Muong Va commune is populated by Thai ethnic people. Its fertile soil, abundant water from the Nam Ca and Nam Su rivers, which rise from primeval forests, and mild weather are ideal for growing this variety of sticky rice, called “tan”. Village elders say that no one knows when sticky rice was first planted in Muong Va, but everyone knows the “tan” variety has been around for generations.
|"Tan" sticky rice of Muong Va (Photo: VOV)
The Thai people grow their special sticky rice on 200 hectares, yielding 900 tons a year. “Tan” sticky rice is part of daily meals, desserts, worship offerings, and gifts. Steamed sticky rice cooked in a wooden steamer over charcoal retains its stickiness and delightful taste even after being kept at room temperature all day. Each grain is coated in a thin layer of oil.
Each crop is planted in late April and harvested in November.
Lo Van Diem, Muong Va’s village chief, said, “The management board of Muong Va village encourages villagers to grow sticky rice, the traditional plant of Muong Va commune. We cook sticky rice for our ethnic rituals and use it to make ‘Chung’ (green sticky rice) cakes for the lunar New Year festival.”
|Muong Va commune has the largest sticky rice plantation in Sop Cop district, Son La province. (Photo: VOV)
Muong Va villagers consider “tan” sticky rice a proprietary product but they still share seedlings with neighboring villages. They use sticky rice, pork belly, peanuts, and wild “dong” leaves to make Chung cakes that have a unique flavor, according to Le Kim Ngan, a tourist from Hanoi.
“Chung cakes are made throughout Vietnam, but Chung cakes made from ‘tan” sticky rice have a distinctive taste,” said Ngan.
According to Tong Thi Kien, Vice Chairwoman of Sop Cop district’s People’s Committee, policies have been designed to support Muong Va sticky rice by strengthening connectivity, improving techniques and equipment, and guaranteeing sales.
“We have designated a specific area for sticky rice cultivation to make sure our rice has the best flavor and to promote the sticky rice trademark of Sop Cop district. The rice is consumed locally and in other parts of Vietnam. Our sticky rice is often purchased as a souvenir by visitors,” said Kien.
|Chung cakes made from "tan" sticky rice (Photo: VOV)
In 2018, Muong Va’s “tan” sticky rice was granted a Certificate of Trademark Registration by the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam. It is promoted as one of 20 OCOP products (One Commune One Product) in Son La province.