Japanese Rice “Hino Hikari”. Characteristics and Cooking Tips
Is “Hino Hikari” delicious?
“Hino Hikari” is a highly acclaimed brand of rice that has transformed the image of rice in a warm-weather region. It has received an extra A rating in the “Rice Taste Ranking Japan” as well.
Let’s learn the characteristics of “Hino Hikari” and the key points on how to cook it.
This article is about
- What are the characteristics of “Hino Hikari”?
- Is “Hino Hikari” tasty?
- What is the best way to eat “Hino Hikari”?
- What is the point of cooking “Hino Hikari”?
- Why is it called “Hino Hikari”?
“Hino Hikari” is not only used at home, but also in restaurants!
Main production areas
“Hino Hikari” is grown mainly in Kyushu and western Japan, including Miyazaki, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Fukuoka, Saga, Oita, Kagawa, Nara, and Ehime prefectures.
In western Japan, it is loved by many people as regular rice and in restaurants because of its cost-effectiveness.
“Hino Hikari” is the third most widely planted variety after “Koshihikari” and “Hitomebore”!
In the past, there was no good-tasting rice in Kyushu, to the extent that it was even said that “even the birds won’t eat it.
“Koshihikari”, a representative of good-tasting rice, is not well suited for cultivation in Kyushu’s mild climate.
In 1979, Miyazaki Prefecture began the development of a rice variety that could be grown in the Kyushu region and still be delicious.
The taste was the number one priority in development, with resistance to disease and downfall a secondary concern.
It was discovered that a crossbreed of “Koshihikari” and “Koganebare”, which is resistant to downfall, was as tasty as the top-grade Koshihikari, and the rice was put into experimental cultivation.
In the trial cultivation, it was found to be more susceptible to downfall than conventional varieties.
Some farmers complained that it was difficult to produce, but that all changed when they tasted the rice. The result was that “Hino Hikari” is now available.
Although it was prone to downfall, it was resistant enough to disease, so it made its debut in 1989.
“Hino Hikari” became popular for its delicious taste mainly in western Japan, and was called the “Yokozuna of the West“.
Origin of the name
The name “Hino Hikari” was chosen from a public contest. “Hino Hikari” in Kanji is “日の光” which means “sunlight,”. The name was chosen because it fits the image of Miyazaki, where “Hinohikari” was born and the sun shines brightly.
The name also reflects the hope that it will change the image of rice in western Japan and be widely loved by producers and consumers.
“Hino Hikari” is often used in restaurants because it is inexpensive but has good taste.
It has the following characteristics
- Small, thick, and round
- Light flavor
- Sticky and chewy texture
- Well-balanced in taste, consistency, and aroma
- Less expensive than Koshihikari, but similar in taste and texture
“Hino Hikari” is well-balanced in taste and texture compared to other varieties.
Received an “Extra A” rating in the “Rice Taste Ranking”
“Hino Hikari” has repeatedly received an “extra A” ranking in the “Rice Taste Ranking”.
“Hino Hikari” is grown in many areas in western Japan, and has received an extra A ranking in Miyazaki, Fukuoka, Kumamoto, and other prefectures.
What is “Rice Taste Ranking”?
“Rice Taste Ranking” has been conducted annually since 1971. In the test, a blend of Koshihikari rice from multiple production areas was used as the reference rice and compared to the variety from the area under the test.
The rice is evaluated as follows: “A'” for rice that is generally equivalent, “extra A” for rice that is particularly better than the standard, “A” for rice that is good, “B” for rice that is slightly inferior, and “B The results are compiled and published as a taste ranking every year.
A delicious way to eat
“Hino Hikari” is a light-tasting rice that can be used with a wide variety of dishes. It is suitable for fried rice, omelet rice, rice bowls, and takikomi-gohan (rice dish seasoned with dashi and soy sauce along with vegetables, meat, etc) because it does not become soggy even when mixed with seasonings.
The texture of “Hino Hikari” tends to change depending on how it is cooked, so it is recommended to adjust the amount of water depending on the dish.
When cooking fried rice, omelet rice, rice bowls, etc., use less water to make the rice less soggy. If you want to enjoy the true flavor of rice, use more water to enjoy the umami of the rice.
The market price
The approximate price of “Hino Hikari” is as follows in Japan.
- 2 kg (4.4 lbs): 1,200 – 2,500 yen
- 5 kg (11 lbs): 2,500 – 3,000 yen
- 10 kg (22 lbs): 4,000 – 5,000 yen
- 30 kg (66 lbs): 10,000 – 11,000 yen
Hinohikari is the rice of choice for restaurants and people with big families!