10/12/2016 10:31 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Com lam in Tay Bac

Visiting Tay Bac (the northwestern region of Vietnam), one will have a chance to not only discover the colorful life and distinctive culture of ethnic groups, like the Thai, Muong, Nung, Tay, La Ha and Mang,  but also enjoy Com lam (steamed sticky rice in bamboo tubes) – a local popular dish. 
For the Thai, to cook the dish, it is necessary to select fresh bamboo tubes of a dark green colour which are cut into 30cm pieces and Nep cai hoa vang – a special variety of sticky rice of high quality and special flavor.

First, clean and soak glutinous rice in water for about six to eight hours before draining it. Mix the rice with ground ginger and a dash of salt before putting it into bamboo tubes and pouring water over the rice. To make the dish delicious, the rice does not need to fill the tube so the rice can become well-done.



Glutinous rice is cleaned and soaked in water for 6-8 hours before being put into bamboo tubes. 

Putting rice into a bamboo tube.


Grilling Com lam on the fire. 

The first layer of bamboo tube is peeled after the rice is cooked.

Delicious Com lam. 


"Previously, the Thai people often brought Com lam during their long trips into the forests. They carried rice, cut bamboo tubes and used wood in the forest to cook Com lam. Now during their festivals, the Thai people often perform their skills cooking the dish with the aim of introducing it to tourists.

(Nong Van Nhay, who specialises in making Dan tinh of the Thai people in Muong So Commune, Phong Tho District, Lai Chau Province)

 
Lastly, tightly cover the tubes with a banana leaf before cooking over high heat.  When the aroma of the dish fills the space, it is done. Peel the tube’s green skin and leave a thin layer of bamboo. When serving, tear off the cover and enjoy it with Muoi vung, a mixture of roasted sesame seeds, peanuts and salt.
Com lam, a simple dish of the locals, is a must-have for tourists visiting Tay Bac.

 
By Tran Thanh Giang