Table of Contents
1. Rice Paper Village - A hidden gem in Cu Chi
About Phu Hoa Dong Rice Paper Village
The Rice Paper Village Phu Hoa Dong, is a part of Cu Chi district which is more than 30 kilometers away from the center of Ho Chi Minh City. As most tourists know about Cu Chi for its underground tunnels, little does anyone know about the nearly 100-year-old craft village that plays an important role in Vietnamese history and culture.
Rice Paper Village of Cu Chi is not just a place to witness the age-old traditions of Vietnam but also an opportunity to savor the flavors of this region’s culinary heritage. It’s a charming enclave where history, culture, and cuisine blend seamlessly, leaving visitors with lasting memories of an authentic Vietnamese experience.
Why should you visit the Rice Paper Village in a Cu Chi Tunnel trip?
Although all tourists visit Cu Chi for its tunnels, visiting the Rice Paper Village as part of the trip can be a unique and enriching experience for several reasons:
Cultural Immersion: The Rice Paper Village offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions of the Cu Chi district. You can witness firsthand the traditional craftsmanship and techniques used to make rice paper, a staple in Vietnamese cuisine.
Hands-On Experience: Many Rice Paper Villages allow visitors to participate in the rice paper-making process. You can try your hand at grinding rice, spreading it on bamboo frames, and drying it in the sun. This hands-on experience can be both fun and educational.
Culinary Exploration: Rice paper is a versatile ingredient used in various Vietnamese dishes, including spring rolls and rice paper rolls. Visiting the Rice Paper Village can provide insights into the culinary heritage of the region, and you may have the chance to taste freshly made rice paper dishes.
Authentic Countryside Scene: The villages in the Cu Chi district are often situated in picturesque countryside settings. You can enjoy the natural beauty of the area while exploring the village and its surroundings.
Cultural Exchange: Interacting with the local artisans and villagers can offer a glimpse into their way of life, fostering cultural exchange and understanding. You may learn about their daily routines, customs, and stories.
Support Local Economy: Visiting the Rice Paper Village contributes to the local economy and helps sustain traditional crafts and livelihoods. Purchasing locally made products, such as rice paper or other handicrafts, can also be a meaningful way to support the community.
Complementing Cu Chi Tunnel Visit: While the Cu Chi Tunnels are the primary attraction in the area, it may be not enough for those who want to explore both Vietnam’s history and culture. a visit to the Rice Paper Village can provide a well-rounded experience, combining history, culture, and gastronomy in one trip.
Overall, including a visit to the Rice Paper Village as part of your Cu Chi Tunnel trip can enhance your understanding of the region’s heritage, offer unique cultural experiences, and add an enjoyable culinary dimension to your journey. It is something that you should not miss when visiting Cu Chi.
2. The disappearing of nearly 100 years old traditional craft village
Cold hard problems Cu Chi Rice Paper Village is facing
Although the traditional Cu Chi Rice Paper Village has been there for 100 years, in the present day, it is facing problems that can push the tradition of Rice Paper Village to the edge of disappearing forever:
With the wave of industrialization, rice paper production by machines is replacing traditional crafting production. Only 1 machine can turn 1000kg of powder into rice papers just in a day, which is much faster and more convenient. Therefore, quality is going down compared to rice papers made by traditional crafting.
- Not appealing to the young generation
Though families in Rice Paper Village have kept their traditional work for a hundred years, the job is not that appealing to the young generation. Most of them are switching to office work, or other jobs in the city center that offer more than their parents’ traditional ones.
- Low income
You may see the retailed rice paper in supermarkets as cheap, however, the prices that families in Rice Papẻ village are selling out are much cheaper. In contrast with the increasing consumption of rice paper, the income of those who make it is quite low: only 6-10 USD/ day.
What's left of the village in present days
When mentioning Phu Hoa Dong, Cu Chi district, everyone will remember the long-standing specialty of rice paper. The elders in the village have no idea how long ago the baking profession began. When they grew up, the rice paper profession followed them and stuck with them throughout their lives.
More than 20 years ago, the craft village was bustling with nearly 95% of households making rice paper, now this number is only half. The bakers have moved on to other professions, the young people of the village have turned away from the profession, and the disappearance of a craft village is happening in the face of the helplessness of the class of people who “lived and died” with the profession of making rice paper.
Your last chance to visit a historical & cultural spot of Cu Chi
Overall, Cu Chi Rice Paper Village provides an opportunity to connect with the traditions, cuisine, and people of Vietnam while enjoying the beauty of its countryside. It’s a unique and enriching experience that can add depth to your travel adventure to Cu Chi Tunnels. However, you may not have a chance to visit it in the future, as the traditions of the crafting village are disappearing.
As most of the villagers don’t speak English, it will be hard for you to visit the Rice Paper Village in Cu Chi yourself. In case you would like to make it a part of your unforgettable Cu Chi trip, you can book a Private Cu Chi Tunnel Tour With Rice Paper Village with AN Tours Vietnam.