Reputation of the steamed sticky rice sellers from Phu Thuong village on the sidewalks, alleyways has come into the hearts of many Hanoians` generations.
The long path of Phu Thuong sticky rice
Phu Thuong village is also known as Phu Gia, or Gạ village located along the Red River. The people here have long been cooking steamed sticky rice, glutinous rice wine or stuffed sticky rice balls… but the most famous is the steamed sticky rice.
Xoi Phu Thuong has appeared since ancient times, and exists in parallel with the process of growing rice. Most of the Phu Thuong women follow this traditional profession. Every day, since 3:00 to 4:00 pm, all of them are ready to prepare the rice. In the early morning, the whole villages are busy going to market. They sell to the nearby villages like Ngoc Ha, Quang Ba or the inner city like Dong Xuan, Bat Dan …
It is favourist food of the students, workers, officials and even customers in luxury hotels. They serve all kinds of needs: Breakfast, wedding, birthdays, banquets or for present … Phu Thuong residents are “buying” fixed sale location in the market, renting shops in the streets or going around the alley and the sidewalk in Hanoi … The brand “Xoi Phu Thuong” has created a charm, contributing to the richness and special for Vietnamese cuisine.
Keep the village tradition
I came to find some of the experienced families in Phu Thuong village to understand their secret. According to the good cook, to have a delicious steamed sticky rice, it is important to choose right ingredients. They must carefully select “Nep cai hoa vang”, green bean, peanut and the wrapped leaf from banana or lotus leaves. Obtaining the standard material is only a necessary condition, processing stage is equally important and requires much experience. Rice must be soaked for a few hours, washed and then soaked again. The total soaking time is up to 15-20 hours. Before cooking, the rice is washed again, make sure the water is clear without dust.
Steamed sticky rice cooking is not only considered a profession, but also a culinary art. Therefore, the long-term cook always wish to maintain the village tradition. Not only taught to children in the house, regardless of who wants to learn, they do not hesitate to teach.
The profession retention
Fortunately, I came to Phu Thuong village right at the cooking time. Passing through the small alley, I was eagerly expecting to enjoy the smell of steamed rice. I had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Nguyen Thi Tuyen (Group 21, Cluster 3, Phu Thuong Ward), who has nearly 40 years of experience in Phu Thuong village.
Mrs. Tuyen was born and grew up in Phu Thuong, in her youth, she enjoyed delicious steamed sticky rice from her mother. Learned from her grandmother and mother, she has been practicing cooking since 17 years old. She said: “I cook with passion and love. Every pot of steamed rice, whether it is cooked by straw, wood, coal or now electric, is filled with love like the first pot I cooked for my family to enjoy”.
With creativity, passion and practical experience for many years, up to now, she can cook dozen dishes from sticky rice for each demand and health condition. All of which are fragrant, nutritious and full of Hanoi characteristic.
For all of her creating dishes, Mrs. Tuyen still retains the secret of Xoi Phu Thuong. For Phu Thuong residents, their first cooking type is the white steamed sticky rice. Everyone thinks this is the easiest kind, but it is actually the most difficult. Though it does not need other raw materials, it is easy to express the weakness if the cook does not meet the requirements. For delicious dish, people have to cook two times, with her personal experience, she just need to look at the grain to know whether it meet the standard or not.
Nearly 40 years of experience, she is willing to teach everyone. She has taught nearly a hundred practitioners in different places. “I just expect the traditional profession will be handed over forever so anyone who wants to learn, I teach them all” – she said. I suddenly thought, is it due to the love that Phu Thuong residents can make such a special steamed sticky rice.
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