Autumn in Hanoi is relatively brief, lasting for about a month when the weather starts to transition and the winds become cooler while the sun still shines brightly. It is during this time that people eagerly anticipate and savor the distinct flavors of autumn, with “com” being a highlight. In fact, many locals believe that experiencing “com” signifies fully embracing the essence of Hanoi’s autumn.
“Com” is young green rice, which is harvested before it fully ripens and then undergoes a traditional processing method. One popular way to enjoy “com” is by dipping bananas into it, creating a delightful combination of the sweet and creamy banana with the aromatic and slightly crunchy texture of the “com”. Additionally, “com” is also used to make sticky rice dishes or stir-fried dishes, further showcasing its versatility and unique taste.
These dishes made from “com” are not only a culinary delight but also carry cultural and seasonal significance, as they symbolize the arrival of autumn and evoke a sense of nostalgia and appreciation for the changing weather and the bountiful harvests of the season.
Banana dipping nuggets
A typical experience when visiting Hanoi in the fall is the delightful pursuit of finding vendors selling “com” in the old town. Alternatively, you can also visit Vong village in Cau Giay district or other markets to purchase “com.” “Com Moc,” or fresh “com,” is prepared by wrapping it in lotus leaves and tightly securing it with dried rice fibers.
“Com Moc” is best enjoyed alongside bananas, which enhances its flavor. It is uncertain when the tradition of eating bananas with “com” began in Hanoi, but the harmonious combination of these two dishes is undeniably pleasing.
The bananas used for dipping in “com” are typically small, yellow-skinned pepper bananas. These bananas are known for their sweetness, firmness, and ability to adhere well to the “com,” preventing it from falling off. When you take a bite, the combination of the sweet and creamy texture of the banana, along with the softness and fragrant aroma of the “com,” creates a delightful and addictive nutty flavor.
Indulging in this unique culinary experience allows you to appreciate the intricacies of Hanoi’s fall season, where the enjoyment of the natural harmony between “com” and bananas brings a sense of delight and satisfaction.
Sticky rice com
During the autumn season, it is common to find eye-catching green sticky rice plates displayed at sticky rice shops. Sticky rice is available throughout the year, but it is particularly popular and delicious during autumn.
In this season, the nuggets used in sticky rice are always fresh, as they are freshly made instead of being stored in the freezer. These nuggets have firm, pliable, and succulent seeds, which contribute to the delectable texture of the sticky rice dish.
To make sticky rice, the “com” used must possess stickiness and flexibility, rather than being loose and grainy. The sticky rice is cooked with lotus seeds and simmered green beans, then mixed with shredded young coconut that has been sweetened and enriched with fat. The gentle aroma emanating from the ingredients stimulates the senses. The unique chewiness of the sticky rice, combined with the nuggets, sets it apart from other varieties. The nostalgic flavor and harmonious appearance make diners truly appreciate this dish.
If you wish to try sticky rice nuggets, you can find them along Hang Than Street, Chan Cam Street, or visit the old town sticky rice shop at 26 Gia Ngu.
Stir-fried green rice
If most of the dishes made from nuggets cause nostalgia because of the gentle aroma and taste, fried rice is the choice for diners who want to eat a dish with a clearer flavor. Among the specialties from rice, fried rice is probably the sweetest and most flexible.
Stir-fried com is often sold at traditional Hanoi tea shops, can be served with coconut milk or sprinkled with young coconut on top. Therefore, fried rice has a rich and fragrant taste. The dish is so flexible and blended that it is difficult to roll it up with a spoon, so in some stores, people cut it into small pieces. Stir-fried green rice is used as a snack, an afternoon gift or enjoyed with green tea.
Suggested places to eat fried nuggets are Ba Thin Sticky Rice at 1 Bat Dan or Old 1976 Thap Cam at 72G Tran Hung Dao, Hanoi, Vietnam