return icon

Hanoi's unique rice cooking contest in photos

On the 8th day of the first lunar month each year (January 29, 2023), Thi Cam village in Hanoi’s Nam Tu Liem district holds a rice cooking contest.

The rice cooking contest, which falls on the eighth day of the first lunar month, aims to pay tribute to General Phan Tay Nhac, a general in the Hung Kings’ era with meritorious services to the national construction.

This custom, a unique way to pray for a prosperous, happy, and peaceful new year, has been followed in Thi Cam viilage for centuries.

In the reign of the 18th Hung King in 273 BC, General Phan Tay Nhac was ordered to fight the Shu invaders.

When his troops came to Huong Canh village, called Thi Cam village today, he ordered  a cooking contest to select a few capable locals to work for the army.

After defeating the invaders, General Phan Tay Nhac returned to the village and taught  the locals how to grow mulberry trees, breed silkworms, and weave silk.

After his death, he was worshiped as the village's tutelary god.

To express their gratitude to the general, the Thi Cam villagers began holding a rice cooking contest on the 8th day of the first lunar month each year.

The ancient Thi Cam village had four hamlets, and each of them sent a team to join the contest. Before the contest, the teams prepare items such as pestle, mortar, straw and pot. Each team was given 1kg of rice to cook.

The main parts of the contest include crushing rice, blowing fires, taking water and cooking rice. The contest has a very special "procedure" that when the rice pot runs out of water, the teams will hide the rice pot in piles of straw, that are still smouldering, in the communal house’s yard.

The judges will go to "find" the rice pots after a week of incense since the rice has run out of water. The better the team hides, the better the rice will be.

After the contest ends, the rice portions were offered to God and scored. The organisers will present the first prize to the team with the best rice cooker.

With unique values, the rice cooking contest in Thi Cam village has been recognised as a national intangible cultural heritage.

The event takes place in the village's temple.
 This year’s contest draws the participation of four teams, corresponding to four neighborhood groups in the ward.
 Cooking utensils and wood for the rice cooking competition are well prepared by the contestants. The bamboo sticks are stripped, while the straw is bundled to catch fire easily.
The first part of the contest involves children aged 12 to 14 years old. They must run to the nearby Nhue River to bring water to the village. 
 Older contestants assume the task of fire-lighting in the traditional way: using only bamboo and straw to make fire. 
 As the first spark burns the straw, the contest's atmosphere becomes more joyful than ever.
 The teams only have about 30 minutes from the time when the fire is made until the rice is cooked. 
 When the four pots of rice are cooked, they are judged by the village elders. 
 A jury member is searching for pots of rice within the ashes. 
 The winning rice cooker makes the most delicious rice. 
 Once the winning team is announced, the rice is distributed among all the villagers. 
They believe that adults who eat the rice will have a lucky year and children will grow up nicely.

Nhat Sinh


Ministry threatens to punish telcos for junk-simcards

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) is intending to mete out punishment with a heavy hand to telecom carriers that do not stop junk sim-cards in the market.

Vietnam moves up in ranking of internet speed

The quality of internet service has improved following instructions by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC). Vietnam now ranks 39th globally in terms of fixed internet and 52nd in mobile internet speed.

Banks hold US$8 billion worth of corporate bonds

The proportion of corporate bonds to total assets of commercial banks is not too large but risks still exist, especially if banks hold bonds of weak real estate firms, according to Le Hong Khang from FiinRatings.

Small ship itineraries in Vietnam amongst best Southeast Asia cruises

Small ship itineraries along Ha Long Bay, the Red (Hong) River and the Lower Mekong River in Viet Nam were named among the top four best Southeast Asia cruises by the U.S. travel guidebook series Frommer’s.

Vietnamese stock market's publicity and transparency improved

It is believed that the enhancement will help shore up investor confidence in the Vietanmese stock market after recent scandals.

Investors voice concerns over unresolved pricing for renewable projects

Investors of numerous renewable energy projects demanded solutions to resolve pricing issues in a meeting with Vietnam Electricity (EVN) on Monday.

Hanoi's decade-long effort to clear pavements with no significant results

Despite efforts for 10 years, Hanoi's pavements are still cluttered and have not been returned to pedestrians.

Military inspectors deployed to support understaffed vehicle registration centres

Understaffed vehicle registration centres in Hanoi and HCM City have received support from the military as they struggle to cope with the surge in demand caused by the closure of several centres for investigation in recent few months.

Vietnam to develop policies to adapt to global minimum tax

Vietnam will adjust investment policies to adapt to the global minimum tax rate and remain an attractive destination for investment.

Hanoi drafts to restore local relics with US$593.6 million

Restoring relics and heritage sites is one of Hanoi's goals and is part of the city's efforts to boost its tourism sector.

University ranking group answers criticisms about its transparency

Nguyen Vinh San from the University of Education, a member school of University of Da Nang, and a member of the Vietnam University Ranking Group, said the group has received opinions about the quality and reliability of the ranking.

Foreign associations want dollar interest rate cap removed

Foreign business associations have proposed the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) remove the U.S. dollar interest rate cap at 0%, reported the local media.

SBV tightens control on corporate bond acquisitions by banks

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the nation’s central bank, is taking steps to tighten control on commercial banks’ acquisitions of corporate bonds.

Retailers slash prices on low-priced smartphones

The consumption of low- and mid-end smartphones has dropped by 50 percent compared with the same period last year, causing difficulties in cash flow for retailers.

Vietnam ranks 65th in world happiness report

Vietnam ranks 65th out of 137 countries and territories in the 2020-2022 period as per the World Happiness Report 2023, up 12 places from the 2022 Report.