‘Xôi’ – Tasty low-price breakfast in Vietnam

Steamed sticky rice or ‘xôi’ (pronounce /sɔi/, like ‘soy’ in English with a short /i/) is a traditional staple kind of dish in Vietnamese cuisine. You can enjoy various kinds of “xôi”, both sweet and savory, which are usually served with mung bean paste, shredded coconut, and some ‘muối mè’ topping (a mixture of roasted sesame, roasted peanuts, salt and sugar). Available in many variations, “xôi” is typically cooked using special local fruits and vegetables, which are the reason behind  “xôi”’s red, dark purple, and yellow colors. Normally there is no food coloring in “xôi”, as this Vietnamese traditional food is all-natural and good for your health.

For many years, ‘xôi’ has been a favorite breakfast choice for local people, as it’s super cheap and easy to find, as it’s being sold by many roadside vendors in the morning. This distinctive morning meal will keep you feeling full for way longer than any other typical breakfast food. You’ll be left feeling satisfied  for as long as half a day on only one pack of ‘xôi’ in the morning. We especially love “xôi”’s unique scent and freshness, and we love its brilliant banana-leaf wrapping, which always reminds us of the lush and raw beauty of Vietnam.

To avoid any confusion, with all of these steamed sticky rice recipes, we’ll provide you with a list of some of the best ‘xôi’ types we think you should definitely try, when you find yourself in Vietnam.

‘Xôi Nếp Than’ – Steamed Black Sticky Rice

Price: 10,000 VND/pack (approx. $0.50/pack)

Type of flavor: sweet

Main ingredients: black sticky rice, mung bean paste, shredded coconut, rice cracker and stir-fried spring onion

sticky rice

Traditionally, ‘Xôi Nếp Than’ is served on a rice cracker. The fragrance of the well-steamed black rice, which is covered in delicious yellow warm mung bean paste, and adorned with sesame seeds and shredded coconut, will definitely make every bite unforgettable. Besides ‘Xôi Nếp Than’’s attractive appearance, black sticky rice is actually very beneficial, thanks to its amazingly strong antioxidant properties.

‘Xôi Gấc’ – Sticky Rice With Gac Fruit

Price: 10,000 VND/pack (approx. $0.50/pack)

Type of flavor: sweet

Main ingredients: sticky rice, gac fruit (momordica cochinchinensis) and coconut juice.

sticky rice

‘Xôi Gấc’ combines a rather plain base taste with a soft, creamy flavor from the coconut juice and vegetale oil, along with slight hints of green melon and carrot, from the gac fruit. Its brilliant red-orange tint is due to its high beta-carotene and lycopene content, thanks to the gac fruit, which helps prevent eye problems and improves our body’s immune system. From a cultural perspective, Vietnamese people believe that eating vibrantly-colored food can bring you good luck and happiness, therefore ‘xôi gấc’ is usually eaten at Vietnamese special events, such as on New Year Holidays, Wedding Days or Death Anniversaries. This simple yet luscious food is another hidden gem that adds color to the wonderful Vietnamese cuisine.

‘Xôi Bắp’ – Steamed Sticky Rice With Corn

Price: 10,000 VND/pack (approx. $0.50/pack)

Type of flavor: sweet

Main ingredients: sticky rice, corn maize, mung bean paste, shredded coconut and fried shallots

sticky rice

‘Xôi Bắp’ is a popular main dish that originated from the North areas of Vietnam, although it’s now consumed all over the country. Xôi Bắp contains two main ingredients that grow in abundance in its region of origin; glutinous rice and corn maize. The main selling point of this dish comes from the chewy texture of steamed maize, which is further enhanced by the sweetness of the mung bean paste, and the aromatic scent of the fried shallots.

‘Xôi Mặn’ – Sticky Rice With Savoury Toppings

Price: 10,000 VND/pack (approx. $0.50/pack)

Type of flavor: savory

Main ingredients: sticky rice, paté, stir-fried spring onion, ‘chả lụa’ (Vietnamese steamed pork roll), chinese sausage, ‘chà bông’ (meat floss)

sticky rice

If you don’t have a sweet tooth, and sweet sticky rice doesn’t sounds interesting to you, ‘xôi nặn’ could be perfect for you, because of its rich and savory taste. The white glutinous rice is well-cooked with pandan leaves in a steamer, in a process that brings out the ingredients’ amazingly aromatic scents, to attract people passing by. When you purchase some, the seller will top it with numerous colorful and edible toppings, such as pink paté, red chinese sausage, yellow fried egg, orange meat floss, and green onion with coriander. This delicious food will supply you with a great amount of energy, which will keep you energized for the entirety of your hard day at work. Even better, you will be able to enjoy it with a tiny plastic spoon, just like many Vietnamese do!

‘Xôi Vò’ – Sticky Rice Coated With Mung Bean

Price: 10,000 VND/pack (approx. $0.50/pack)

Flavor: salty and sweet

Main ingredients: sticky rice and mung bean

sticky rice

Unlike other sticky rice recipes of the Vietnamese cuisine, this type of ‘xôi’ possesses a rather unusual characteristic of crumbly stickiness, in which the kernels tend to fall everywhere instead of leaving a sticky feeling in your mouth. Made using simple ingredients, such as sticky rice and steamed mung bean, ‘Xôi Vò’ looks just like cooked rice with a bright yellow color, which will make those who have never tried it think it must be a super sweet dish. However, ‘xôi vò’ has a bit more salty flavor than sweetness – not too salty, but ever so slightly, and it has a great scent of fresh mung bean and aromatic rice. It’s quite difficult to make, but the end result is well worth the effort, because ‘xôi vò’ tastes lipsmackingly good! You’ll quickly fall in love with its awesome texture and the softness and chewiness of the sticky rice, which will not stick to your teeth because of the mung bean coating.

Thanks to its mild flavor and its beautifully eye-catching look, ‘xôi vò’ is often served on various ceremonies. It’s also pretty easy to combine with other dishes such as ‘chè đường’’ (kudzu sweet desert), which is favored by many Vietnamese people. Wild Tussah’s team member, Khuê, loves mixing her home-made ‘chè đậu đen’ (black bean sweet dessert) with a bowl of ‘xôi vò’, just like the way her mother prepared for her when she was a kid.

For a more handy way of eating this delicious treat, you could try squeezing ‘xôi vò’ in your hand (the word ‘vò’ literally mean ‘squeeze and rub’) so that all the sticky rice grains and mung bean will stick together. In Vietnam, ‘Xôi Vò’ is usually found at almost every street corner in the early morning, as a convenient breakfast.

Leave a Reply