It’s hard to believe as I pour a cup of crisp white grains into boiling water that they began their journey to the stove in a place as serene as the terraced hills at Longsheng, outside Guilin, China. The Longji rice terraces cover the rolling hills in brilliant green, fading into a blue haze. All around is the sound of water running through a series of troughs from one terrace down to another, down to another. A local woman with a traditional style of hair, uncut since birth, will guide you through the gentle beauty of the terraced maze. For me, I’ve never looked at rice quite the same again.