Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand has introduced a project called “Think RICE, Think THAILAND” to encourage international community to pay attention to consumer health and to raise awareness on the national crop by providing a wider range of knowledge, ranging from national agricultural history, standards and Thai rice quality. Buakaw Bunchamek, one of Thailand’s most famous Muay Thai kickboxers who fought in both Muay Thai and K-1 kickboxing all over the world, shared how Thai rice has always fueled him for every fight.
Hailing from the rural Thai province of Surin, his source of energy lies in the rice fields that surround his training camp. He planted them himself too. “As a farmer’s child, I definitely have a strong connection with rice. Looking at the paddies makes you feel at home, closer to nature. You can let go physically and mentally after you’ve tired yourself out from training, and don’t have to always focus on being exhausted from practice,” says Buakaw.
Thai Hom Mali rice is Buakaw’s go-to rice. A single of bowl of Thai Hom Mali rice provides roughly 200 calories — it’s why Buakaw estimates rice to make up 70- 80% of his diet. “Rice is a staple that everyone in Thailand eats. Boxers in training need carbohydrates,” he says.
What’s more, Thai Hom Mali rice is the ideal complement to Thai food. “The rice that I grow now is from my parents’ fields,” says Buakaw. “It goes well with Kaprow (stir-fried Thai basil and minced meat) and many other Thai dishes. After a fight, I usually go back home for some downtime and ask my family to make Nam prik pla thu (mackerel with shrimp paste chili paste), Pla ra (fermented fish), and vegetables.”
In a world where fighters are exploring the boundaries of nutrition and sports science, Buakaw demonstrates the importance of simplicity and tradition. “Based on my own experience, Thai Hom Mali rice is the best strain of rice from this region. I have tried rice from other countries, but nothing can beat Thai Hom Mali rice,” says the champion.