Kinh people are always proud of steamed momordica glutinous rice which attached with the color of Vietnamese nation and especially with Nung people, steamed glutinous rice with seven colors is special food here. This dish is splendid with seven colors without using any artificial coloring.
Steamed glutinous rice with seven colors is called “xoi bay mau” in Vietnam; it is a traditional dish in festivals of Nung Din ethnic in Muong Khuong province (Lao Cai). This dish not only is delicious and famous food of this region but also brings historical meaning. Therefore, the processing method is passed from generation to generation.
This dish has seven colors such as pink, vermilion, scarlet, bright green, yellow green, banana leaf green and yellow and especially these colors is made from natural tree so you can totally feel secure when eating it. Besides, each color has own meaning. According to history of Nung Din people, each color in this steamed glutinous rice is one color of each month in the struggle of Nung Din people lasting from January to July here. Banana leaf green is the color of spring, scarlet is the color of blood of people who died for Nung Din people’s struggle, yellow is the color of agonies, vermilion is the color of the magnanimous victory of Nung Din People, etc.
This dish is made by skillful Nung Din women. Here they must choose the good glutinous rice which has big, long seed. Noticeably, rice is soaked in water about 12 hours and then soaked in colors about 3 hours. Next, rice is washed again, put separately into pot and cook about 1.5 to 2 hours. An advice of cooking this dish is to keep color fresh; you do not take salt into rice.
Nowadays, on the first of July every year, Nung Din people usually hold festival to celebrate a victory. In the festival, steamed glutinous rice with seven colors is always displayed as an indispensable food. Moreover, in the concept of Nung Nin people, eating the steamed glutinous rice with seven colors will get lucky and good things. This dish is the pride of Nung Din women because it expresses their ingenuity and skill.
Visiting on market day in Lao Cai, every visitor not only sees colorful dresses but also enjoy the steamed glutinous rice with seven colors which contain the flavor of mountain and forest. If you have chance to go to Nung Din family, I believed that you will want to come back here once again because of typical and attractive characteristics of cuisine and atmosphere here.
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