Rice has become a consistent companion in my life this year, and I think that deserves some special attention. From sun-rice to sunset, it is always there to eat. I suppose you could say that when I think about breakfast, lunch, and dinner, my initial thought is: three sublime rice meals are so fun. If someone were to insult the delicious white grain of my life…let’s just say it would be no more Mr. Rice Guy. So, without further ado, An Ode to Rice.

Good morning rice.
I hope your day is nice,
as you enjoy swimming in my porridge,
steaming with my Bai sah-chroo
for breakfast is not the same without you.

Hello rice, we meet again.
I have joined the rush of lunch in the P’teh-ah bai
Will soup or stir fry or fish or greens join you today?
It does not matter, because you are constant.
Stark white against the vibrant red chilies full of spice.
Bai Saw, Bai Chah
Steamy, fried, delicious rice.
Thank you for each grain.
For filling my stomach.
For another meal.

Good afternoon rice!
Ang Som sits on the office table.
Ang Som Chej. How can I possibly resist a rice and banana snack?
Knyom klee-en bai
I am hungry.
For a snack.
For rice.

Good evening rice.
Everyone settles down for dinner now
See, nyam, hope, pisa, sowey
We eat rice.
Nyam bai Howie?
Have you eaten rice already?
Howie Howee.
I ate already.
Nyam bai tiet. Meean bongaim
Eat rice again. I have dessert.

Again I greet you, familiar rice friend.
Swirling in a sea of coconut milk and sugar water.
Or dried with palm sugar into a tight ball.
Thank you for your sweetness.
Rice is sweet. Rice is nice.
Goodnight rice, until tomorrow.
Bai Bai Bai

For more facts about this friendly food and its importance in Khmer culture, check out a post on my language blog where I talk all about Rice, Rice Baby.



2 thoughts on “An Ode to Rice

  1. Sounds like rice is not only a staple but has gained quite a personality. I also see a rice cooker in your future…very cool that your positivity and great nature is giving you such a different outlook on the culture and I’m grateful for your views entering my life…I’m fascinated.

    Love you true,


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