Sticky Rice in Vietnam (Xoi) - Local Guide

Duc - October 28, 2018

 Five Color Sticky Rice – A dispensable local cuisine in Vietnamese wedding days

Sticky rice is a prevalent food made from steamed or cooked glutinous rice, a rustic dish which is very omnipresent in many Asian countries, Vietnam included. The S-shaped country is known as an agricultural one with water rice, the major crop. To every Vietnamese, Xoi is a must-have dish in important occasions such as full moon days, Tet holidays, weddings and death anniversaries.

II.1. Essential ingredients?

  • The main ingredient is commonly all kinds of fragrant sticky rice, whose flavor is incredibly soft and limber.

Xoi Hanoi - Vietnamese Sticky Rice Fragrant sticky rice - a typical ingredient of Vietnamese Xoi

  • Generally, sticky rice is combined with other coloring and flavoring additives like magenta plant and pineapple leaves.

Xoi La Dua – Pandan Sticky Rice

It forms a unique flavor and taste for every kind of xoi.

  • Ethnic groups such as the Tay, Thai and Muong often use many kinds of juice from leaves, tubers, vegetable roots to make colorful sticky rice dishes.

Other ingredients: Green beans, black beans, nuts, meat, fish, corn or fruits like mango and durian.

Dishes to serve with?

  • Shrimp, pate, salami, roasted pork, Char siu, bacon, eggs, meat pies, rolls, and Chinese sausages are usually served with sticky rice dishes.

Xoi Hanoi - Vietnamese Sticky Rice Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage Dried Shrimp and Pork Floss- A filling breakfast

  • It contributes to bringing about many diverse flavors to meals.

How to cook a flavored sticky rice cuisine?

  • The recipes for Vietnamese sticky rice are varied depending on each type and also every custom and experience of makers.
  • The most popular method
  • Soaking sticky glutinous rice in water for a sufficient time period( about 3-4 hours), waiting the rice relatively to be expanded
  • Washing and mixing the rice with a little salt and other ingredients depending on the types of sticky rice
  • Putting prepared ingredients into an autoclave (“cho” or “xung” in Vietnamese), pouring boiling water into the bottom of the autoclave

Xoi Hanoi - Vietnamese Sticky Rice

The autoclave of Thai ethic group to make Xoi

  • Placing this autoclave on a pot to let the ingredients mostly contact with the steam but not to touch the water
  • Boiling the pot on the stove over low heat until the sticky rice is well-cooked and limber.
  • You can utilize the rice electric cooker with steaming function or a modern steam pot instead of the traditional autoclave.

Some famous Vietnamese sticky rice dishes

  • Xoi Gac - Gac fruit Sticky Rice

Gac fruit sticky rice boasts its bright red color and delicious flavor of this special and meaningful Vietnamese traditional dish.

Xoi Hanoi - Vietnamese Sticky Rice

Xoi with Bright Red Colour from Gac fruit

You can enjoy it with a suckling pig on a platter for the engagement ceremony.

  • Xoi Lac – Peanut Sticky Rice

Peanuts will be boiled until they become soft, then mixed with soaked glutinous rice and steamed as normal.

Xoi Hanoi - Vietnamese Sticky Rice Peanut Sticky Rice with its fat flavor of peanuts

According to Thach Lam, a famous writer in his “Qua Hanoi” culinary memoir, peanut sticky rice is served as a snack.

  • Xoi Sau Rieng – Durian Sticky Rice

It is considered as a typical dish in Southern Vietnam.

Xoi Hanoi - Vietnamese Sticky Rice Durian Sticky Rice, a valuable prize from Southern Vietnam

To make this food, people will need to take the flesh of the durian and mix it with sticky glutinous before steaming the mixture with a little coconut milk.

  • Xoi La Cam – Magenta Plant Sticky Rice

This dish mixed with the decoction of the magenta plant for the purple red color.

Xoi Hanoi - Vietnamese Sticky Rice Magenta Plant Sticky Rice, a pride of Northern ethic groups

  • Xoi Khuc – Gnaphalium Affine Sticky Rice

Each Xoi Khuc is wrapped by a layer of sticky rice, stuffed with green bean, fat meat, and fried onion which tastes very delicious.

Xoi Hanoi - Vietnamese Sticky Rice

Xoi Khuc contains a unique flavor of rural areas in Vietnam

This is actually one of the best sticky rice dishes with a special flavor of Vietnam rural areas.

II.5. Where to try Xoi in Vietnam?

  • Dieu Street house

Address: 2 Dieu Street, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi

Average price: 20.000-50.000 VND

This stall is well known for various types of xoi, especially fried sticky rice (Xoi Ran) with limber and crispy taste.

Xoi Hanoi - Vietnamese Sticky Rice

Xoi Ran a specialty of Dieu Street house

- Opening hour: Only open after 6p.m and close at 11.00pm
- Tourists should go there earlier to get seats because its space is rather small.
- Visitors can eat this dish with vegetable pickles, braised eggs or Chinese sausages.

  • Mrs. Thao’s Store

Location: 41 Thanh Street, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi

Average price: 25.000- 55.000 VND

The famous dish here is grilled popped shrimp sticky rice with eye-catching golden color of grilled popped shrimp combining with limber and fragrant flavor.

Xoi Hanoi - Vietnamese Sticky Rice Grilled popped shrimp in Mrs. Thao’s store

- Opening hours: daily from 8:00 to 22:30
- Go there in the evening from 7pm to avoid the crowd
- Other accompanied dishes: Chinese sausage or vegetable pickles.

  • Truong Chinh Sticky rice store

Address: 628 Truong Chinh Street, Dong Da District, Ha Noi

Average price: 25.000-50.000 VND

The bestselling food here is peppery pork ribs and sticky rice.

Xoi Hanoi - Vietnamese Sticky Rice Peppery pork ribs

- Opening hours: Daily from 5a.m to 11:59p.m

-  The space is very large for a large number, however, you should avoid the crowded period in midday or in the early morning.

How to enjoy Vietnamese sticky rice like a “real” local?

  • To eat Xoi perfectly, the best way is to eat it with some accompanied dishes such as vegetable pickles, Chinese sausages to avoid the fat taste.
  • You can use chopsticks and spoons or by bare hands.
  • Visitors can observe the locals to know how to order and sit down.