Speaking of culinary culture in Hanoi, we can not fail to mention a specialty of Hanoi – green (young) sticky rice from Vong village (Com Vong). This is a folk and elegant food in the occasion of the fall season.
Vong village in Hanoi, is said to produce the best green sticky rice in Vietnam. When autumn comes (August to Oct), Hanoians remember and love the special taste of this very good green sticky rice from Vong village which is a special gift for many travelers to Hanoi in the fall season.
If you are lucky, you will find this special dish at your hotel breakfast too. Served with ripe bananas, green sticky rice is truly delicious. Green sticky rice is often eaten by hand, directly from the lotus leaves, a pinch at a time. When eating green sticky rice, you must enjoy slowly and chew very deliberately in order to appreciate all the scents, tastes, and plasticity of the young rice which is sweet, nutty and buttery.
There is legend about how Com (young sticky rice) was born in Vong village. In an autumn of thousand years ago, people there suffered a huge storm which destroyed all paddy fields where rice was about to be in flowering period. The locals had to collect and roast remaining young rice to eat. The dish as the last resort turned out to have distinctively delicious taste and later become a delicacy of the village.
Visit Vong Village (Com making village)
If your visit to Hanoi during the green sticky rice making season, you can go to Vong village where you will have a chance to see the process of making the sticky rice. In Vong Village, making green sticky rice used to be a common trade. It’s a complicated process for making this sticky rice in Vong village. Firstly, they grow a special glutinous paddy. The sticky rice must be harvested at just the right moment. When the paddy begins to ripen and still contains milk in the grains. It is reaped but only at early dawn. The rice is picked off carefully so that the grains are not broken.
Next, the grains are carefully sifted, washed and dried in a large pan over a soft fire, It is necessary to stir steadily to keep the heat stable and then roasted grains pounded in stone mortars, people use a pestle to split off tegument. Then, the young rice is removed from the mortar and winnowed before being poured again into the mortar and the process repeated. This is then repeated exactly seven times so that the entire husk is removed from the young sticky grains.
And finished Com is wrapped in lotus leaves to absorb their subtle scent.
Apart from traditional Com, people in Vong village nowadays make young sticky rice cake, sweetened young sticky rice paste. Young sticky rice cake, together with yellow-colored wedding pastry, is symbol of steadfast and eternal love and becomes an indispensable item in engagement ceremony in Vietnam.
Do not miss this special food of Hanoi during your visit to Hanoi, especially the autumn time.