Walking around streets in the early morning, you can easily catch the crowd gathering at a corner or standing in queue to buy something for breakfast. Reaching closer, you will see a woman sitting by a bamboo basket covering with thick cloth, then the food inside the basket served with either banana leaf or lotus leaf in season. That is called ” Xoi” as one of the most popular Vietnamese food for breakfast.
Xoi is called “sticky rice” in English, can be found in many Asian dishes, especially in the South East Asia. There are many kinds of Xoi but Xoi Xeo, Xoi Ngo, Xoi Lac are the main ones of them.
The locals often soak the glutinous rice in cold water for hours until the grains have absorbed enough water. Then after, the rice will be drained and steamed dry so that the grains can remain as the whole, soft but not mushy, sticking together. Xoi can be eaten at any time of the day but basically, Vietnamese usually choose this food as their breakfast.
Xoi Xeo is the steamed rice with yellow color served with sliced round bean ball, dried onion and oil.
Xoi Ngo is served similarly but the rice is mixed with corn.
Xoi Lac is the rice mixed with peanut served with dried pork meat or salty sesame.
Different provinces have various kinds of Xoi with different taste as well. In the mountain Northern Vietnam, the ethnic minority cook rice with 5 colors as Xoi Ngu Sac. Xoi is cooked with special local leaves with originate the colors of red, black, purple, green and yellow. The colors are from the nature not the artificial ones.
Xoi can be very easily bought at any corner of the street only from 10.000 VND – 15.000 VND for one portion. Xoi plays an important role in Vietnam’s life, which is an indispensable dish in many rituals. On Tet holiday, every family will cook Xoi Gac with the belief that its appealing red color will bring good luck for the whole year.