White on rice is an idiomatic expression that simply means being close to someone or something.
You can use the term in a literal sense, as in being physically close. However, the more abstract use of the term is just as common, when it refers to someone being closely involved in something.
People sometimes say “I’m on you like white on rice” to express that they are going to be suspicious and vigilant.
The term originates from the color of rice, which is normally associated with white color in western cultures. White on rice is an idiom, depicting the inseparable relationship between rice and its color.
There is no stable data about who exactly came up with the expression. However, it is speculated that it became popular in American English during the 1970s, when Japanese gastronomy started to spread throughout the country.
This expression is one of the lesser-known ones. Most English speakers are familiar with the meaning of the term, but it is rarely featured aside from everyday civil dialogues.
In 2009, the comedy movie White on Rice was released, directed by Dave Boyle. The movie tells the story of a 40-year old Asian man who chases a hopeless love and gets into all sorts of trouble.
- Writingexplained.org – What Does White On Rice Mean?
- Idiomation.com – Like White On Rice
- Quora.com – What is the origin of the expression “white on rice”?