BAC GIANG – Tho Ha is a pure Vietnamese village in the North, famous for making rice paper, a favorite destination of many domestic and foreign tourists.
Tho Ha village is located in Van Ha commune, Viet Yen district, about 45 km from Hanoi’s capital. Tho Ha is a pure Vietnamese village in the North, today it still retains features such as the village gate, communal house, banyan tree, water well. Although located in the delta, Tho Ha land cannot grow rice, and people here live by handicrafts and trade.
Located on a mound of land with an area of 20 hectares, Tho Ha is a low hill in the north, and the remaining three sides are bordered by the Cau River. The special location makes the waterway traffic of Tho Ha popular. To reach the village, people and tourists mostly have to go by river. From Hanoi, you can get to this village by going to Yen Phong, Bac Ninh, and then taking a boat to the other side. A passenger ferry operates continuously from morning to evening.
Tho Ha village was formerly famous for pottery. This used to be one of the most famous pottery centers of the Vietnamese in the 14th century. However, the pottery profession gradually disappeared, only the profession of making rice paper was still passed down from generation to generation. Stepping into the village, the first impression of visitors will be the Banh Banh Pan filled with small alleys, roofs, tree branches… and the air is filled with the fragrance of Banh Mi.
Tho Ha mainly produces two types of cakes: coconut rice paper and spring roll cake. In order to have delicious rice cakes, people are careful right from the stage of choosing ingredients. The flour is made from pure glutinous rice, which is soaked the night before. Every day at 3 am, the small village on the Cau River wakes up to start a working day. Every kitchen is on fire. Today, while coconut rice paper is hand-coated on the stove, the process of rolling rice paper rolls is supported by machines. The process of coating the cake must be done meticulously and skillfully so that the rice paper has a moderate thickness and is cooked to perfection.
After finishing the rice paper, it is arranged on bamboo pens to dry throughout the village. Tho Ha village has a main road to enter the village. This road radiates into many small alleys. The alleys are very narrow, only about 1 meter wide, deep. Banh Da Nem are dried leaning against the walls covered with alleys, in the communal yard, on the roof… creating an image that only Tho Ha has.
Mr. Nguyen Duc Tao (Tho Ha resident) said that his family has been making rice paper for decades. The work is quite hard because you have to get up early every day to wash and dry the cakes. In order for the cake to have characteristic plasticity, Tho Ha rice paper must be dried in the wind, not in the sun.
Dry enough coconut rice paper will be brought to bake. Every day, Ms. Nguyen Thi Tham has to sit in front of the fire until the afternoon to bake 100 rice cakes. After drying, the rice paper rolls will be cut and packed.
Tho Ha rice paper is famous and delicious. Grilled coconut rice cake is crispy, and fragrant with the flavor of coconut, sesame, peanut. Banh nem has a moderate thickness, is flexible, easy to roll, soaked in water is still tough and not broken, so it is popular with many people, Today, the taste of Tho Ha rice paper has traveled all over the country and out into the world. gender.
Trinh Thi Phuong, from Tho Ha village, is packing coconut rice cakes for distribution. She said: “In order for the cake to dry enough, I usually leave it to dry for about 2 days after being coated. Making rice paper is quite difficult because I have to get up early and sit in the oven.”
The profession of making rice paper not preserves the traditional flavor of Tho Ha, but also brings a stable income to the people. Currently, Tho Ha village has more than 600 hundred households making rice paper. Each day, an average household makes about 200-300 kg of rice. Tho Ha is also a destination for tourists, and researchers of culture and craft villages.
photo: Xuan Phuong (vinlove.net)