Sapa- the fanciful town in the fog is considered a gateway to another world of mysterious minority cultures and luscious landscapes. Coming to Sapa, visitors are not only overwhelmed by unique cuisines; they can also try the famous wine brands of the area. In Vietnam, rice wine is brewed almost everywhere. It is surprising that a rice-filled town would be so famous for having several types of wines, all of them rather unorthadox.
San Lung wine – a specialty of Sapa
Coming to Lao Cai, the tourists–especially wine connoisseurs–can’t miss San Lung wine that was a unique gift from the Red Dao. San Lung wine is named after the name of the Red Dao ethnic village-the village of San Lung-Bat Xat-Lao Cai. According to the legend of Dao, San Lung is the wine of heaven. As the result, the special wine is used only for worshiping heaven and earth, ancestors, festival, fair, weddings and treating your best friends.
San Lung wine is a precious because it is produced very meticulously by the Red Dao. The necessary ingredients include water from special stream, rice and herbs. Water is taken from Po Sen stream which is always pure and cool all year round. Rice is selected carefully from terraced fields of rice planted by the locals. The herbs are especially precious, and mixed with the strange leaves it makes a unique flavor. After preparing all ingredients carefully, the Dao people will soak rice and brew it with sorghum and herbs. Moreover, older men in the family prefer to use their own personal methods when it comes to brewing. Soaking and fermenting also depend on the weather. After fermenting is successful, the wine will be distilled twice with water. The first time is to remove impurities. During the second time, the wine is cooled by the mixture of herbs and by the water from the Po Sen stream.
San Lung wine has a unique taste which attracts many wine connoisseurs coming to Sapa. No one can deny the benefits of this special wine. It is said that San Lung wine is the “fairy wine” can relieve pain, prevent colds, flu, and blood circulation. San Lueng specialty wine is served on the Lunar New Year festival. This wine has a special meaning to the people that live here. For them, it keeps them warm during the cold winter months. It alleviates their aches and pains from a hard day’s work and takes their mind off the constant struggle of poverty.
Corn wine in Bac Ha
If you come to Bac Ha, don’t forget to take time to visit the H’mong ethnic minority at Ban Pho. Here, you’ll not only admire plum and peach forests, relax in a resort with the cool climate but also enjoy regional cuisine. Moreover, you will have chance to check out the ethnic cultural village which H’mong live in, and try tasting corn wine–the specialty in Ban Pho, Bac Ha.
Most of families in Bac Ha produce corn wine, but the wine which is made by the H’mong in Ban Pho is the most delicious. Wine is made of corn grown in the terraced-fields. To cook wine, corn is boiled for a long time until the kernels are broken. After cooling, the H’mong mix corn with yeast which is made from “hong my” trees planted along the hillsides in a certain percentage. Continuously, fermenting lasts from 5 to 6 days. All of these special ingredients and climate of Sa pa will create a unique wine which is different than any kind of wine of the Northwest mountain area.
When drinking this wine, you feel passionate and impetuous. Even if you are drunk, you don’t have headache or dizziness. The locals drink corn wine to protect them from the cold in the winter. Corn wine in Ban Pho contributes to maintaining and preserving the traditional cultural values of H’mong people in Ban Pho. Moreover, this specialty attracts more and more tourists to visit, explore and enjoy.
“Tao meo” wine in Sa pa
Like San Lung wine and corn wine, cat apple wine is delicious and brings the flavor of the mountains and forests of Sa pa. Cat apple trees rise commonly on Hoang Lien Son Mountain and its fruit tastes of the forest, sunshine and wind. As a result, it has four main flavors such as sweet, sour, sharp and bitter. The locals collect its fruits and create this special wine with a taste unlike any of its cousins.
Cat apple wine can treat many diseases such as platelet and blood pressure. Visitors can buy its fruits in all market of Sa pa between August and October. More amazingly, you can make cat apple wine by yourself. You may think you’re having a carbonated drink at the first sip, but the more you drink, the more you will feel power and amazing flavor of this wine.