Hanoi Green Rice – Com

Hanoi green rice, or Com is a dish in Vietnamese cuisine. It is not dyed green, as can be done with pandan, but is immature rice kernels roasted over very low heat then pounded in a mortar and pestle until flattened. Com is seasonal dish associated with autumn. It can be eaten plain or with coconut. The taste is slightly sweet with a nutty flavor. It is a popular seasonal dessert across Vietnam, especially in Northern delta food cuisine.

Cốm was originated long ago from Vòng village, so it has another name “Cốm làng Vòng” (Vòng village’s Cốm). There are two kinds of Cốm according to rice harvesting crops. The first called “Cốm mùa” appears from July to October (in lunar calendar) while the second called “Cốm chiêm” only is sold in April.
Cốm mùa is the best. It was made in Mid August (in lunar calendar) or Mid-autumn. Bright and green rice mixed with ripe banana will create a wonderfully delicious taste. Once you try this combination never would you forget it.

Not only Cốm is enjoyed directly, but also it is used as main materials to produce appetizing dishes such as cốm xào (fried cốm), bánh cốm (cốm cake), chè cốm (cốm sweetened porridge), chả cốm (a mixed of cốm and grilled pork), tôm lăn cốm chiên giòn (shrimps covered by cốm then fried), gà hầm cốm (chicken packed cốm then cooked).

Especially, cốm cake has become an irreplaceable dish in important occasions such as Tết holidays, weddings or other special events.

For Hà Nội, Cốm cake shops in Hàng Than street is famous for the fine quality. Cốm cake is a good combination of ground green peas, sugar and scraped coconut. In the past, Cốm cake was wrapped with fresh banana leaves and red-dyed bamboo strings. Nowadays, it is covered by transparent nylon and colorful hard papers. But its fine taste is still the same.

With the development of transportation, fresh cốm can reach customers across the nation. Even people in foreign countries could enjoy the sweet taste of this Vietnamese specialty.

Vòng village is about 5 kilometers west north of Hà Nội’s centre. Previously it belonged to suburban areas but now it becomes part of Hà Nội. Although fields used to grow sticky rice are largely occupied by buildings, the tradition of making this specialty are still maintained to keep the taste staying always in Hanoians’ hearts wherever they are.

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