Five-color sticky rice: A dish that carries the cultural essence of the highlands of Ha Giang

by Lam Pham

Five-color sticky rice Ha Giang is famous for being an important dish that embodies the long-standing traditional values of the Tay people in Hà Giang. This dish has vibrant colors and a unique flavor that captivates many visitors. In the following article, let Karst Plateau explore the meaning, recipe, and recommended places to enjoy authentic Five-color sticky rice, Ha Giang!

1. Introduction to five-color rice in Ha Giang

1.1 Introduction to five-color sticky rice

Ha Giang not only possesses beautiful landscapes but also has a diverse and unique culinary culture. When coming to Ha Giang, you will have the opportunity to enjoy special dishes such as Dong Van Steamed Rice Rolls, Grilled moss, Thang Co, dried buffalo meat, Au Tau porridge, etc. Among them, the most eye-catching, sweet, and fragrant dish that cannot be forgotten is Five-color sticky rice.

Each color in five-color sticky rice has its own special meaning and flavor

Five-color sticky rice is a dish created by the Tay ethnic group. It is considered an indispensable dish in holidays, Tet, or community activities here. And I don’t know when five-color sticky rice became a famous specialty of Ha Giang with domestic and foreign tourists.

1.2 The meaning of five-color sticky rice

Five-color sticky rice has 5 colors symbolizing the 5 elements of nature

People are called five-color sticky rice because this dish has 5 different colors. These are colors: white, red, blue, yellow and purple. They symbolize the 5 elements of nature: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth.

Green symbolizes the wood element with the desire for a good harvest and lush trees. Red carries the meaning of aspiration. Yellow symbolizes warmth and fullness. White symbolizes fidelity and iron love between couples. And purple will correspond to the water sphere factor for the whole year of favorable rain and wind.

When they all come together, they bring an eye-catching whole and create harmony with the laws of yin and yang and the five elements. This harmony contributes to creating a lush environment for the relationship between Heaven, Earth, and Humanity.

According to the Tay people’s belief, the more beautiful and eye-catching the color of the five-colored sticky rice is, the more prosperous and prosperous the homeowner will be throughout the year

Five-color sticky rice has ancient origins and is full of historical and cultural depth. It symbolizes the desire for solidarity among ethnic brothers, for prosperity, praying for favorable rains and winds, worshipping the land, and a peaceful life to the village and family. Therefore, five-color sticky rice has become an important spiritual and cultural beauty for many generations, always present in community activities, festivals, and even on ancestral altars.

2. Ingredients to prepare for making five-color sticky rice

Tay people often use yellow flower rice to cook fragrant sticky rice because it is of good quality and nutritious

The main ingredient in Ha Giang’s five-color sticky rice is rice. The Tay woman chooses rice very carefully and meticulously. The selected rice must be yellow flower glutinous rice. People always get rice from the terraced fields of Ha Giang, planted by the locals themselves. Therefore, sticky rice has a plasticity, softness and characteristic aroma and does not dry and hard when left for a long time.

The ingredients for dyeing are also indispensable in this dish. Ha Giang five-color sticky rice is completely dyed with natural ingredients. They are leaves or fruits picked in the forest. To get a beautiful red color, people use gac berries or red rice leaves to dye. Green is a ginger leaf or glutinous leaf. The yellow color is dyed from fresh turmeric juice or gardenia. And purple is black brocade leaves. White is the original color of glutinous rice.

3. The process of processing five-color sticky rice

Processing five-color sticky rice is not difficult, but there are many stages. Based on the experience of cooking sticky rice for many years, people will soak the glutinous rice with yellow flowers in water and leave it overnight. This step helps the rice expand evenly and soften for easy cooking.

The ideal rice soaking time will range from 8 to 10 hours depending on the color. Before soaking the rice, the Tay woman will go to prepare the ingredients for dyeing the rice. To create five-color sticky rice with 5 vibrant colors, dyeing is an extremely important stage.

Tay ethnic women skillfully process ingredients to color rice

After completing the rice dyeing process, people start to cook sticky rice. Each color will be cooked in a separate pot from low to high. People will put the rice with the most fadeable color in the first Cho. Next are the lighter colors and the white at the top.
Then, put the lid on and let the heat boil until the water boils, then lower the heat level. Just steam the sticky rice for 30 minutes until the sticky rice is fully cooked. If you want Ha Giang five-color sticky rice to be more fragrant, fatty, and smelly of coconut, you can add coconut milk. Then steam for another 5-10 minutes, then turn off the heat.

When eating Ha Giang five-color sticky rice, you can dip it with sesame salt or peanut salt to increase the flavor

When tasting a piece of Ha Giang five-color sticky rice, you will feel the softness that is difficult to mix with any other type of sticky rice. The five-color sticky rice is also very delicious. However, many people also dip it with peanut salt or sesame salt to increase the richness.

4. Where to eat five-color sticky rice in Ha Giang

To experience the wonderful taste of five-color sticky rice, visitors can go to restaurants, eateries, or the Ha Giang fair market

If you come to Ha Giang, don’t forget to buy a package of five-color sticky rice to enjoy the unique taste of this dish. Currently, Ha Giang five-color sticky rice is sold a lot at Ha Giang tourist destinations. Therefore, visitors can easily find a shop selling this dish. 

To experience the unique taste of this dish, visitors can stop by Ha Giang markets. Such as Dong Van fair market, Meo Vac night market, Quyet Tien market Ha Giang, etc. Here, there are many shops selling five-color sticky rice. Ladies and sisters cook sticky rice at home and wrap it in banana leaves and Dong leaves to keep it hot. When opened, the suffocating aroma will definitely make you want to buy it right away.

When you open the pot of sticky rice, the sweet aroma that will definitely make you want to buy it right away

Ha Giang five-color sticky rice is currently sold at a very cheap price. Just carry from 5,000 VND to 10,000 VND, and you will immediately have a full meal, and recharge enough energy for a trip to Ha Giang. This dish is usually sold in the morning or at noon. Therefore, you should take the time to stop by early to avoid running out of sticky rice.

Ha Giang five-color sticky rice is a cultural dish, containing the traditional cultural values of the ethnic minorities in the highlands. Hopefully, the article of Karst Plateau will bring you useful information about this unique specialty dish. Wish you a complete trip to Ha Giang and don’t forget to enjoy this attractive sticky rice dish!

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