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Steamed Sticky Rice: Phu Thuong’s Pride

Phu Thuong Village, also known as Phu Gia or Ga Village, has long been cooking several dishes as part of their tradition. Glutinous rice wine, stuffed sticky rice and steamed sticky rice are very much ingrained in the daily lives of the locals, the latter being the most popular.

Steamed sticky rice or “Xoi Phu Thuong,” is such a favorite among the local people that they eat it at different times of the day and in any occasion: breakfast, weddings, birthdays and even as a gift. The women in the village are usually the ones who make this dish. They begin their routine early in the morning in which they go to the market to buy the ingredients and prepare the rice between 3:00 – 4:00 in the afternoon. They sell it to the nearby villages of Ngoc Ha and Quang Ba or to the inner city of Dong Xuan and Bat Dan wherein people from all walks of life, including students, workers, officials and even wealthy clients from high-end hotels buy the famous dish.

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Old residents of Phu Thuong Village who have lived there long enough to learn the secret of a good steamed sticky rice revealed that choosing the right ingredients is crucial to the dish. Therefore, it is necessary to pick the correct “Nep cai hoa vang,” green bean, peanut and the wrapped leaf from banana or lotus leaves. The “processing stage” itself is also equally important, making sure to soak the rice for a few hours, wash then soak again, a total of 15 – 20 hours of soaking time. The rice must be washed again before actually cooking it until the water is clear and there is no dust or any other unwanted particles in it.

It doesn’t matter whether you cook steamed sticky rice by straw, wood, coal or even electric. The key is in the chef’s passion for the dish. In fact, cooking steamed sticky rice is not considered so much a profession than a (culinary) art, because one has to genuinely love it in order to achieve the perfect recipe every single time. The hope and mission now of the older generation experts is to pass on this delicious Phu Thuong tradition to the young so that the amazing steamed sticky rice will continue to bring satisfaction to everyone and pride for the village even for years and years to come.

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