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RHIZOMES to RYE >  Rice Use In Mexico


Philodendron Leaf




Hi James,

As we were eating lunch today, my husband asked how "rice and beans" can be a staple of Mexican food if there is no rice production in Mexico and parts south.  Can we assume that the combination is a result of U.S., or Tex-Mex influence and is only recently associated with Mexican food? What's the history? 

Thanks, Paula



Hello Paula

Early Spanish explores introduced rice the Caribbean and South America, and to Mexico by the 1520s (rice wasn't introduced to the Carolinas until more than a century later).  Rice has been part of Mexican cuisine for almost 500 years.

Mexico's rainy season follows a monsoon pattern, with the summer rains moving from southeast to northwest and back again. This makes two yearly rice crops possible in the southeastern state of Campeche, which borders on Veracruz, where rice is a summer crop. Rice is also a large crop in Colima, Michoacán and Nyarit.

Today, Mexico imports more then 60% of its rice, most of it from the U.S. That is not unusual - more than 80% of the world's rice is grown in 7 countries. (China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines).

Chef James,




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