If you’ve been to Japan, you know that the rice they serve — even the musubis at convenience stores — is far superior to any rice you eat in Hawaii. Once you know the difference, it’s hard to come home to tasteless, textureless, lifeless rice.
You don’t even know when your bulk bag of rice from California was milled, do you? Nobody does. But in Japan, milling dates are printed on the package so you know how fresh it is. The taste and smell of the rice grains start to degrade as soon as they are milled due to oxidation, so buying a bag more than a week old is frowned upon.
Well, now you can get freshly-milled, high-quality rice right in Kakaako. The Rice Factory is already a year old, but their reputation has been gaining ground in recent months as people try their products and return for more.
You can choose from four basic varieties: Nanatsuboshi and Yumepirika from Hokkaido, Tsuyahime from Yamagata, or Koshihikari from Nagano. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can get the rare Kamiakari variety, which the owner Tomohiro Deguchi grows himself. This batch is being sold for the first time overseas, and it’s so rare that many people in Japan haven’t even tried it. But I did.
The Kamiakari was something like $10 for this one-pound bag, but the other varieties (below) can be purchased for a little less — maybe $3 to $8 per pound. If you think that’s too expensive for Hawaii tastes, think again: Local eaters, even to their surprise, are their largest customer base.
If you want to learn more about The Rice Factory, you can also see it on Doko Ga TV:
The Rice Factory
955 Kawaiahao St.
Open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.