Why Sticky Rice Tastes Better When You Make It At Home

After a long day, the craving for Thai food is impossible to ignore. You quickly place an order from a nearby restaurant, eagerly imagining the spicy red curry and, for dessert, the Thai mango sticky rice. But upon opening the takeout container, your excitement deflates like a punctured balloon. The sticky rice, usually separate and fluffy, now resembles a gooey and mushy, cake-like mass. So why does this scenario seem all too familiar, and why does homemade sticky rice often taste better?

Restaurants, aiming to keep up with the demands of a busy dining room and a constant flow of takeout orders, frequently prepare sticky rice in bulk and in advance. The rice then stays warm for extended periods, sometimes even hours. What starts as aromatic, individual grains soon morph into a glue-like substance under prolonged heat and steam. 

The final blow to restaurant sticky rice is the takeout packaging. Staff seals the rice in containers, trapping steam and accelerating the slide into mushiness. The longer the rice languishes in this steamy environment, the further its texture softens. In contrast, when you make it at home, you enjoy fresh sticky rice, keeping it at the pinnacle of its texture and flavor.

A better taste and a lower cost

For better tasting sticky rice, make it at home where you control every aspect of its preparation. Each step is in your hands, from washing the grains to soaking them and finally steaming them. You can optimize each stage for better results by using a rice cooker, a traditional bamboo steamer over a wok, or even a microwave. Your resulting sticky rice will be fluffy and moist while maintaining a satisfying chew, starkly contrasting the overcooked sticky rice from restaurant takeout.

But the advantages don't stop at quality. Buying raw glutinous rice for a hearty serving of homemade sticky rice could set you back just a couple of dollars, a stark contrast to restaurant prices that can be up to ten times higher. Cooking at home also allows you to customize the dish to your taste and subsequently share the experience with loved ones. And that's why sticky rice tastes better when you make it at home for quality, lower price, and the simple joy of cooking.