Sticky rice sweet soup — An unique taste of Saigon

Curated by BuffaloTripJune 15, 2017 Viewed: 279

In the brightly colored tapestry of Saigon cuisine, the sticky rice with sweet soup of Mrs. Hoa has been a favorite dish of Saigonese with its cooling effect and aromatic flavor. Named “xoi che Saigon” in Vietnamese, this dish can drive away the summer heat. Combined with steamed sticky rice, it creates a wonderful experience as if the seasons have suddenly changed.

From cups of sweet soup on the street

It is widely believed that Saigon’s sweet sticky rice soup was first cooked 37 years ago by a Northern woman, named Hoang Thi Hoa – the owner of Bui Thi Xuan’s sticky rice and sweet soup restaurant. Mrs. Hoa started to serve this dish in 1977. With a natural talent in cooking, she sold green bean, red been and white bean sweet soups in front of a primary school in Dist. 4.

As a warm-hearted and careful woman, Mrs. Hoa made sure to get the best ingredients for her dishes, such as green beans of Long Xuyen, red beans of Bao Loc and white beans of Dalat, all to cook the best sweet soup.

At first, each day, she would sell 0.5kg of beans for each type of sweet soup. Since then, that number has increased to tens of kilograms, every day. When other types of sweet soup such as Thai, American or Khuc Bach sweet soup were introduced in Saigon, she tried them all and incorporated the flavors into her own dishes, which were enjoyed enthusiastically.

Sticky rice - Sweet soup

After some time enjoying success with her sweet soup, Mrs. Hoa realized that customers were buying this dish to cool themselves down in the hot summer ambiance. However the weather in Saigon is divided into two distinct seasons: wet and dry. In the wet season, the cool sweet soup was less popular than in the dry season. Therefore, sticky rice was added to offer more options for customers.

Initially, Mrs Hoa served red sticky rice and white sticky rice with sausage, chicken, quail eggs and pork. As with her sweet soup, the sticky rice was cooked carefully. To this day, she has continued creating many other types of sticky rice dishes, all with their own unique tastes, to ensure customers are always very pleased to return and try something new.

When discussing Bui Thi Xuan’s sticky rice with sweet soup, most Saigonese people give it a perfect 10 for all of its dishes, which offer distinct flavors that are uniquely Saigon. Some customers have been tasting her creations since they were young, until current middle-age. Because her restaurant is located near a press agent, it has become a favorite rendezvous for  reporters.

At present, this good-natured woman, who has left her own indelible mark on Saigon cuisine, is 76 years old. She has passed her work at the restaurant down to her descendants in order to spend more time traveling around. After journeys, she returns to the cooking of her dishes as an indispensable part of her life. Listening to the story of the creator of Saigon’s sticky rice with sweet soup, told on a rainy day in the early summer with one of her dishes in front of you, is an experience not to be missed.

Bui Thi Xuan’s sticky rice with sweet soup

111 Bui Thi Xuan, Pham Ngu Lao, Dist. 1, HCMC. Tel .08.3833 2748
33 Dinh Tien Hoang, Ward 3 Binh Thanh, HCMC. Tel.08. 3517 8333
160 Nguyen Oanh – Go Vap. Tel. 08.6675 3882