Experience the flavor of the Northwestern in Sapa.

Experience the flavor of the Northwestern in Sapa.


Cơm lam – a simple and popular dish of the people of Sapa. Bamboo tube rice may seem ordinary, but it holds a special and unique taste. It seems to encapsulate the entire mountain forest within each grain of rice, each bamboo tube, and the charcoal stove.

Origin of Sapa’s cơm lam

The bamboo tube rice first appeared during the long trips and forest work of the local people. They would usually carry a small amount of sticky rice, a knife, and fire-starting tools. When hungry, they would simply cut a piece of bamboo, put the rice and spring water on the fire, and soon enjoy a fragrant and delicious serving of cơm lam. Cơm lam is also a dish associated with family gatherings and festive occasions. From then on, cơm lam has survived until today, becoming a specialty of Sapa.

Cơm lam is not cooked in ordinary pots but prepared using bamboo tubes, such as bamboo culms, bamboo stems, or bamboo tubes. The rice used must be a special variety grown on the terraced rice fields of Sa Pa, as rice grown on lower slopes would turn mushy when cooked in bamboo tubes. Although the special variety is a non-glutinous rice, it is sticky like sticky rice, which is commonly used for making rice cakes in the lowlands.

The unique flavor of Sapa’s cơm lam

Each bamboo tube of cơm lam is just enough for one person. When eating, diners can split the bamboo tube and transfer the rice to a bowl. Alternatively, they can remove the charred outer layer of the bamboo tube, leaving only a thin layer of bamboo. At this point, the diner can cut the bamboo tube into small sections. When enjoying the dish, it’s easy to peel off that thin layer of bamboo, leaving a delicate bamboo film on the surface of the rice.

In addition, cơm lam is also savored with skewered local pork, beef, chicken, or flavorful grilled fish. It can also be enjoyed with slices of buffalo meat, or simply dipped in sesame salt. These variations already bring the delicious flavors of the Northwestern mountain forest.

It is known that the people of Sapa can cook not only rice but also anything using bamboo tubes, substituting for pots, pans, kettles, and pans. Due to frequent forest work and farming activities, it is inconvenient to carry cooking utensils. Thus, the locals came up with the idea of cooking using bamboo tubes.

When visiting Sapa, indulging in cơm lam with grilled dishes becomes a delight for many tourists. In this way, they can savor the flavors of the mountain forest and feel closer to nature. With just about ten thousand Vietnamese dong, visitors can buy a bamboo tube of cơm lam and personally taste this delicious dish in Sapa.

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