The smell of summer: Hồ Tây's lotus flower ponds

July, 09/2022 - 07:09
Lotus flowers bloom in many lakes and ponds around Hà Nội in mid-summer, but Hồ Tây's (West Lake) are the most popular.

A man picks lotus flowers at West Lake in Hà Nội. VNS Photos Nguyễn Long

Nguyễn Long

Lotus flowers bloom in many lakes and ponds around Hà Nội in mid-summer, but Hồ Tây's (West Lake) are the most popular.

Coming to the lake in Tây Hồ District, people will be charmed by the fragrant smell radiating from lotus ponds all over the region. Lotuses grow here in many areas: Kim Liên Pagoda, Quảng Khánh Village, Nhật Tân and Xuân La wards.

Lotuses are used to make tea and must be collected in the early morning, when the dew remains heavy, in order to ensure the tea’s freshness.

One famous cultivar of lotus grown here is named Bách Diệp, which means a hundred petals. It is well known for its characteristic fragrance.

Bách Diệp flowers are the only type used to make lotus-scented tea because of their distinctive aroma. For a long time, Hồ Tây lotus tea was considered the finest and most quintessential tea in Việt Nam.

The weather conditions decide when the lotus fragrance infuses into the dried tea leaves. Sometimes it only takes 18-24 hours.

The lotuses used to make the tea must be picked in the early morning when the dew remains heavy in order to ensure the tea’s freshness. After that, the anther is quickly separated from the flower before it withers and loses its fragrance.

According to the retailers, the price of choice lotus flowers at West Lake is almost three times higher than the market.

Choice lotus flowers at West Lake are almost three times higher than the market.

In addition to making tea, each part of the lotus has its own use. The lotus root can help prevent allergies and infections, while the lotus seed plays a vital role in traditional medicine practices. Other parts of the plant can be used in dishes of Vietnamese cuisine. - VNS

Lotus flower ponds near Hồ Tây are busy with people flocking to take photos.