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Six must-try dishes from sticky rice in Vietnam

June 09, 2021 | 08:10

Sticky rice (xôi) is a regular food in any localities in Vietnam, and each area has its unique way of preparing the iconic ingredient. Following are six dishes from sticky rice that must appear in any culinary bucket list.

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Sticky rice with mashed mung beans (xôi xéo)

When discussing dishes from sticky rice in Vietnam, one has to mention xôi xéo, a popular dish originating in Hanoi, the capital city. Nobody knows who the creator of this iconic dish was, but one thing is certain: Xôi xéo has become an indispensable part of Hanoian cuisine. Nhấn để phóng to ảnh

Six must-try dishes from sticky rice in Vietnam
Xôi xéo is sold all year round everywhere in Hanoi / Truyenhinhdulich

Despite its simplistic appearance, xôi xéo is not easy to make. A perfect package of xôi xéo must combine rice that is sticky but not too mushy or hard, nutty mung beans ground and mashed finely, and crispy fried shallot. Customers can also order pork floss or pork paste on the side to enhance the dish’s flavor.

Sticky rice with bird meat (xôi chim)

Amongst the broad array of xôi xéo dishes in Vietnam, xôi chim is a favorite for many food fanatics. Xôi chim is popular in northern Vietnam, particularly in Ha Nam province, Hanoi, and Ninh Binh province.

Six must-try dishes from sticky rice in Vietnam
Xôi chim is popular in northern Vietnam, particularly in Ha Nam province, Hanoi, and Ninh Binh province / Thucthan.com

The main ingredients for xôi chim are high-quality sticky rice and meat of pigeons, quails, or sparrows.

Bird meat is minced and marinated before being mixed with sticky rice to enhance the umami flavor of the dish. Xôi chim can be served as is, but toppings like sautéed offal or fried shallot can also be added to the dish.

Sticky rice with mung bean crumble (xôi vò)

Xôi vò is another traditional dish found in northern Vietnam’s cuisine. At first sight, xôi vò may look similar to xôi xéo as both are yellow. However, these two dishes are fundamentally different.

Six must-try dishes from sticky rice in Vietnam
Xôi vò is also made from sticky rice, but it is much less sticky than other dishes using the same main ingredient / Dantri

Xôi vò is also made from sticky rice, but it is much less sticky than other dishes that use the same main ingredient. The key difference lies in the way mung beans are cooked. Although they are also ground, mung beans are mixed directly with sticky rice. In xôi vò, mung beans are not served as a side dish.

Sticky rice with corns (xôi ngô)

In Vietnam, xôi ngô is a version of sticky rice favored not only by students but also by adults across Vietnam. Regardless of regions, xôi ngô can be found in any food stalls that serve sticky rice in the morning.

Six must-try dishes from sticky rice in Vietnam
Glutinous corn and sticky rice are the main ingredients of xôi ngô / Dantri

Xôi ngô is unique in that it uses glutinous corn, or waxy corn (ngô nếp), as the main ingredient. The chef mixes glutinous corn with rice before cooking to enhance the pliable texture of the dish. A good dish of xôi ngô must be both sticky and dry and still slightly retains the signature aromas of corn and rice.

Sticky rice with Hue’s simmered pork chops (xôi thịt hon)

In the mind of most tourists, Hue’s cuisine is renowned for beef noodle soup (bún bò), bloating fern-shaped cake (bánh bèo), tapioca dumplings (bánh lọc), or sweet soup with tapioca dumplings and roasted pork (chè bột lọc heo quay). However, Hue is also famous for xôi thịt hon, a dish less known amongst visitors.

Hon is a special cooking technique from central Vietnam, featuring a long simmering time, the lid kept close throughout, and the usage of a rich assortment of ingredients.

Six must-try dishes from sticky rice in Vietnam
Xôi thịt hon usually consists of white sticky rice served with tender simmered pork chops / Dantri

The sticky rice for xôi thịt hon is not mixed with other ingredients. Its texture is slightly sticky but not too mushy or dry. Xôi thịt hon is served with a bowl of tender simmered pork ribs, pieces of half lean-half fat pork, and nutty peanuts. Nothing can brighten up a cold, rainy day better than this iconic, hearty Hue’s specialty.

Sticky rice with anchovies (xôi cá cơm)

Seafood is a staple in the cuisine of Nha Trang, a scenic coastal city in Khanh Hoa province. If you have fallen in love with their rich collection of seafood dishes like fish cake soup (bánh canh chả cá), rice cake with quail eggs (bánh căn) or crispy pancake (bánh xèo), don’t forget to try Nha Trang’s sticky rice with anchovies (xôi cá cơm).

Six must-try dishes from sticky rice in Vietnam
Xôi cá cơm is a must-try for anyone visiting Nha Trang / Dienmayxanh

The anchovies used to make xôi cá cơm must be the freshest. The fish is carefully cleaned and seasoned, then simmered until soft and rich in umami flavors. The taste of hot sticky rice, combining with soft mung beans and flavorful anchovies will make you want to keep digging in.

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