Hà Nguyễn and Hoàng Hồ
Bánh tiêu xôi (Vietnamese donut with sticky rice) is one of the superbly tasty dishes of Đà Lạt in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, according to Hanoian Lê Hòa.
Hòa, who recently visited Đà Lạt to escape the severe summer heat in the capital, said the dish reflects the colourful image of the flower city and its friendly people.
“Enjoying the cake, one could also experience the soul of the city," she said.
Kicker: Bánh tiêu xôi (Vietnamese donut with sticky rice) in Đà Lạt attract not only locals but also many travellers visiting the city. — Photo travelmag.vn
There are several sorts of xôi to be wrapped in bánh tiêu such as xôi trắng (white sticky rice), xôi lạc (groundnut) and xôi đậu xanh (green bean) but eaters are interested in xôi lá cẩm (magenta plant) most for its violet colour and fragrance.
Compared with Hà Nội which has been very hot for almost two months, Đà Lạt is a paradise for its cool climate, with an average temperature of between 17-20 degrees Celsius, said Hòa, adding that it is very suitable for enjoying bánh xôi tiêu.
Kicker: There are several sorts of bánh tiêu xôi but most wanted is violet sticky rice wrapped in the cake. Photo travelmag.vn
Hòa’s friend Nguyễn Thị Đào, who was born in Đà Lạt, said the donut is not sold in luxury hotels and restaurants but by vendors on the streets.
The cake is popular across Đà Lạt but the most tasty one is sold by an old woman that locally known as bà Năm (Mrs Năm) who has been selling the donuts for more than 30 years at a corner of Phan Đình Phùng Street, said Đào, noting that the donuts here can sometimes sell out shortly after 7am.
"When we want to eat the donuts we often have to wake up early in the morning,” she said.
Hòa said she was so excited about Đào’s recommendation.
“When we went to Năm’s we already saw a long queue there. I stood behind a woman who said she has to wake up early several days a week to buy the donuts as breakfast for her family of five,” she said.
Hòa said a student queueing in front of her told her that the donuts helps him to be full all morning compared with other dishes such as a bowl of phở (noodle soup).
Năm said she intended to sell the donuts from 5am-9am but they're often sold out at 7am.
Kicker: A vendor selling the bánh tiêu xôi at a corner of Đà Lạt's Phan Đình Phùng Street. Photo travelmag.vn
“Apart from housewives, my customers also include local and foreign travellers and among them are many students because my donuts are affordable for them at only VNĐ10,000 each,” Năm said.
Hòa said she was lucky to be one of the last persons to buy Năm’s donuts at 6:50am.
Different from the north or the south, in this area xôi is often wrapped in a banana leaf for a lotus leaf and the violet sticky rice has other ingredients such as steamed green bean with sugar, roasted peanuts, coconut juice and coconut threads wrapped in bánh tiêu (donut), she said.
“It is the first time I tried the dish. I’ve travelled many places and eat many sorts of xôi but this dish gives me a great impression by its great mix of characteristics: fragrant and soft of sticky rice, greasy of peanuts and light sweet of coconut juice,” Hòa said, adding that eating the donut while going for a walk in a fresh cool climate was a unique sensation.
“It’s really worthwhile for me to have this trip to Đà Lạt. I enjoy both the pure air with beautiful landscape and the bánh tiêu xôi too,” Hòa said. — VNS