The Mekong Delta is famously dubbed as the “rice bowl” of Vietnam or a “biological treasure trove” for its diverse ecosystem. However, little does one know, the area is also the birthplace of many traditional handicraft villages. Despite the rapid advance of industrialization, these traditional handicraft villages in Mekong Delta have persistently kept Vietnam’s traditions alive. Here are some of our most celebrated villages that you must visit at least once!
Besides ao dai, the conical hat (non la) has found its way to fame as Vietnam’s most distinctive symbol. The hat is crafted from dried palm leaves and bamboo strings in the shape of a cone, thus the name "conical hat." The production requires not only considerable skills but also great dedication and immense patience, so watching how the artist works is forever fascinating.
Many traditional handicraft villages in the Mekong Delta specialize in conical hats, including one in Thoi Tan A Hamlet, Thoi Lai Province, Can Tho City and three in Chau Thanh District, Tien Giang Province: Than Cuu Nghia, Tan Ly Dong, and Tan Ly Tay. The hats made here are both sturdy and eye-catching, which is why they’re a favorite of tourists and locals alike.
Artisans crafting conical hats in Tien Giang
Phu My weaving village in Kien Giang is well-known for its handicraft products made entirely from lepironia (grey sedge). The variety of high-quality products here is surprising considering they're all handmade, from handbags, baskets, purses to stationaries, gift boxes, and hats. All are intricately made with care, which will be perfect as presents for your significant ones.
Collecting lepironia by boats in Kien Giang
At first, weaving was a way poor Khmer women moonlighted when the agricultural season was over. But thanks to the local government efforts, weaving has slowly become the local’s primary income. Nowadays, thousands of them do this for a living: they process lepironias, they design and craft. Visiting the village and buying some of these beautiful products are what you can do to both enjoy a meaningful trip and support the local community!
Mat made from lepironia
Arguably the most distinguished celebrity amongst traditional handicraft villages in Mekong Delta, Ben Tre has always been in top cities to visit in Vietnam thanks to its picturesque landscape and popular products from coconut.
It is said that you cannot walk around Ben Tre without spotting verdant ranges of coconut trees, so naturally, the locals have to make full use of the resources. From statuettes, decors to housewares, the artisans waste no parts of the coconut tree, and use the skills that were passed down from their ancestors to create magic.
Products from coconut are environmentally friendly, cheap and minimalistic
Apart from that, coconut candy is a must to try as well. This sweet, aromatic soft candy is made from a mixture of malt and coconut milk. The blend is then chilled and shaped into little squares of goodness. Traditional handicraft villages in Con Phung - Chau Thanh District (Ben Tre Province), Hung Phong - Giong Trom District (Ben Tre Province) offer classes where visitors can try making this candy. Schedule your next trip here to witness fascinating craftsmanship, get yourselves cheap, eco-friendly products, and learn to make tasty treats for your next gathering!
Visitors learn how to make coconut candy on Mekong Delta tour
Lai Vung District (Dong Thap) takes pride in the Lai Vung fermented pork (Nem Lai Vung), which is a specialty of Southern Vietnam. The village has been established for around 60 years, and over 300,000 fermented pork cubes are produced daily.
As for fermented pork, it is often eaten as a side dish or on major celebrations like the Lunar New Year. Although the ingredients are fairly simple: pork’s skin, pork, pepper, chili…, it takes elaborate craftsmanship to make one batch. A well-made fermented pork cube will have a slightly tangy flavor, a harmonious blend of sweet – spicy, and a satisfying crunch under the soft texture. Comparing to other fermented dishes, this may be the easiest on your taste buds.
Fermented pork is shaped into little cubes and eaten with chili
For years, Sa Dec has been popular for its flower production. However, this time, we are talking about rice flour village.
Sa Dec lies between Dong Thap Muoi and Long Xuyen quadrangle – two biggest rice granaries of Vietnam, so for over 100 years, the rice flour village has had every opportunity to grow steadily. There are now about 2,000 workers, who supply approximately 30,000 tons of rice flour each year. The rice flour will then be made into pho, noodles, vermicelli… and owing to Sa Dec workers’ skills, Sa Dec flour tastes especially soft and appetizing. If you love pho, a visit here after Sa Dec flower village is absolutely worthy.
Workers use sunlight to dry rice flour
Sedge mat weaving village – among traditional handicraft villages in Mekong Delta, is situated at Long Dinh Commune, Chau Thanh District, Tien Giang Province. Established for over 50 years, the village now provides thousands of eye-catching and long-lasting mats per year for the domestic market as well as for export to America, Korea, Japan…
Visitors love this village for the “Instagrammable” view of colorful dyed sedge and classes where they can test their weaving skills. The mat weaving season runs from January to April, so remember to schedule your visit during these months.
A weaving factory in Tien Giang
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The Western area is well-known for its savory food and scenic landscape, nevertheless, your trip would be a complete loss if you don’t spend time here in traditional handicraft villages in Mekong Delta. Plan your vacation here with us or simple choose our all-encompassing tour of Mekong Delta’s culture!
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© Written by Ngan Mai for itourvn.com