Here is the continued article of Xoi – Sticky Rice of Vietnam (Part 1).
Where to try Xoi
Most of the time, “xoi” can be purchased in small roadside vendors in the morning. Let’s come back with the sight of the woman selling “xoi” on the street that we have just seen. Everything she needs for her vendor is s bamboo basket fully packed with “xoi” (which is kept warm by a thin blanket) and some small bottles containing “ruoc”, “muoi vung”, deep fried shallot…to fulfill all the demands of the customers. Most of the sellers will sit at the same place every day, normally in front of school or office gate, or in corner of the streets. Customers will come, calling down orders and they will be served within three minutes. Yes, only three minutes, that is the reason why “xoi” is considered one of Vietnamese fast food!
Watching people buying “xoi” in the street is far more than interesting. The seller is in the middle, with all the customers standing around, waiting for their turn. Customers can check on their portion while the seller serve, noticing whether the seller diminishes the size of the portion or not, or trying to have more “xoi” with the same price. They express their requirements directly with “extra this”, “no no no not so much of that”, and the sellers magically always meet their satisfaction.
A portion of “xoi” is often thrice-wrapped, with one layer of banana leaf, another layer of recycle paper or old newspaper, and one plastic bag covered outside; so as to keep it warm while eating.
The importance of Xoi
“Xoi” plays an essential role in Vietnamese’s life, which is an indispensable dish in many rituals. On Tet holiday (the Lunar New Year in Vietnam), every family will cook “xoi gac”-sticky rice with momordica, with the belief that its appealing red color will bring good luck to this whole new year. Students also have mung bean “xoi” on the day before the test in the hope of passing with high scores, and avoid peanut “xoi” for fear of misunderstanding the requirements of the test ( in Vietnamese, mung bean means “do”- passing”, and peanut means “lac”- misunderstanding).
Some contains corn while the other peanuts. Some is colored by black beans while others flavoured with salted seasame seeds. “Xoi” is one of the most filling options for a meal and the price is hardly over 20,000VND (about a us dollar). It is served hot or cold, wrapped in banana leaf or plastic cover.
Most Vietnamese have “xoi” for breakfast and all local markets will have at least one lady with some baskets selling this specialty. While the presence of “xoi” in local market seems permanence, more and more restaurant is specializing in “xoi” and others attempt to include “xoi” in their menu. If you visit Vietnam, try “xoi” for any of your meal to feel the fragrance of lotus or mung beans and to enjoy Vietnamese rice in an off-the-beaten-path way.
Surely after this article you understood about one of Vietnamese’s tradition dish and also want to try it in Vietnam. Hope you have a wonderful time in Vietnam and with Xoi.
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