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Vietnamese English
rượu cần
- Rượu cần (wine drunk out of a jar through pipes) is very popular among the highlanders, especially in Tây Nguyên. But its flavour differs from one area to another. In Sơn La (some 300 km north-west of Hà Nội), for example, where the Thái ethnic groups are to be found, people drink rượu cần in their own special way. It is drunk on several occasions: Tết festival, wedding parties, ground-breaking ceremonies or other festive days. The jar containing the wine is put at a fixed place (in the middle of the house or the yard), so that as many people as possible can drink it. Pipes are put into the jar prior to drinking and a basinful of pure water is placed beside it. A buffalo horn to be used to pour water into the jar is put on a tray nearby. Not everyone is allowed to drink rượu cần. And the order of precedence is strictly observed. But there is no racial discrimination: the Kinh ( Việt) may drink with the Thái and Mường. The ingredients of rượu cần include wild leaves, cassava roots and rice which are washed and put above an oven for 20 days or sọ Then all the mixed ingredients are wrapped with large banana leaves and left in a corner of the house for a couple of days. As soon as the process of fermentation is completed, the whole brew is put into a jar. When all the guests are seated, the host pours water from the basin into the jar. At first, he invites the guests to taste the wine from a jar whose wine is more bitter than others. This is meant to remind everyone of the bitterness of life. Then a second jar is brought in which the wine tastes more pungent. In the third jar, the wine is sweetest symbolizing that " your heart can be happy after so much grief". Drinking rượu cần is accompanied by Múa Xoè (a dance of the Thái ethnic minorities) and drum beating. All this is to help the host and guests forget all their daily worries and enjoy to the utmost the pleasure of tasting rượu cần. (VNS)
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