When one greets another in Vietnam, it is always about asking whether ‘ you have eaten rice?’
Rice is a sacred commodity, it is present in all forms shapes, at all occasions and at any time of the day or night.
From disastrous times when it struggled to feed itself, Vietnam has become the world’s second-largest exporter of rice, after Thailand. Most of the rice is exported. But there is a fair bit about the local rice produced here that never gets heard of, let alone any recognition.
One of them is the rice grown in terraces in the mountainous province of Lao Cai.
Xoi bay ma which literally translates into rainbow ice is in fact in rainbow colours. Now, where can you get blue or purple rice ? .., and yes perfectly natural and no nasties present. The rice is a sticky variety and is commonly sold over in markets wrapped in a conical shape in bamboo leaves. They are steamed and eaten with pound roast sesame seeds, salt and peanuts. The sticky rice comes in a plethora of colours – red, violet, yellow, green, dark blue, black and of course , ..white. All dyed with wild flowers, leaves or herbs. The local people believe that eating coloured rice brings happiness and luck all year round.
Where’s my bowl of rice ? !