10/04/2019 17:02 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Thi Cam rice cooking contest

On the 8th day of the first lunar month every year, Thi Cam villagers in Xuan Phuong commune in Hanoi’s Tu Liem district, gather at the village’s communal house to celebrate a traditional rice cooking contest. The event attracts a large number of local residents and visitors.
The contest is to commemorate Phan Tay Nhac, a general during the reign of the 18th Hung King. Legend has it that on his way to fight the enemy, General Phan Tay stationed his troops at Thi Cam village where he held a rice cooking contest to select locals to work logistics for the army. To express their gratitude to the general after his death, Thi Cam villagers hold the rice cooking contest in the first lunar month every year.


Village elders check the tools for making a fire.


Preparing straw for making a fire, an important part in the contest. 


Ready for the competition.


Rice milling process.


Each team sends four members to make a fire from straw.


Making a fire from straw. 


Starting a fire is one of the most exciting parts of the contest.


Blowing on a fire when there is smoke.


When the fire is made, the rice cooking part starts.


The rice pots are kept surrounded by burning straw.


The exciting atmosphere at the village’s communal house.


The teams bury rice pots into the burning straw, a trick to make the rice soft and keep its fragrance.


Members of the jury collect the rice cookers before rating the rice.


Perfectly cooked rice is the one which is cooked through, soft and fragrant.


Rice is offered to the village’s tutelary god.


The contest is to commemorate Phan Tay Nhac, a general during the reign of the 18th Hung King.

During the contest, which lasts about an hour, teams have to husk rice, fetch water, make a fire and cook rice. A jury comprised of village elders rate the contestants and select the winners.

The competition has four teams corresponding to the four giap - an ancient administrative unit in the village. First, the contestants have to run to Nhue river to fetch water to cook the rice. Each team sends four members to make a fire from straw while other members prepare the rice, water and pots to cook the rice in the shortest amount of time.

When all four teams finish cooking, their rice pots are submitted to the jury. The best rice pot then will be offered to the village’s tutelary god. After the competition, competing teams share their rice with villagers hoping for a prosperous and happy new year./.

By Cong Dat