options are limited here, but my favorite brand is Tamaki, from California-- however, indeed, it has become exorbitantly expensive... I personally think their 'haiga' style is the best rice available in the Boston area, but given the price and the fact that it's becoming increasingly difficult to track down here, we reserve it for special occasions nowadays. Tamanishiki brand is also quite good-- they had it at Kotobukiya, but I'm not sure where else in the area carries it. (Possibly Reliable? Soon it's going to be time to start tracking down new T-accessible sources of big rice bags...sigh)

        There are also some more moderately priced japonica options, such as Nishiki or Kagayaki. I find that of these two, Nishiki has better texture but almost no flavor, while Kagayaki tastes a little better but takes forever to rinse, and easily turns out with too soft/gummy a texture. Coming back to the issue of mochi rice, a trick I learned from a Japanese friend of mine, who was also annoyed by Kagayaki, is that you can improve the results a little by tossing in a small handful of mochi rice together when you cook. (It's possible that the 'Kagayaki select' is better than the plain Kagayaki, too) If you end up at Mirim, there are also Korean brands that are similar medium-grain varieties, but I don't have any experience any of the brands that they sell.

        1. re: another_adam

          Ok . . .

          so if I were the OP who just wanted to replicate a different rice experience, i would buy/do


          give the OP what they are seeking (and ask) before leading them into the frontier . . .

          1. re: alwayscooking

            I would get Tamaki haiga or Tamanishiki if I could afford it, or else I would look for Kagayaki or Nishiki. Since the rice landscape in Brookline/Allston is changing frequently, though (Korean market in Brookline Village gone, Super88 unpredictable on selection, and other neighborhood markets with varying stocks), knowing the options is useful.

            Honestly, any of the brands mentioned in this thread are perfectly fine, so a plausible instruction is "try whatever short/medium grain rice you find and see if you like it". But I think the original question was indeed fishing for some comparisons of locally available brands!

        2. re: StriperGuy

          Kokuho Rose is pretty widely available. I know they have it at the Porter Square Shaw's so I bet that other area supermarkets have it too. Whole Foods carries at least some Nishiki - I've bought their brown rice at the West Medford location.

        3. Just a quick follow-up to this-- at least as of earlier today, Super88 in Allston does not seem to be stocking any California/japonica rice. (There's a bunch of big bags of jasmine rice and mexican rice, and some small bags of brown rice, but nothing else) Hopefully this might improve once they're done "renovating", but it looks like for the moment Super88 is not the place to head for this style of rice. The two Korean markets in the area would be a better bet: John's nearby on Linden, or Mirim on Harvard.

          1. We always have "sticky" brown rice, Korean/Japanese-style instead of white rice in our house. I've used Tamaki brand from Reliable (as anotheradam recommends) and it is delicious. Currently, we are eating Gen-Ji-Mai short grain brown rice from Han-Ah-Rheum and it's quite nice, too. ~$20 for a 25 lb bag.

            What's a real treat, though, is to buy in addition a small 5lbs. bag of purple rice or multi-grain (I don't remember how it's labeled) that has all sorts of grains, legumes, barley, etc. Mix it in with your short-grain in a rice cooker. Be accurate with the water. The result is delicious and much more nutritious than just simple white rice.

            1. The best, most avaialble "glutinous" Japonica rices in the US are eaten hot (gohan) or can be made into sushi. These inlude brands like Nishiki, Koda Brothers, CalRose, and Kokuho. Each rice producing country may have some Japonica production (e.g., Malagkit "sticky" in the Philippines).

              On the other hand, when Asians who know Asia think of "sticky rice" we think of Lao and NE Thai rices like Neue Sanpatong or Khao Dok Mali. One eats these by pulling up a bite sized bit of rice and rolling it slightly in a ball and eatinjg with the other foods. Khao niyao does not stick to your hands. I got some Sanpatong in a Giant Foods in DC a month ago.