Co Tu ethnic minority: A story about manioc

Nga Do
A trip to the west of Hoi An and Danang, right up to and over the Vietnamese-Lao border last year had helped me discover the Co Tu ethnic minority, one of the unique groups of people in Vietnam.

To go there it was a real journey. I remembered the experience of a five-hour motorbike ride under the sun after being lost three times by 40 degrees. I arrived at the site with my face full of soil in those beautiful and typical villages of Co Tu ethnic people in a mountainous region not far from the Lao frontier that I suggest interested people pass by if they have enough time on their journeys. I was in immersion in the first minutes. Many women of the ethnic group still wear typical costumes and these unique outfits make them elegant. Another impression was their gentleness and kindness.

It was an unforgettable moment for bikers who pass by the location as they have a chance to admire the panoramic view of beautiful mountains, rice fields, typical wooden houses and a bite of freshness under the shadows of those giant trees. It was simply magical. Especially, the feeling of passing by those wonderful roads and some little wood bridges would remind us of scenes from an Indiana Jones movie. I entered a typical place with just few authentic Co Tu houses surrounded by beautiful green nature. The most interesting thing to me was watching local people harvesting manioc.

During the time following a local woman into the jungle, I found it interesting to watch her still uses old knifes and typical straw baskets to cut and take the manioc and its roots. This plant originally comes from South America but many other countries, principally in tropical regions, like Vietnam, use it.  Vietnam is a world leader in manioc production and it’s not for no reasons because they use it in many different ways and forms. The plant’s flour is helpful to remove wounds and injuries. People also use manioc roots to improve digestion and other diseases.

Called Tapioca, the flour extracted from the root is often used in the food industry. People from Co Tu ethnic group also use it to make typical alcohol. However, people should never eat and taste raw manioc as it is poisonous.

Not only the majestic landscapes, natural beauty poetic. Vietnam is also known for a diverse culture and unique, provide tours of cultural discovery brings new experiences and great for travelers.

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