The five colors of the dish symbolize five basic elements including yellow of earth, green of wood, red of fire, white of metal, black of water.
Tay ethnic group mostly live in Viet Bac, north central highland and highland regions in Vietnam. Five-colored sticky rice is a traditional dish of the Tay which is usually made in festivals, ceremonies, 5th of May, whenever the family has reputable guests, etc.
People call the dish five-colored sticky rice because it is made of five different types of sticky rice having five separate colors: red, yellow, green, purple and white. However, depending of each region’s condition, people can mix or use other colors instead of those colors to make the five-colored glutinous rice. The five colors of the dish symbolize five basic elements including yellow of earth, green of wood, red of fire, white of metal, black of water.
Ingredients of five-colored sticky rice contains: soft and good-smelling glutinous rice with equal grains and not including normal rice that will be mixed with wild leaves for dying.
Before dying, the sticky rice is made to be clean, soaked in water in 6-8 hours to ensure that the rice rises enough. Rice is divided into five parts which each is compatible with a color.
After the dying part is finished, the next part is rice water-bath steaming. This part requires the maker skillfulness to generate the ideal product. The rice part which is dyed with the easiest-to-be-fade color is put in the pot first, the other ones next, and finally white part is put on top. Each colored part must be steamed in separate steamers. Depending on different places, the dish maybe formed to be a five-petaled flower having a color each petal, or paddy field having differently colored steps or a tower with many floors…
According to the Tay’s concept, the family that makes colors right and beautiful is considered to be skillful and going to work successfully.