Ruou can – alcohol drink with long bamboo pipes

Ruou can is made up of rice, maize or millet, manioc. Each has its own flavor and taste. Anyway ruou can made from rice and millet is most favored.

The formula for fermentation differs in each region, each minority-group but to prepare alcohol is alike. That’s cooking-rice (maize, millet), then pounded and put to be heated. When uncovered, it smells tasty and steamy, and then it’s good. It will be put into vases (big and small) coated by rice-husk and covered with banana leaves, neatly closed and tightly knotted. After a week or two, it can be used. In winter, it takes longer time to be closed.

Ruou can differ in tastes: sweet, sweet-bitter, sweet-sour, sweet-hot… There’s some kind that visitors will get drunk even after only one cang (one horn made to be used as a glass). But there’s kind that visitors can drink to their full then they get drunk.

Ruou can is enjoyed in groups, the more the merrier and at the drinks; there is no distinction of age, race or social ranks. Before the drinks, the house owners or master of ceremony perform rituals then ask people around for drinks, according to events. Normally, the village-elderly or the guest of honour is respected to get first drinks. Then everybody is free to drink.

Ruou can is not strong and something sweetest, but nobody can drink to satisfaction, and nobody is allowed to own a tube as well as refuse to drink. Standard unit is one cang, and then the drinker has to pass it around. The vase is always filled to full by a waiter until the participants finish.

When everybody gets somewhat drunk, the sounds of gongs, drums… are very merry and people get ready for the traditional dance, both the dancers and drinkers seem to be busy with their fun.

Ruou can is not only a cultural activity of the north – west or central highlander. It’s a cultural identity of Vietnam ethnic minorities.

(Vietnam Tourism Review)

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