Crispy fried sticky rice

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Street vendors with pans can be seen selling this cheap but delicious snack around Ho Chi Minh City

Fried sticky rice should be eaten immediately after it is made to fully enjoy its flavors

It is true that one does not often know from where and when something came to Ho Chi Minh City. But the deep-fried glutinous rice patties vendors carry in glass containers have been a familiar sight at street corners for around 10 years now.

The round, flat, yellowish patties are crispy outside, pliable inside, a little spicy, and totally delicious, and are among the favorite snacks in the city.

The vendors have them in the glass containers next to which is a pan with a hot oil to fry the sticky rice and serve it hot.

It seems like a simple dish, but is not especially easy to make.

First, one chooses good rice and washes and cooks it. When the rice is nearly done, one adds some coconut juice to make the rice softer and fragrant.

When it is done, it becomes white, soft, pliable, and sticky.

When the rice cools, it is rolled into round, flat pieces and deep-fried in a pan over low heat. The secret to making the rice taste good is frying one side until it turns golden and crispy and then turning it over.

When the pieces are done, the extra oil is drained.

A stuffing is made from ground pork meat, wood ear mushroom, and jicama, which is chopped and mixed with salt, sugar, pepper, and shallots. The stuffing is stir-fried until done.

To serve, the pieces are cut into half and the stuffing is added. Depending on one's taste some pork floss and chili sauce may be added.

Ms. Trang, a street vendor in Tran Huu Trang Market in Phu Nhuan District, says: "The fried sticky rice tastes good when it is crispy outside and its stuffing is soft, fragrant, and a little fatty."

It should be eaten immediately after it is made to fully enjoy its flavors. The snack is in huge demand when it rains but the number of street vendors selling it in HCMC is admittedly down these days. To enjoy the crispy treat, one has to go to markets like Pham Van Hai in Tan Binh District, Thanh Da in Binh Thanh District, and Tran Huu Trang.

A piece costs VND5,000 or more.

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