The lotus is a beautiful sight in Vietnam. You see them everywhere – in art, architecture, fashion, and design. But for all the familiarity of the lotus, there are still many things that people don’t know about Vietnam’s national flower.
Lotus flowers can be many different colors, and each carries its own meaning. White represents purity, while blue with its wisdom and logic, represents enlightenment. Purple shows spirituality and green is the color of rebirth.
When night falls, the lotus flower closes and sinks, hiding its purity for the night. Then, as the sun rises on a new day, the lotus re-emerges to show its beauty once again – which is why it’s also known as the flower of the dawn.
Lotus can be found throughout Vietnam in the muddy water of lakes and ponds. It is an important ingredient in Vietnamese culture and every part is utilized in both cuisine and medicine. Young lotus stems are used in salads, stamens are dried and made into an herbal tea, and lotus seeds are eaten raw, dried, or boiled.
Lotus tea is part of many festivals and ceremonies in Vietnam. To make it, you enclose tea in the flower to infuse them with the scent. An alternative method is to bake the stamens – the part of the flower that makes pollen – with the tea leaves in an oven. This process is repeated several times to strengthen the flavor.
In addition, Hue people also use lotus flowers to cook lotus rice, which is one of the most famous dishes in Hue cuisine. The way to cook lotus rice is very demanding and only Hue people can cook the lotus rice properly. Northern people often use lotus leaves to pack unique green rice. The green rice wrapped in the aromatic lotus leaves makes a perfect delicacy to enjoy during the cool months of the autumn in the capital city of Hanoi. The wonderful blend of lotus leaves and green rice can stay in your mind forever!