Aroma young glutinous rice of the northwest
Update: Oct 19, 2015
Tourists prefer to visit the northwestern region in the autumn to watch ripen terraced rice fields, indulge in the aroma, and participate in the glutinous young rice festival of the local ethnic groups - Tay, Thai, Nung, Giay, and Mong.

It’s the most joyous time of the year when people harvest young rice to make “Cốm” - green glutinous rice. People are busily sift and winnow rice, roast, and grind to make many dishes from young glutinous rice.   

Thai people in Nam Co, Mu Cang Chai district, Yen Bai province say that in the past they used only terraced glutinous rice to make “com” because this variety has plump and glutinous grains and sweet aroma.

Now the acreage of terraced fields has reduced, they use mostly Tan and Luong Phuong varieties grown in wet fields.

The harvest time of young rice to make “com” is when the grains look yellowish and are tasted as sweet as milk. Young rice is processed immediately after being harvested. 

Lo Thanh Phuong lives in Co hamlet of the Thai in Nam Co commune. “We harvest when the rice grains are not too old or too young. The grains should still have rice milk,” Phuong said.

The rice is hand-harvested and then winnowed using large, flat bamboo trays. The grains are then slowly, carefully dry roasted over a wood-fire and then transferred to a large mortar and pestle.

The women gently pound the grains to remove husks to leave plump and glutinous green rice.  

Lo Thi Hien in Co hamlet said, “We let the roasted grains to cool down and grind so the green rice grains don’t stick together. After grinding for a while, we sift the husks until we have pure green rice.”

Nam Co commune has about 420 ha of rice fields, half of which is used to grow glutinous rice. 

In the past Thai women only made young green rice for their family or as gifts for their close relatives and distinguished guests. Now they make large quantity to serve tourists. 

Lo Thanh Phuong noted, “Skillful women make delicious young green glutinous rice. When our grandmothers and mothers are old, young girls learn the craft to preserve our group’s culture.”

Nam Co is in the ripen rice season. Tourists to the northwestern region can enjoy the picturesque yellow terraced rice fields as well as the tasty young green rice of local ethnic groups.