Red sticky rice- Xôi Gấc
Foreign travellers first coming to Vietnam during Tet- the Vietnamese New Year, often feel curious about the special food that people living here use in their welcoming-new-year ceremony. It seems to look like sticky rice, but its bloody red color makes it so bizarre. That is “xoi gac”- the unique red sticky rice that people can find nowhere else in the world except for Vietnam!
Mung Bean Coated Sticky Rice – Xôi vò
Although it is one of the most popular ways of preparing sticky rice, “Xoi Vo” does not actually possess the very characteristic stickiness that usually seen in other types of Xoi. In contrast, the kernels are rathery crumbly, fully coated with well-kneaded yellow mung bean. Along with “Xoi Gac”- Red sticky rice, “Xoi Vo” is considered an important cuisine of Vietnamese tradition
Xôi lạc involves steaming the rice with raw peanuts so that it comes attractively dotted with brown when it is lumped on the banana leaf, a generous teaspoon of sesame salt (muối vừng) wedged alongside. I scoop up a wodge of rice in my hand and dab at this wonder-condiment that really takes the rice from bland to very palatable.
Xôi ngô uses corn kernels in a similar fashion, though more generously distributed through the rice. The less sweet white corn is utilised here; it seems to be the most prominent variety grown in Vietnam, with the locals often referring to yellow sweet corn as being Thai corn. This corn appears to maintain its form better, each kernel still plump after cooking and given to chewing in the mouth. Again, it’s what goes on top that speaks to the taste buds.
Xôi đậu xanh
Xôi đậu xanh is a conglomeration of split mung beans and rice on top of which some kind of pounded mung bean paste is scattered, again with the dried shallots and oil. An additional topping available for any of these three streetside sticky rice packets is a stringy, salty and fishy dried pork called ruốc thịt lợn.Made in a process involving fish sauce, it is perhaps the most popular choice of the locals. I don’t like it but when it’s put on by mistake, it’s easy enough to pick off and turn my nose up at.