Become a rice cultivator for a day! Whether you are with your partner, with friends, or with family, this experience in the countryside of Hoi An promises to offer a change of scenery. Perhaps you will discover a new vocation?
The rice fields of Vietnam often make you dream, and embody in the collective imagination an image of Asia Epinal. Since many travellers wish to learn more about rice cultivation in Vietnam, we therefore propose you put yourself in the shoes of a farmer in the region of Hoi An. Although the rice fields are not terraced, they are very numerous and offer a striking contrast with the old town.
Before the development of tourism, the people of Hoi An lived mainly from fishing and agriculture. Hoang, whose family has lived in an agricultural hamlet of Hoi An for generations, wanted to preserve and promote the traditional rice cultivation. From the work in the rice fields to the processing of rice into a finished product, he will provide valuable information on rice cultivation in Vietnam.
ON THE PROGRAM
Your guide will pick you up directly at your hotel, and you will leave by bike for an hour ride to discover the surrounding countryside, consisting of paddy fields, palm groves, and shrimp ponds. A native of the region, he will be able to give you lots of information and explain the local cultivation.
This easy ride is very enjoyable and is a wonderful introduction to your day.
You will then reach his house, in a small hamlet facing the paddy fields. There, he and his wife will welcome you. Soon, rice cultivation in Vietnam will not be a mystery to you!
After explaining the different stages of the culture, your teacher of the day will propose you practice what you have learned.
Then it’s your turn to put on your outfit to work in the rice fields! You will meet a domestic buffalo, whose help is still precious today for work in the paddy fields.
Preparing the soil, turning it over several times, and then planting each shoot by hand, are all instructive and surprising steps in which you will take part. Don’t be afraid to get dirty! Don’t worry, a tap will be accessible to rinse off.
Don’t forget your camera! Your participation often results in funny scenes that you will want to immortalize.
After this initiation, you will discover how to process rice in the traditional way, once it has been harvested. You will be able to test the different machines that separate the grain from the stalk, then remove the husk that surrounds it, and finally polish it to give its familiar white and smooth look.
Hoang will then show you how to make rice milk, and these basics will enable you to help make a rice pancake, a kind of “crêpe de riz.”
This experience will end with a delicious lunch prepared by Hoang’s wife and you will return to your hotel in the early afternoon, full of new skills and memorable experiences!
The rice pancake that you will cook is called Banh Xeo, a traditional dish of central and southern Vietnam that is very popular with locals and tourists alike.
The dough, made of rice milk and turmeric, is often combined with pieces of pork or shrimp and soy sprouts. You can taste it after it is cut into small pieces, garnished with aromatic herbs, and rolled in a sheet of rice. It is then dipped in the famous nuoc mam sauce. Depending on the region, there are many variations of this dish, but it is always delicious!