Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mekong Delta Tour: Day One - Local Productions

Part of our tour included interactive field trips to local artisans and local living. On the first day, we stopped by 3 of the 4 islands in the Ben Tre Province: Tortoise Island, Unicorn Island, and Phoenix Island (The fourth island is called Dragon Island). On each island we tasted local treats and saw how they were all made with the most natural ingredients.

Coconut Candy
This one of the Ben Tre Province's most notable products, and it is made in just a few steps.
Grating the Coconut Meat

Producing Coconut Milk

Heating the Coconut Milk

Creating Fire with Coconut Shells

Simmering the Candy
60% Coconut Milk, 25% Sugar, 15% Malt

Fresh Coconut Candy

Molding to Wrapping
The candy is molded on this metal sheet which is lined with rice paper (the kind of rice paper from that Japanese sticky candy). It is then cut and wrapped.

Rice Paper
Another notable Vietnamese food item is their rice paper. It is typically eaten with entrees as a wrapper. Here at this food station, we learned it can also be flavored and eating like chips.
Grinding the Rice

Cooking the Rice Mixture

Forming the Rice Paper

Cooling the Rice Paper

Varieties of Flavors
Onion, Barbecue, and Plain

Packaging for Sale

Fresh Candied Ginger
At this small station, a lady was cooking fresh batches of ginger candy.

Fresh Candied Coconut
Another use of coconut.

Fresh Fruits
Pineapple, Dragon Fruit, Grape Fruit, Papaya, and Chico. While enjoying the songs of local folk singers, we were given plates of fresh fruits.

Lotus Tea

Honey and Tea
Bees products, such as this honey, are also produced in this area. We mixed it with our lotus tea.

Snake Wine
I love my alcohol...but not that much. These wines were enhanced with snakes, scorpions, etc. My imagination runs wild with what could happen to me if I drank a sip.

Coconut Wine
Nicely Presented in the Coconut. We tried a little sip, and, wow, it's pretty strong. I found it smoother than the Filipino Lambanog.

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