Dish of the Day: Five Colors Sticky Rice

Dish of the Day: Five Colors Sticky Rice

The five-colours sticky rice or Xoi Ngu Sac is a special Vietnamese dish. This dish is rather exciting with its aesthetic ingredients and as colourful as the Vietnamese culture itself.

History of Five-Clours Sticky Rice

This dish is a popular dish among the ethnic minorities such as Muong, Thay and Thai. The majority of these minorities live in the Northern Midland area and mountain areas. The Tay minority people are supposedly the biggest minority group of people, followed by the Thai people and they share a lot of similarities in most aspects of their lives.

With that being said, the Xoi Ngu Sac dish is an eye-catching dish due to its vibrant colours. The flavours this dish entails are sweet, sticky and elegant. For the dish to turn out well, it is necessary to choose the Tu Le glutinous rice. This is a type of rice grown in the Muong Lo Valley area. To cook the rice, they use the water from the Muong Lo stream as it is said to enhance the flavour and fragrance of the glutinous rice.

How are the Colours Made?

The colours originate from leaves of different forest trees.  The leaves are grounded or boiled to achieve each specific colour. The five colours of the sticky rice also tend to vary according to season so don’t be surprised to see a different set of colours on your plate. The seasons, therefore, dictate the colours of the leaves.

What do the Colours Represent?

The five colours are supposedly said to signify the five essential elements of the Eastern philosophy. The colour white is the colour of Metal, green is for Wood, yellow is for Earth, red is for Fire, and black is for Water. 

Aside from the elements, they also connote other values. The red represents aspiration, yellow for prosperity, green for mountains and forests while the white for pure and faithful love. Occasionally, the purple represents fertility.

Vietnamese loves to incur nature philosophy in their cookings. Thus their dishes are mainly natural ingredients such as vegetables, bean sprouts, rice, and so on. Do you think that all five-colours sticky rice taste the same? That is incorrect. As it is with human nature, we tend to love different flavours in our taste buds. This perfect umami dish provides different flavours and tastes in each colour.

This is the part where everyone is curious about, what exactly made the colours of the sticky rice? Generally, different people will use different ingredients to make the particular colours of this dish. There are instances of the usage of pineapple leaf to get the green colour; ‘Gac’ fruit, which is also a type of jackfruit or melon, is used to get the orange colour.

Some people will use cooked green beans to get the colour yellow in Xoi Ngu Sac. However some would use ground turmeric as well; white is, of course, needless to say, made out of its purest rice form. Black is made of ash mixed with lime water.

How do you eat this dish?

There are undoubtedly many ways to indulge in this colourful, exciting dish. According to the Vietnamese tradition, they are best enjoyed with chicken, sausages and rolls.

Where to find Five-Colours Steamed Rice (Xoi Ngu Sac) in Malaysia?

This being a culturally infused dish is hard to come by in Malaysia. So, if you do find yourselves in Vietnam, be sure to give this dish a try! However, if you still do want to try a type of glutinous rice in the Vietnamese cuisine, you can try Fried Glutinous Rice Stuffed with Minced Chicken at Pho Street (Sunway Velocity). Find more exciting Vietnamese cuisine on foodpanda!

Article Written By Anna

Anna is an absolute foodie, and lives by the motto that food is happiness. She is a writer by day and a gamer by night. She believes that good food comes from all over and is constantly amazed by the passion and dedication it takes to make food that warms the soul.

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