Page 13 - Vallet Table - Spring 2020
P. 13

                                     GOOD STUFF
    With branches in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Honolulu, you’d think the rice factory — which bills itself as the world’s first rice specialty shop — would opt for a location in Manhattan when they opened a New York location. Instead, the team opted for the suburbs — Scarsdale, to be exact.
“At first, we were thinking to open a store in Manhattan,” says general manager Kaori Kobayashi, “but it’s not reasonable because we need a bigger space. So we looked for somewhere with a Japanese community, and then we found the warehouse.”
Rather than merely importing heirloom Japanese rice, the rice factory gives customers an unprecedented education on this staple crop. The process begins with six varieties
of grain: yumepirika and nanatsuboshi from Hokkaido, tsuyahime from Yamagata, koshihikari from Toyama, koshiibuki from Nigata, and the nutrient-dense, large-grain kamiakari from Nagano.
Each strain has earned a top “Special A” or “A” ranking from the Japan Grain Inspection Association, and holds its
own particular taste and texture. If you’re not sure which best suits your particular cooking style, the factory’s rice “sommeliers” and nutritionists will happily help you select the cultivar that’s right for you.
One of the chief reasons the company needed a large warehouse is the facility’s specialty low-temperature storage; the other reason is polishing. The facility includes its own on-site milling operation — open to the public for viewing — which allows customers to choose between unpolished brown rice, 50 percent or 70 percent semi-polished, and 100 percent polished “white” rice.
Beyond rice itself, the shop also sells everything you need to complete your homemade curry or sushi rolls, including house-made mochi and puffed rice, rice mixes, rice oil, sushi vinegar, pickled sides and toppings, wooden utensils, and even naturally gluten-free, barrel-fermented soy sauce.
For tips on optimal storage and cooking techniques, check out the rice factory’s website:
— Dave Zucker
 march – may 2020 11

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