Traditional craft villages buzzing ahead of Tết

January 06, 2023 - 03:46
Traditional craft villages in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province are busy churning out products for Tết (Lunar New Year), which falls on January 22.
An artisan dries his rice paper in An Ngãi craft village in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province's Long Điền District. — VNA/VNS Photo

BÀ RỊA-VŨNG TÀU — Traditional craft villages in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province are busy churning out products for Tết (Lunar New Year), which falls on January 22, 2023.

Rice paper workshops in Long Điền District start working early in the morning and keep going all day.

The rice papers of the villages in Long Điền District are famous for being delicious and chewy, and said to taste better than all others.

The production involves making powder, rolling and drying.

Modern drying technologies are widely used in many craft villages, but Long Điền Village still retains the traditional way of drying it under the sun in natural wind.

In this village, artisans make them without preservatives or additives to ensure safety and hygiene, and frown on modern technologies, preferring to dry it naturally, which they say is the secret to making it more crispy and fragrant.

Trần Năm, 65, says: “The drying process depends on the weather. On a sunny day it only takes a few hours; on a less sunny day it may take all day. If the weather is sunny and windy, my family can make a batch of more than 4,000 rice papers every two days.

Rice paper is bought all year round, but demand zooms during Tết. The COVID-19 pandemic affected many businesses, but not rice paper makers since it is an essential food item.

Lương Thị Hồng Trang, 65, says making rice paper is a traditional craft in Long Điền village, handed down from generation to generation.

The village’s rice papers are unique thanks to water from the local wells that most households in the village use to instil a special flavour.

But the wells are no longer enough to serve all households, and some use tap water.

Flower farmers in Bà Rịa City are in the frenetic final stages before they take their products to the market.

Though demand was significantly lower during the COVID years, the farmers remain optimistic since sales have been gradually recovering, portending a more prosperous year.

According to a local farmer, Nguyễn Trung Trường, ornamental flowers have blossomed well thanks to good weather and so sales have been good.

With the increasing prices of fertilisers and plants scaring away some farmers, output has decreased this year, driving prices up, he says.

“The most popular are reasonably priced plants like daisies and roses while expensive varieties such as orchids, red apricots and azaleas have lower demand. Mini bonsai trees are selling in large numbers.” — VNS