7-color Sticky Rice of Sapa

Steamed glutinous rice with seven colors is a unique dish of the Nung tribe in Sapa. This dish is stunning, with seven different hues and no artificial coloring.


In Sapa, steamed glutinous rice with seven colors is known as "xoi bay mau" and is a typical meal at Nung Din ethnic celebrations in Muong Khuong district (Lao Cai). This dish is not only excellent and well-known in the region, but it also has historical significance. As a result, the cooking process is passed down over generations.

This unique dish is colored in seven different ways: pink, vermilion, scarlet, bright green, yellow green, banana leaf green, and yellow, and each of these hues is made from a natural tree, so you may eat it with complete confidence. Furthermore, each color has its own meaning. According to the Nung Din people's history, each hue in this steamed glutinous rice represents one month of the Nung Din people's battle, which lasted from January to July. Spring is represented by banana leaf green, crimson by the blood of those who perished in the struggle of the Nung Din people, yellow by agonies, vermilion by the magnanimous victory of the Nung Din people, and so on.


Women from the Nung Din tribe prepare this dish. They must select good sticky rice with large, long seeds in this case. Rice is steeped in water for around 12 hours before being dyed for about 3 hours. The rice is then rinsed again, placed in a separate pot, and cooked for 1.5 to 2 hours. When cooking this dish, keep the color bright and avoid adding salt to the rice.

Every year on the first of July, the Nung Din people organize a festival to commemorate a triumph. Steamed glutinous rice with seven colors is always shown as an essential meal at the event. Furthermore, the Nung Nin people believe that consuming steamed glutinous rice with seven colors will bring them luck and good fortune. Nung Din ladies are proud of this dish because it demonstrates their creativity and competence.


Every visitor to Lao Cai on a market day not only sees colorful clothing, but also enjoys the cooked glutinous rice with seven colors, which has a mountain and forest flavor. If you get the opportunity to visit the Nung Din family, I am confident that you will want to return because of the unique and appealing aspects of the cuisine and atmosphere.

Leading 7-color Sticky Rice eateries in Sapa:

Red Dao – 4B Thac Bac Street, Sapa Town
Anh Dung – 06 Xuan Vien Street, Sapa Town
Hoa Dao – 48 Le Van Tam Street, Sapa Town

See more

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