In Asian countries rice is the most important food. For example in Japan the noun for each meal is suffixed by rice. So breakfast, "asa gohan" ( 朝ごはん ), is morning rice and dinner is evening rice and so on. Rice in some form is actually eaten during these meals be it sushi ( 寿司) , onigiri (おにぎり ) or okayu ( お粥 ).
Rice is similarly respected in Nepal. For example when I was young I remember all the adults of the family eating rice only after dressing in "rice eating clothes". Without dressing into special clothes they were not allowed to eat rice! Sadly this tradition has died out during my lifetime but on special occasions we still dress into these clothes just to eat rice. And I must say it is such a beautiful feeling to eat rice this way.
Image: Men In White waiting for rice. November 2011.