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A bottle of Sato Phayathaen, labeled to promote the Rocket Festival in the northeastern Thai province of Yasothon

Sato (Thai: สาโท) is a traditional alcoholic beverage that has been made for centuries by the local farmers of the Isaan (Northeastern) region of Thailand.[1]

Sato is commonly called Thai rice wine; but is not made from grapes but from starchy glutinous or sticky rice. Nevertheless, other regional varieties made from grains are also commonly called wine.

Due to internal migration of people from Isaan throughout Thailand, Sato (like many forms of Northeastern cuisine) has become increasingly familiar to the larger Thai population, as well as to the expatriate and tourist communities. The increased awareness and availability of commercially produced sato have resulted in increased popularity. Under the Thai government's One Tambon One Product program (a government sponsored economic development program, abbreviated OTOP) several districts chose tax-paid sato as their OTOP product.[2]. Today, several brewers produce Sato under names such as "Siam Sato", "Ruan Rak", "Gru Pli", and others. Commercial sato is, however, aimed primarily at the tourist trade, and is too high in sugar and too low in alcohol for Isaan tastes.



Sato is brewed with :

1) glutinous rice (Thai: ข้าวเหนียว) (also called sticky rice)
2) a starter culture, a mixture including primarily sugar,
3) yeast,
4) water

Traditionally, a starter culture known as 'look pang' (Thai: ลูกแป้ง) (a small ball of starch, yeast, and mold) is used to assist in fermentation. The steamed sticky rice is mixed with 'look pang' and kept in a fermentation tank for three days as the starch in the rice changes to sugar. Water is then added to the fermentation tank and a the mixture is allowed to ferment for a further week. Following that, the fresh rice wine is pressed from the dregs, and filtered.

Owing to the simplicity of the process, the resultant wine is often of variable quality and has a short shelf life.

Some molds and yeasts produce mycotoxins. Ergot, the common name of a fungus in the genus Claviceps that is parasitic on certain grains and grasses, also occurs in tropical regions, and may cause ergotism. Sato and its ingredients should therefore come from trusted sources.


Sato is typically served at room temperature. In Isaan, sato is usually served in a large bowl, into which individuals dip their glasses or cups.

See also

External links

Notes And References

  1. ^ The Biotechnology and Development Monitor 50, Feb 2003; Soraj Hongladarom, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
  2. ^


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