"Red rice" may refer to Bhutanese red rice or Red Cargo rice, which are rice varietals from Bhutan and Thailand, respectively. Bhutanese red rice and Red Cargo rice have important nutritional value.
Bhutanese red rice is a short-grain rice varietal from the Himalayan mountains (for this reason, it is sometimes called "Himalayan rice"). Red Cargo rice is a long-grain rice that is less glutinous than Bhutanese red rice.
Bhutanese red rice is firm with a light red husk, slightly sticky when cooked and nutty in flavour. It cooks in only 20 minutes and has more bran than brown rice. Red Cargo rice ranges in colour from red to purple. It must be soaked before cooking, but cooks up more quickly than brown rice.
Like brown rice, red rice is higher in fibre than white rice. Both red rices are rich in B vitamins, iron and calcium. The reddish colour of red rice is due to an antioxidant called anthocyanin, which is currently being studied in relation to the alleviation of chronic health conditions.
Red rice has only recently become available in the United States.
"Red rice" may also refer to red yeast rice, a fermented product from Asia; or "weedy" rice, which is a low-yielding agricultural pest.