Xôi Ngũ Sắc

Xôi ngũ sắc is a Vietnamese sticky rice dish known for its vibrant array of five colors.

Lastest Updated January 6, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
  • Street Food
  • Traditional
Home » Dishes A-Z » Xôi Ngũ Sắc

Fact: In 2008, at a tourist event in Yen Bai, people created a massive portion of xôi ngũ sắc with 400 kilograms (881.8 lbs) of plants for dyeing 800 kilograms (1763.7) of glutinous rice.

Basic Information

Xôi Ngũ Sắc: Basic Information


/soy ngoo sack/

Alternative Name(s)


Dish Type

Glutinous rice dishes


Non-course dish



Popular Variations

Origin and Region

Xôi Ngũ Sắc: Origin and Region



Continent’s Region

Southeast Asia

Country’s Region

Northwest Vietnam

Associated Region

Yen Bai
Vietnam Map
Ingredients and Preparation

Xôi Ngũ Sắc: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

Glutinous rice

Main Cooking Method


Preparation Process

Glutinous rice is soaked with natural color before being steamed separately
A Deep Dive

Xôi Ngũ Sắc: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

A special treat of the Thai ethnic people








Red, green, white, yellow, purple/black

Serving Style

On a plate or in a bowl

Serving Temperature

Hot or warm


Sesame seeds and salt, crushed peanuts, braised chicken, braised pork


New Year, festivals


Year-round, spring

Special Diets

Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free




Vietnam (especially in the Northwest region)

Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Xôi Gấc
  2. Xôi Lá Cẩm
  3. Xôi Lá Dứa

Popular Dining Area

Local households and markets in Northern Vietnam

Xôi ngũ sắc is a traditional sticky rice dish from Vietnam featuring a combination of five colors. This colorful glutinous specialty is a street food specialty of the Thai ethnic people in Muong Lo of Yen Bai. Typically, the sticky rice comes in red, green, white, yellow, and purple (or black) colors.

Xoi Ngu Sac Infographic

Furthermore, these colors also represent natural elements from the table of five elements in Eastern philosophy, with green for wood, red for fire, yellow for earth, black for water, and white for metal. Interestingly, these five colors are all naturally achieved using plant-based products.

Usually, the yellow is made using turmeric, while the purple or black hue comes from the magenta leaves. For the red sticky rice, gac fruit is the common option, while the green one is achieved using pandan leaves.

During the cooking process, each color of the sticky rice is kept separately. However, people often mix all the colors when serving it. In Northern regions, xôi ngũ sắc is often served during the New Year occasion and festive events.

Uncover other aspects of xôi ngũ sắc, like its accompanying food items, along with the benefits and drawbacks of eating this sticky rice treat.

Additionally, you should know about what others think about xôi ngũ sắc through common concerns. Then, learn about the dishes that are like xôi ngũ sắc.

Key Points

  • Xôi ngũ sắc is a sticky rice dish that features five colors: red, green, white, yellow, and purple (or black).
  • The dish is a specialty of the Thai ethnic group in Muong Lo of Yen Bai, a province in Northern Vietnam.
  • The colors are obtained from natural ingredients.
  • The dish is usually served for New Year and festivals to symbolize good luck, prosperity, and harmony.

Xôi Ngũ Sắc Images

Pros and Cons of Eating Xôi Ngũ Sắc

These are a few features that affect your consideration of whether to consume xôi ngũ sắc or not:


  • Natural Ingredients: The use of natural ingredients for coloring, such as turmeric and pandan leaves, is a healthier alternative to artificial food colorings.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: The vibrant colors make it visually appealing, enhancing the dining experience.
  • Versatility: It’s served as a base for various toppings or accompaniments, making it a versatile dish suitable for different meals.


  • Limited Protein: On its own, the dish lacks a significant amount of protein, so it needs to be paired with other protein-rich foods for a balanced meal.
  • Time-consuming Preparation: Achieving the different natural colors is a time-consuming process, as it involves preparing each colored rice separately.

Afterward, make sure to explore some of the common concerns relating to xôi ngũ sắc to have a thorough understanding of the treat.

Xôi Ngũ Sắc FAQs

It can be both, depending on the accompaniments and toppings used. However, locals often enjoy xôi ngũ sắc with a sweet sugar mixture with crushed peanuts.

The different colored rice varieties are usually mixed together when served.

Yes, as it’s made from rice and natural plant-based ingredients, it’s gluten-free.

Yes, it can be reheated, though the texture might slightly change. In case you’re going to re-steam it, the rice grains can become mushier.

Yes, it’s suitable for vegetarians, especially if no animal-based toppings are added.

Similar Dishes of Xôi Ngũ Sắc

Xoi Gac

Xôi gấc is a sticky rice specialty in Vietnam that utilizes gac fruit to create a vibrant red color.

Xoi La Cam

Xôi lá cẩm is a Vietnamese sticky rice dish colored and flavored with the natural purple dye from magenta plant leaves.

Xoi La Dua

Xôi lá dứa is a Vietnamese sticky rice dish flavored with pandan leaves, giving the grains a green color.

Truc Tran (Kris)

Truc Tran (Kris)

Senior Food Editor


Home Cooking, Meal Planning, Recipe Development, Baking and Pastry, Food Editor, Cooking-video Maker, Vietnamese Food Evaluation Expert


  • Hospitality (Commercial Cookery) at TasTAFE
  • Culinary Arts at Kendall College (Australia Branch in Sydney)
  • Vietnamese Cuisine Head Chef at HNAAu School (Vietnam, International Joint Training Program)

Truc Tran (Kris), an experienced food writer and editor, is great at exploring and describing global cuisines, from simple street food to fancy dining. In her writing, she skillfully mixes different flavors, cooking methods, and culinary traditions, showing the unique character of various cultures through their food and drinks. On azcuisines.com, Kris highlights her knowledge, especially in Asian cuisine and worldwide traditional dishes.

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