Com of Vong village (Young Green Sticky Rice) - scent of Hanoi's autumn
Autumn of Hanoi will be indispensable without the flavour of Com - an elegant and attractive present with all the simplicity, homely and purity of the Vietnamese countryside. Perhaps those who love Hanoi probably cannot ignore the special dish of Vong village, Com. Eating each grain of Com makes people to feel like the autumn flavor is gradually seeping deeply into the souls and minds. Whatsup Vietnam is about to introduce to you this absolutely special dish of this capital land!
This is a typical product of Vong village once called Hau village, Dich Vong commune, Tu Liem district; now belongs to Dich Vong Hau Ward, Cau Giay District, Hanoi. According to many elderly people in Vong Village, the name "Vong" (which means "a circle" in English) comes from the terrain of the village lying on a circular road. Com is consions as a very natural and typical thing of Hanoi culinary culture. Com is absolutely unique snack food to Hanoi, which has been passed down and adored by many Hanoians' generations.
According to the seniors' recounting, Com of Vong village has its history of thousands of years, along with the development of Vietnamese agriculture. One day when the milk material within young rice grains began to freeze and the rice plants were bent over, it suddenly rained cats and dogs. A dike broke, water flooding in and engulfing the whole wide field. The farmers could not let their attempt wasted; therefore, they immediately grabbed the young rice, roasted and dried them to fight against hunger. Fortunately, the reluctant product not only saved the whole village but also had a very appealing and subtly sweet taste, with flexible textture and nice fragrance. Since then, every year when the rice grains begin to form milk inside, the people of Vong village early harvest a part of the rice that they have planted in order to make Com. Through years of fluctuations and development, people not only know how to make delicious Com but also know how to make the dish more flexible, attractively greener and more fragrant. The name “Com lang Vong” (Com of Vong village) has become more and more widespread, becoming a name associated with childhood of Hanoi people.
"Com of Vong village" are made from sticky rice. Having come to the place, seeing with your own eyes will help you realise that in order to achieve the fragrant grains of Com, people who make Com must be very elaborate and meticulous. The young rice are harvested, going through many elaborate stages, which require ingenuity and subtlety as Hanoians' characteristics. Many people are keen on enjoying Com at the beginning of the crop, because at this time, the taste of rice milk can be sensed clearly and purely. Yet others prefer the last grains of the crop, which are firm and more glutinous. Com of Vong village are wrapped in two layers of leaves. Inside is the giant taro leaf to ensure that Com will not dry out and also to keep it last longer, the lotus leaf layer is wrapped the most outside. Finally, it is two soft strands made from rice stalks tied perpendicularly with each other.
Com of Vong village has been beyond the scope of this small village, following the steps of the gift packages or the street vendors come to their relatives, to the gourmets and has become a famous specialty dish nationwide. The autumn crop usually lasts nearly 3 months, starting from the 7th lunar month onwards.
Bring in its own flavor of Hanoi, so enjoying Com also has to be very delicate. Com is often eaten directly by hand with banana. When eating Com, you ought to enjoy slowly and eat a little bit, leisurely and contemplatingly. This will help you feel the original flavor and the aroma of the baby rice, the sweetness, the tendernes and gentleness of herbs comebined with the specially aromatic scent of old lotus leaves.
In addition to traditional Com, the capital's chef also devise many variations of this ingredients, such as "Che Com" (Young rice sweet gruel), sticky rice cake, ice cream, young rice cake stir-fried with coconut, etc., which are all yummy and unforgettable.
Autumn in Hanoi would be at its best in the afternoon, when the sunlight is scattered on the streets, the cool breezes begin to drop in, the sky is brilliant azure blue, and trees quiver in the pleasant breezes, you begin to notice the evocative smell of Milk flower, and a somewhat the subtle odour of Com in the romantic atmosphere of Hanoi autumn.
Written by: Quynh Nhi