Located close to the peaceful Cau River, Tho Ha Village in the northern province of Bac Giang has developed a name for itself thanks to its original ancient architecture and specialty products – rice paper and crackers.
The rice paper made in the village has been so renowned and favoured that it has appeared in meals from the north to the south, and even abroad.
Arriving at the village, visitors might be overwhelmed seeing rice paper dried in every corner.
From the early morning, villagers bring out thousands of rice-covered panels (phen) and stack them along the village streets and alleys. The rice paper is evenly dried on the ground of communal houses, pagodas, on the roofs and trees.
The whole village is permeated with the aromatic scent of flour while local ladies are seen toasting crackers over fire burners in the streets.
According to the locals, the rice paper must be dried in the thin mist in the air so that it can be high quality and have a delicious flavour.
The village has more than 600 households involved in making rice paper. The special features of Tho Ha rice paper is its thickness and flexibility. When soaked in water, it remains tough while not breaking like some other types of rice paper. Furthermore, the producers do not use additives to ensure food safety and hygiene.
As an indispensable ingredient of Vietnamese famed spring rolls, Tho Ha rice paper has been introduced to markets nationwide and even exported to Taiwan, Korea, Japan and European countries.
During Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year), the production of rice cakes in the village is insufficient to meet demand. The time to buy the specialty starts from September till the end of February of the following year.
On average, one household produces about 250-300kg of rice cakes per day and earns an average income of about from VND7 million to VND10 million ($310-$440) per person per month, which is the main source of income for Tho Ha villagers.
VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK