After the emergence of the gluten-free craze in Thailand, many health fanatics are starting to adopt a gluten-free lifestyle and avoiding dishes that contain wheat, barley, rye or even the traditional mainstay rice altogether.

The truth is, however, you don’t have to break up with our national staple: every type of rice grown in Thailand is naturally free of gluten. It also provides a lot of nutritional benefits. It’s a great source of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Its rich nutrition is also catching the eye of some of the nation’s best chefs. Along Chiang Mai’s hidden track is a wood shophouse where the chef adds a new twist to staple Asian dishes by substituting many of the ingredients with rice. Meena (Baan Mon Mu 2, Soi 11, 087-177-0523, is offering both educational and gastronomic experiences through its colorful rice dishes—a combination of different rice species.

To encourage international consumer health, the Department of Foreign Trade has launched a project called ‘Think RICE, Think THAILAND” to raise awareness about the national crop by providing a wider range of knowledge to people everywhere, ranging from national agricultural history, information on planting standards and Thai rice quality to nutrition. Nurtured and grown at a proper climate with fertile soil, Thai rice has become one of the best choices for people all over the world. Farms here offer tens of thousands of different rice species with a wide range of colors and flavors—considered to be part of the national heritage for generations. With the introduction of cutting-edge innovations, this national cash-crop is no longer just a staple grain, but a product for better health and quality of life. If you're one of those who struggles to find gluten-free products, you'll be surprised how creative Thais can be with their rice. One of the most prime examples is cold-pressed rice bran oil whose benefits are right up there for healthy food aficionados. Besides lowering your cholesterol levels, this natural rice oil has highly concentrated phytosterol (plant steroids), gamma oryzanol and vitamin E that can combat wrinkles and lower the chance of cancer. Swap this with your regular cooking oil to get the most out of your meals—whether that's fuel for high-octane workouts or just keeping weight and health in check. 



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Sponsored by Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand


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