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Villagers continue traditional rice cooking contest

In the quaint village of Thi Cam in Hanoi’s Nam Tu Liem district, a culinary tradition unfolds each Lunar New Year.
On the eighth day of the new year, residents gather to participate in a rice cooking contest. This time-honoured event symbolises hope and well-wishes for prosperity and happiness in the whole year.

In a tale steeped in legend, General Phan Cong of the 18th Hung King is said to have passed through Thi Cam village while leading his country to victory against the Chinese Shu dynasty. In a show of hospitality, the villagers gathered to offer rice to the victorious soldiers.

After his victory, Gen Phan Cong was said to have stayed back in the village, imparting farming knowledge to the locals. In a display of gratitude, each New Year the villagers hold a rice cooking contest in their communal house, commemorating the village's patron saint.

The competition begins with four young men sprinting towards the village's communal well to fetch water for their respective teams.

Esteemed village elders are the arbiters of this culinary showdown, evaluating the quality of the rice dishes produced by the four competing teams.

Good rice is soft and fragrant. When the pot's cover is lifted, the fragrance of the rice should waft in the air. The process takes about half an hour./.