The story of ‘Morgue Sticky Rice’ is an intriguing one, and I’m excited to share it with you. In conversation with the *Tuoi Tre* (Youth) newspaper, Luu Bao Minh, the son of the founder of this unique establishment, revealed that the name originated from its loyal customers.

Minh’s parents used to sell sticky rice from a cart at the intersection of Nguyen Tri Phuong and Tran Phu Streets. Over time, they moved to their current location on Tran Phu Street, which happens to be surrounded by funeral homes, hospitals, and vendors associated with funeral rituals.

The famous ‘Xôi Mặn’ (Savory Sticky Rice) shop, with its unique nickname, has become a beloved part of the local culture. Photo: Ho Lam / Tuoi Tre

The sticky rice shop has been a fixture on this street for almost half a century, and its proximity to funeral homes earned it the nickname ‘Morgue Sticky Rice.’ Minh shared that the name stuck, and now everyone knows their shop by this intriguing moniker.

As night falls, the shop comes alive with customers. The staff works diligently to prepare and serve their signature dish to the eager patrons. Taking a moment during a lull, Minh shared some of the other interesting names their shop has been called over the years.

At one point, it was known as ‘Bouncing Sticky Rice’ due to the wooden cart they used to sell from, which would bounce with every touch. Then, it became the ‘Clattering Sticky Rice’ shop because of the rhythmic sound the spoon made against the pot. For theatergoers of the past, it was affectionately called ‘Xôi Hào Huê’ as it was near the Hao Hue theater, often visited by renowned comedy troupes.

The signature dish, with its savory toppings, is a beloved local favorite. Photo: Ho Lam / Tuoi Tre

Minh reminisced about his parents’ hard work, raising five children by selling sticky rice on the sidewalk. He joined the family business as a student and continues it today, cherishing the memories and the unique legacy of their shop. He still uses the traditional method of cooking sticky rice with charcoal and wrapping it in banana leaves, a technique passed down from his parents.

The shop opens at 3:00 pm, and Minh starts preparing the sticky rice from noon. With portions priced affordably, the sales volume varies from night to night. He sources high-quality raw sticky rice, ensuring a consistent grain size and optimal steaming for that perfect texture.

Minh prepares the ingredients with care, including making his own meat floss. Photo: Ho Lam / Tuoi Tre

The signature dish is a savory delight, featuring scallion oil, crispy fried shallots, roasted peanut powder, and meat floss, all freshly prepared daily. The Chinese sausage, or lạp xưởng, is sourced from a long-standing contact in Soc Trang, known for its traditional flavor. As the clock strikes 9:00 pm, the steam rises from the pot, ready to serve the eager customers, many of whom are elderly Chinese residents of District 5, with whom Minh converses fluently in their native language.

The ‘Morgue Sticky Rice’ shop has become an integral part of the cultural and culinary landscape of District 5. With its unique name and history, it has left an indelible mark on the community, attracting customers from near and far.