VietnamFood & DrinksMekong Delta’s Delicacy: Cơm Rượu - Vietnamese Rice Wine Dessert

Mekong Delta’s Delicacy: Cơm Rượu – Vietnamese Rice Wine Dessert

Blessed with lovely tropical ingredients, Vietnam is home to some of the most appetizing desserts like che (sweet soup), tau hu (soybean pudding) … and arguably the most interesting of all: com ruou (Vietnamese rice wine dessert)!

What is Vietnamese Rice Wine Dessert?

Vietnamese people are fond of their traditional rice wines. Eventually, Vietnamese rice wine dessert (com ruou) was born as a pleasant byproduct. This dish came from Southern Vietnam. Basically speaking, it is fermented rice that is rolled into small balls and eaten with low-alcohol, milky wine. There’s also a hint of sugar and salt in the mixture to add to the taste.

Traditionally, Vietnamese ate com ruou on May 5th of the lunar calendar, or the “kill the bugs” day. They believed that com ruou could cleanse their bodies from the insects that might be growing inside.

rice wine 1
The rice balls are soft enough to eat with a spoon.

How is Vietnamese Rice Wine Dessert Made?

Making this dish is quite tricky because you’re using yeast, and wrong measurements will lead to mold. Therefore, you have to be careful and accurate and always keep everything clean and dry. The ingredients, however, are simple: yeast and white (brown) glutinous rice. The ratio between the two will depend on the type of yeast that you use.

Firstly, cook the rice with water. Grind the yeast balls into powder using a blender for your convenience. Then mix warm rice with yeast and roll them into little balls. Place the rice balls into a tight, clean container for a few days. Finally, the rice balls will be fermented, softened, and turned into wine.

rice wine 2
Cooked white glutinous rice will be mixed with yeast to ferment

Some Notes on Vietnamese Rice Wine Dessert

This dessert is rich in vitamin B, fiber, and antioxidants which are beneficial for people who lack iron, pregnant women and people with heart disease. The natural yeast in here is also good for your digestion.

However, you should avoid this dish if you’re suffering from acne, gum disease, or sleeplessness… because according to traditional Vietnamese medicine, com ruou has a high thermal property so it’ll increase the internal heat in your body if you consume too much.

Where To Get Vietnamese Rice Wine Dessert?

In Vietnam, com ruou isn’t typically sold in restaurants. Nevertheless, you can find this dessert easily in supermarkets like Co.opmart … for around VND 30,000 – 50,000, or from these stores:

Nep Cam Duong Sinh: 36/48 Nguyen Gia Tri street, ward 25, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City
Com ruou Kim Hoa: 14/12B1 Ky Dong Street, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Com ruou nep Hong Van: 46/15 Nguyen Cuu Van Street, Ward 17, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City

rice wine 3
Rice wine dessert is usually sold in a lightweight, tight container which you can take anywhere.

Summary of Vietnamese Rice Wine Dessert

What makes com ruou so unique is that it strikes a perfect balance between wine and sweets. If you’re having a trip to the Mekong Delta, a food tour, or an adventure around Saigon, definitely spend some time on this special, tasty treat.

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