Organic Rice Wine in Dalat

“Mot, Hai, Ba, Dzo!”. This is the ubiquitous phrase for “1,2,3, Cheers!” in Vietnamese. If you’re at a party, Vietnamese wedding, or just enjoying dinner at a local restaurant, you’ll without a doubt hear this famous phrase yelled out repeatedly. While traveling in Vietnam and meeting the locals, it’s often a sign of friendship when offered a small shot of rice wine. Be careful, because this stuff can be dangerously strong!

Most rice wine distilleries in Vietnam are in people’s homes, and you’ll notice that they almost always have a back area full of pigs, both large and small. This is because after the distilling process is complete, there is an abundance of used rice. This used rice isn’t served at a dinner table, but instead is fed to the pigs. If you see this firsthand, you’ll notice the pigs are extremely happy & lazy- they’ve gotten a little buzz! You’ll also notice that the pigs are extremely clean. Believe it or not, this ties into the rice wine distilling too. Owners, like Hoang, frequently clean the pig pens so that all of their feces are collected into one area. The feces then produces a large amount of gas which is collected into a bag and fuels the fire- which then cooks the rice wine. Pretty amazing, right?
So, you may be thinking- this super strong alcohol can’t taste very good can it? Well there’s different percentages of alchohol depending on the batch. If you’re looking for something sweeter, it’s common for the locals to infuse their rice wine with a variety of herbs such as lemongrass, ginger and honey, or even traditional Chinese medicinal herbs. It’s really delicious, and a must-try when travelling in Vietnam.

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