Dec 2007

Xôi Lá Dứa

Even though I haven’t dedicated any postings to xoi lately, I’m still very fond of the sticky staple. In fact, I’ve recently started carrying money with me on my morning runs in order to grab some xoi for breakfast. I love multi-tasking.

I’ve encountered many different varietals of xoi while running down Ton That Thuyet Street in District 4, and will try every last one before long. First up, xôi lá dứa.

Sweaty, out of breath, and shirtless, I ordered 4,000 VND of xôi lá dứa from the dealer. I was expecting her to hand over a nice hunk of green sticky rice, but instead she surprised me with a little layering action.

First, she grabbed a banh trang (rice cracker) and placed it on a newspaper/plastic sheet. Then she scooped some pandan-flavored and colored xoi on top of the cracker. Next, she spread on some dau xanh (mung bean paste) on top of the xoi. Lastly, she sprinkled on some mui me (salt and sesame seed mixture) and dried coconut on top of the mung bean paste. She bundled up the xoi using the newspaper/plastic wrapper and included a gelato spoon and a packet of granulated sugar.

When I got back to my apartment, I skipped out on stretching and abs and dug right in. The heat from the xoi softened up the rice cracker to the point where the two textures were barely discernible. The bulk of the xoi’s flavors came from the mui me mixture because the unsweetened shredded coconut and mung bean paste were fairly neutral. I didn’t sprinkle on any extra sugar, but in retrospect, I probably should have because salty plus sweet equals wow.

A good xoi, but the flavors just didn’t POP.

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