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Check out Vietnam's only sticky rice eatery in Michelin Guide

Saturday, June 10, 2023, 09:30 GMT+7
Check out Vietnam's only sticky rice eatery in Michelin Guide
A bowl of sicky rice at Xoi Bat topped with 'xa xiu' (Chinese barbecue pork), 'pha lau' (braised pork offal), 'trung long dao' (soft-boiled egg), chicken, and pâté. Photo: Thai Thai / Tuoi Tre

Xoi Bat in Ho Chi Minh City was the only sticky rice eatery in Vietnam to be named amongst the 29 establishments to Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand list.

Bib Gourmand recognizes restaurants and eateries which serve great food at moderate prices.

A total of 103 restaurants and eateries in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, including Xoi Bat, were honored by Michelin Guide on Tuesday.

The Michelin Guide is world renowned guidebook which has been reviewing and recognizing exceptional restaurants around the world since 1900.

Rising popularity

Xoi Bat is owned by 28-year-old Huynh Phuc Thinh, who opened the sticky rice establishment in 2021 so that he could share his mother’s recipes with the world.

Xôi (sticky rice) is a simple dish, but it always seemed special to me when my mother cooked it,” Thinh said.

Situated at 8 Hoang Hoa Tham Street in Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City, Xoi Bat features a mere six tables. Yet despite its modest size, the eatery feeds dozens of diners each day. 

Now, following the announcement of the Bib Gourmand list on Tuesday, Xoi Bat has seen its sales skyrocket from six kilograms of sticky rice per day to six kilograms of sticky rice sold in a single morning.

Sticky rice in Vietnam is a relatively traditional dish and diners typically know what to expect when chowing down on its glutinous goodness.

Xoi Bat, however, lives up to its motto of “A very different bowl of sticky rice” by offering guests the opportunity to top their rice with a variety of toppings and serving each meal with a side of kimchi and carrot soup.

“Xoi Bat” means “Bowls of Sticky Rice” in English. Photo: Thai Thai / Tuoi Tre
“Xoi Bat” means “bowls of sticky rice” in English. Photo: Thai Thai / Tuoi Tre

“The sticky rice [at Xoi Bat] comes with various toppings, with pork and sunny-side up egg being cooked to southern taste,” said Van Anh, a 20-year-old resident of Binh Thanh District.

“It was my first time trying sticky rice with kimchi and carrot soup, and despite the fact that the chicken was crumbly, the dish was great and the price was reasonable,” Van Anh shared.

Similarly, Hoang Tran, a 35-year-old resident of District 5, also visited Xoi Bat to see if it lived up to the Michelin Guide-fueled hype.

“The sticky rice was soft and the kimchi was sweet,” Tran said.

“The space was also cozy."

“For me, the price of a bowl of sticky rice at VND65,000 (US$2.8) is reasonable,” Tran said.

Huynh Phuc Thinh prepares sticky rice for customers. Photo: Thai Thai / Tuoi Tre
Huynh Phuc Thinh prepares sticky rice for customers. Photo: Thai Thai / Tuoi Tre

Appealing to casual diners

According to Thinh, his sticky rice recipe isn’t exactly groundbreaking. Instead, the secret to his success lies in sourcing high-quality ingredients. 

In particular, the sticky rice used at Xoi Bat is sourced from northern Vietnam and cooked in coconut milk, adding a distinct fragrance and sweet taste.

The pork offal is deodorized by wine, milk, and vinegar before being braised in coconut juice. 

“Sticky rice is casual dish, and I am making it better but not fancier. I also plan to switch to paper boxes instead of plastic so that I can minimize the use of plastics,” Thinh said.

Thinh plans to open three or four more eateries in Ho Chi Minh City and eventually expand into the northern region.

Xoi Bat opens daily from 7:30 am to 9:30 pm.

Van Anh (R) and a friend enjoy a bowl of sticky rice at Xoi Bat on June 7, 2023. Photo: Thai Thai / Tuoi Tre
Van Anh (R) and a friend enjoy a bowl of sticky rice at Xoi Bat on June 7, 2023. Photo: Thai Thai / Tuoi Tre

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