Red glutinous rice wine or Ruou nep cam is a specialty drink of Muong people in Thanh Hoa. The wine has become the symbol of the province for its unique color, outstanding taste, and sweet smell. The name of the wine refers to the ingredient to make it. The wine is made from red glutinous rice which only can be grown by Muong people in Thanh Hoa and their secret yeast. The yeast also plays an important part in the process of making the wine. Muong people made the yeast from roots, leaves, branches of many rare plants in deep forests.
Every year, they typically harvest the rice from the fields in November, then begin to prepare the wine to use during meals and for festivals, especially the Tet – the biggest festival in Vietnam. After harvesting, the rice is stripped of its skin, steamed, and then mixed with natural yeast from leaves for three days. Then the mixture is put into jars with glutinous rice for incubating. The jars are sealed by banana leaves and afterward buried in the soil. While burying the wine, the winemaker often prays for God to bring the perfect taste to the wine. After 3 months and 10 days, the jars are taken out and the mixture inside it is filtered to get the wine. Ruou nep cam now has an attractively red–purple color of the rice, with the distinctively attractive smell. Muong people store the wine in terracotta pots or tools made of buffalo horn.
Red glutinous rice wine is suitable for any age because it helps people comfortable, stronger and relaxing. Muong people usually serve the wine to valuable guests, their close friends, relatives, etc. to show their hospitality. Red glutinous rice wine in Thanh Hoa is definitely unforgettable to anyone who has ever tried.
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