Rainbow rice

Lauren Gawne on the Superlinguo site (“For those who like and use language”, by her and Georgia Webster) on 9/29/14:


I’ve never heard the term ‘rainbow rice’ before, but as soon as I saw it in this context I knew what it was referring to. As far as I can tell the Chinese characters below it also say rainbow, but I’m not sure what the rest is. Living in Singapore, with a number of rice-focused cuisines, it seems like a perfectly sensible name.

In my Australian English childhood, we referred to these colourful decorations as ‘hundreds and thousands’, we also had ‘sprinkles’ but my intuition is that they are the smaller, hard spherical kind. Perhaps you could challenge me on that. I’m sure there are other words for them in your variety of English!

Ah, the intersection of two topics of interest to me: rainbow food and the 100s & 1000s on fairy bread.

On fairy bread, from my posting of 11/26/14:

Fairy bread is sliced white bread spread with margarine or butter and covered with sprinkles or hundreds and thousands which stick to the spread. It is typically cut into four triangles.

I posted a photo there, but didn’t note that the sprinkles were in fact rainbow sprinkles.

Comments on Superlinguo:

Amos Teo: Growing up in Singapore, in my family, we definitely called them ‘rainbow sprinkles’. However, we did call the chocolate ones ‘chocolate rice’, not ‘chocolate sprinkles’.

Vireya: To me “100s & 1000s” are the small round ones. We may have just called the long ones “long 100s & 1000s”, as I don’t remember having a word for them (Australian English, born long before you).

The sprinkle story, from Wikipedia:

Sprinkles are very small pieces of confectionery used as a decoration or to add texture to desserts — typically cupcakes, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, frozen yogurt, some puddings, and in the Netherlands and Australia, sandwiches or bread. The tiny candies are produced in a variety of colors and are generally used as a topping or a decorative element.

… Some American manufacturers deem the elongated opaque sprinkles the official sprinkles. In British English, these are sugar strands or hundreds-and-thousands (the latter term is always used to refer to the multi-coloured spherical type, and alludes to their supposed uncountability). In the Northeastern United States, sprinkles are often referred to as jimmies. Jimmies are usually considered to be used as an ice cream topping, while sprinkles are for decorating baked goods, but the term can be used for both.

The sprinkles known as nonpareils in French and American English are tiny opaque spheres that were traditionally white, but that now come in many colors. The sprinkle-type of dragée is like a large nonpareil with a metallic coating of silver, gold, copper, or bronze. The food-sprinkle dragée is now also made in a form resembling pearls.

… In the Netherlands, chocolade hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles [literally, ‘chocolate hail’]) is used as a sandwich topping (similar to muisjes and vlokken); this is also common in Belgium, Suriname, and Indonesia, once a colony of the Netherlands.

And now we have another term: rice. And rainbow rice as yet another kind of rainbow food — a recurrent topic on this blog (with the rainbow serving as a gay sign or symbol). A survey:

6/26/12: Still more gay flag:
rainbow Oreo

6/28/12: For Stonewall Day:
Pride Oreos, Pride Jell-O, rainbow Jell-O mold

7/3/12: Rainbow cookie facepalm:
rainbow Oreo

10/26/12: Rainbow fruit:

11/27/12: More rainbow fruit:

6/18/13: Rainbow cone:

6/19/13: Rainbow pousse-café:

6/29/13: Rainbow pizza, rainbow underwear:

8/23/13: Share the rainbow:

9/8/14: Birthday presents:
rainbow cake

9/13/14: Sweet rainbow food:

3 Responses to “Rainbow rice”

  1. chrishansenhome Says:

    In New England they were (and perhaps still are) called “jimmies”. They are more likely to be chocolate and not coloured candy. (Apologies if one of the links above covers this, but I couldn’t tell from the short descriptions whether they did or not.)

  2. chrishansenhome Says:

    Ah, I just looked at the headings. Sorry about that.

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