Not only being famous with beautiful lotuses, Dong Thap Muoi is also known as the place of gorgeous lily flowers, not the popular purple lily but the pure white lily.
Lily is a plant that grows in marshy areas. It has a soft stem but an amazing vitality. Normally it stands quietly in the ground, but when the flood comes, the higher the water level, the higher the stem. During 4 months of the flood season, lily blooms, fruits and disperses its seeds downstream.
Therefore, if you take a Vietnam tour to visit Dong Thap on this occasion, you will be surprised by the pure and pristine white lily fields blooming above the immense water. It is often referred to the simple beauty of the local women.
The white lily in Dong Thap Muoi has yellow stamen, big petals and big stalks, with the length of up to 4m. Though the flowers grow naturally without anyone caring or planting, when it comes to rainy season, they grow densely; from faraway it looks like a million of white stork preying in silence.
There is also a special species of lily in Dong Thap, which is often grown on alkaline wetlands and dried & clean channels. This species has small and long red purple stems, just like a thread. Its leaves are as large as a hand, green on the topside and purple on the underside.
The best time to admire the most beautiful lilies is the early morning, when the sun shines through the fragile petals. This flower often turns toward the sun. Taking a boat trip downstream, going along the channels full of lilies and enjoying the natural scent, you will absolutely find peace. At that moment, you will forget the burning sun of the middle of Vietnam for a while, only to feel the soul of the land, and maybe, fall in love with it.
Water lily is not only a flower, but also a fresh vegetable of the local. When the water level is high, people row their boat to collect lilies. They only take the stems with flower rather than with leaves, because that will be much tastier. Each pack of lilies has about 10 to 20 stems, rolled and sold in the floating market.
The most famous dish made from lilies’ stems is braised bacon and anabas with eggplants and lilies. This has been a specialty of Dong Thap Muoi for ages, and once you try, you cannot forget its delicious flavor. Additionally, lilies sour soup is also among the popular rustic cuisine. The main ingredients are lilies’ stems, sesbania sesban , anabas, and tamarind sauces. The perfect mixture of many flavors will certainly satisfy any food lover. In order to please gourmets, lily is also made into various dishes such as salad, lilies mixed with shrimp, meat and served with crackers.
If you are already on a Mekong tour to discover the colorful life of the middle of Vietnam, why not heading to Dong Thap Muoi?