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Rice Wine

“Some archaeologists say that as early as 7000 BC, grapes were mixed with rice to produce other types of fermented beverages in China. This is considered to be the precursors of what we call today, rice wine.”  Chinese rice wine or mijiu is an alcoholic beverage made from fermentation of rice starch that has been converted into sugars. Traditionally, rice wine is consumed in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia and has three important traditional functions: to heal, to dispel one’s worries and to carry out rituals.  Though it is called ‘wine’, the rice wine making process is in fact more comparable to that of beers since it is fermented from a grain (rice) rather than grapes or other fruits.  Rice wine typically contains more alcohol than normal wines and beers.  A well-known rice wine in North America is Sake which is a rice wine from Japan.

Some other type of rice wines:

Hariya – A white/watery rice wine from India
Ang Jiu – Chinese red rice wine
Cheongju – Korean rice wine
Kulapo – A reddish rice wine with strong odour and alcohol content from the Philippines
Lao-Lao – A clear rice wine from Laos
Raksi – Tibetan and Nepali rice wine
Rượu cần – Vietnamese rice wine
Sato – A rice wine originating in the Isan region of Thailand
Sombai – Cambodian infused rice wine


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