In recent years, rice breeding programs have focused mainly on improving agronomic traits such as yield, while enhancing grain quality traits has not been given high priority. To understand what factors drive consumer preferences, an extensive survey among local experts was conducted and resulted in 18 combinations of grain quality traits such as size and shape of the grain, amylose content, gelatinisation temperature and fragrance. Also in this study, we exploited a multi-disciplinary approach to understand better quality traits of aroma and flavour in rice grains, and to determine whether good flavour in the grain could be combined with a stress tolerant genotype. Using a mapping population derived from Apo - drought tolerant rice but of poor grain quality, and IR64 - a highly popular variety yet drought susceptible, six novel metabolite quantitative trait loci for volatile metabolites, and 1 associated with drought stress were identified. Interestingly, three lines with high yield under irrigated and drought conditions were also described as having similar aroma to IR64.