40 Rice Dishes From Around The World

Rice is considered the most important crop of the developing world as well as a staple food for more than half of the world’s population. According to National Geographic, rice is an essential staple for more than 3.5 billion people, particularly in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. How much rice is consumed each year? In the 2020/2021 crop year, about 504.3 million metric tons of rice were eaten around the world. Not only is rice a deeply historic and fundamental food, but it is wonderful in its versatility and how it can be adapted to global rice recipes and flavors. Check out How To Cook Recipes‘ collection of 40 rice dishes from around the world to celebrate just how delicious and dynamic such a simple little grain can be!

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40 Rice Dishes from Around the World

Why Is Rice So Popular in Asia?

Rice is uniquely suited for warm, wet environments, meaning that many Asian regions are ideal for growing it. It thrives in the water-logged soil along the flood plains of Asian rivers such as the Ganges and the Mekong. In fact, “deepwater rice” is a variety of rice that has adapted to intense flooding. China is the rice capital of the world, producing around 1,480,320 tons of rice each year. To put that into perspective, a ton is equivalent to 2,204.62 pounds!

Here are some of the rice recipes from around the world highlighted on this chart:

  1. Indian rice dish: Biryani
  2. Indian rice pudding: Kheer
  3. Brazilian rice stew: Galinhada
  4. Vietnamese rice dish: Xôi ngũ sắc
  5. Spanish rice dish: Paella
  6. Indonesian fried rice dish: Nasi goreng
  7. Japanese rice roll: Sushi
  8. Japanese rice soup: Chazuke
  9. Korean rice bowl: Bibimbap
  10. Thai fried rice: Pad kra pao
  11. Italian rice dish: Risotto
  12. Cajun rice dish: Jambalaya
  13. West African rice stew: Jollof rice
  14. South African rice dish: Geelrys
  15. Puerto Rican rice dish: Arroz con gandules
  16. Portuguese rice pudding: Arroz doce
  17. Iranian rice dish: Tahdig
  18. Greek rice dish: Melitzanopilafo
  19. Afghan rice dish: Kabuli pulao
  20. Belgian rice pie: Rijsttaart
  21. English rice dish: Kedgeree
  22. Jordanian rice dish: Mansaf
  23. Filipino rice pudding: Champorado
  24. Peruvian rice dish: Juane
  25. Chinese rice porridge: Congee
  26. Chinese rice breakfast: Ci fan tuan
  27. Egyptian national dish: Kushari
  28. Colombian rice dish: Arroz de lisa
  29. Mexican rice beverage: Horchata
  30. Creole rice dish: Dirty rice

If you like learning about how rice is eaten around the world, you might feel inspired to try cooking some of these iconic rice dishes. Rice can also inspire you to help others: Free Rice is a fun vocabulary game hosted by the United Nations World Food Programme that can also help you contribute to the rice needs of developing countries. Kids (and adults) will love seeing the rice bowl fill up with every right answer!

Here’s a full transcription of the infographic for accessibility:

Dish Description


Beloved comfort food containing rice, chicken, and ingredients such as parsley, green onions, turmeric, and cumin


Basmati rice, meat (chicken or lamb), and spices such as black pepper, saffron, cumin, cardamom, mint, ginger, nutmeg, and bay leaf. Potatoes, nuts, dried fruits, and yogurt are some regional additions.
Xôi ngũ sắc


Mounds of rice are naturally colored with ingredients such as the magenta plant, pandan leaf, gấc fruit, and mung beans. It’s a popular dish in more rural regions.
Bánh tét


A savory (but sometimes sweet) glutinous rice roll with various fillings, such as pork belly, mung bean, or vegetables, cooked in a banana leaf wrapper that is removed before eating


Slow-cooked rice pudding made with rose water, sugar, full-fat milk, saffron, and cardamom; may be topped with pistachios and almonds

Spain (Valencia region)



Hearty dish with arborio rice, saffron, chicken, vegetables, and seafood such as shrimp, mussels, or calamari. It’s one of Valencia’s most cherished symbols.
Nasi lemak


Considered the symbolic dish of Malay cuisine. Long-grain rice such as jasmine is boiled with coconut milk, pandan leaves, and spices and served with sambal (hot shrimp sauce), fried anchovies, cucumber, and toasted peanuts. Eggs or chicken can be added for protein.
Nasi goreng


Translating to “fried rice,” it’s made with meat, egg, shallots, fresh green chili, spices such as turmeric, and sweet soy sauce.


Rice and seaweed wrapped rolls with various fillings, such as fish and vegetables. The rice is prepared with vinegar, sugar, and salt.


Hot green tea poured over rice and topped with pickled vegetables, seaweed, salmon, or grilled eel


Rice seasoned with sesame and served in a bowl with various toppings, such as egg, beef, kimchi, carrots, cucumber, shiitake mushrooms, and spicy red chili sauce


Glutinous rice cake covered with powdered soybeans, azuki beans, or sesame seeds
Pad kra pao


Jasmine rice fried with garlic, Thai basil, bird’s eye peppers, and meat and topped with a fried egg
Khao khluk kapi


Rice mixed with shrimp paste served with a variety of toppings, such as cucumber, sweet pork, sour mango, chilies, and shallots

Italy (Lombardy region)

Rice is first sautéed and then slowly cooked in broth until it achieves a creamy texture. It often contains butter, onion, Parmesan cheese, and white wine.

United States

One-pot dish made with chicken, sausage, crayfish or shrimp, and rice. Onions, celery, and green bell pepper are often added: This mixture is known as the “trinity” in Cajun cooking.
Jollof rice

West Africa

Rice, tomato stew, peppers, onions, garlic, and herbs, usually cooked over an open fire that imbues it with a signature smoky flavor. Goat, chicken, and beef are popular meats to add.

South Africa

Rice flavored with salt, sugar, turmeric, cinnamon, raisins, and butter
Arroz con gandules

Puerto Rico

Richly seasoned rice with pigeon peas, onions, carrots, bell peppers, ham or bacon, and tomato paste. Stuffed olives are a popular addition.
Arroz doce


Creamy rice pudding flavored with eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon


Fluffy and buttery pan-fried rice with a crispy golden crust, laced with saffron, pistachios, dried fruits, and orange zest
Tahchin joojah


Saffron-spiced rice baked into a casserole with layers of chicken and caramelized onions, served with a garlic yogurt sauce


Rice dish with eggplant, garlic, onion, dry white wine, olive oil, oregano, and parsley
Kabuli pulao


Steamed rice with raisins, carrots, lamb, or beef, abundant with sweet and warming spices such as turmeric and cumin. It’s the Afghan national dish.


Thick pie filled with rice pudding, vanilla, eggs, and cream

England (originally colonial India)

Curried rice dish with flaky smoked haddock, eggs, parsley, and butter or cream


Meat (such as lamb) cooked in jameed sauce (fermented yogurt) and served atop rice


Sweet chocolate porridge made with sticky rice and creamy coconut milk (or evaporated dairy milk)


Traditional dish originating from the Peruvian jungles, made with chicken, olives, hard-boiled eggs, and rice seasoned with turmeric, oregano, and cumin. This mix is wrapped in bijao leaves and cooked.


Marinated meat on a bed of seasoned rice. The meat is charcoal-cooked in a hole underground.


Savory rice porridge with chicken, ginger, green onion, and oyster sauce
Ci fan tuan


Youtiao (fried dough) tightly wrapped with glutinous rice and eaten for breakfast with sweetened or savory soy milk


Rice, lentils, macaroni, onions, cumin, and coriander topped with a spicy tomato sauce. It’s the national dish of Egypt.
Duck rice


Braised duck served with rice and a thick, spicy sauce. It can also be roasted with seasonings like cinnamon, ginger, and anise. Side dishes include hard-boiled eggs and pickled vegetables.
Arroz de lisa


Rice prepared with mullet (a fish found in brackish waters), onions, spices, yuca, osteño cheese, and a creamy yogurt sauce and served in a bijao leaf
Loco moco

United States

White rice topped with hamburger, fried egg, and brown gravy; popular in Hawaii
Dirty rice

United States

Rice made “dirty” by mixing in minced chicken livers or gizzards, ground pork, bacon, peppers, and spices


Beverage made from white rice soaked in water and flavored with cinnamon and sugar
Htamin jin


Fermented rice flavored with turmeric and topped with boiled fish, tomato paste, mashed potatoes, and garlic, served with roasted chili flakes in oil


Rice and beans cooked in banana leaves, eaten with boiled eggs, meat or fish, avocados, coleslaw, finely grated cassava, and fried plantains and topped with black pepper sauce


Want to make your own rice recipes? Check out our Homemade Red Beans and Rice Recipe, Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe, Traditional Mexican Rice Recipe, and Classic Fried Rice Recipe.



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This page was last updated by Megan Miller