Ruou Can (alcohol brewed from yeast of forest leaves, tubers, and fruits in jugs and drunk with cane tubes) is an indispensable part of the culinary art of the people in the west of Thanh Hoa. However, the most distinctive and famous ruou can culture belongs to the Thai ethnic group in Ba Thuoc district.

Drinking ruou can - a cultural beauty of Thai ethnic people in Thanh Hoa province

Ha Thi Nhan's family, a famous alcohol maker in Dien Lu commune, Ba Thuoc district, has kept the secret of making ruou can from leaf yeast for many generations. In her family's small kitchen, there are enough tools and ingredients to make delicious alcohol to serve her family and tourists in Pu Luong. Nhan said that she had to go to the forest to find all kinds of leaves to make ruou can. Yeast leaves are mostly herbs with essential oils, aromas and flavors. “Alcohol yeast needs to be made from nearly 10 types of forest herbs with spicy, variable, sweet, bitter flavors mixed together. This is also the secret to make the distinctive flavor of ruou can,”  said Ha Thi Nhan.

Ruou can is a precious drink which is made sophisticatedly. It can be used after being incubated in the jar for 25 to 30 days but the alcohol becomes stronger and sweeter if kept longer. In addition to dried cassava, it can be made with cereals such as rice, corn, seeds, and galangal tubers. People in different places have various customs of drinking ruou can. The Thai ethnic people drink ruou can in a group of 6 to 10 people. A host presides over the wine party, invites, serves the guests and adds more water into the jars until the alcohol is weaker. The guests gather around the jar, drinking alcohol via tubes, enjoying the sweet taste of cereals mixed with the scent of the forest.

Ruou can of the Thai people in Ba Thuoc district have distinctive strong taste and gentle flavor with rich scent of forest leaves. Today, the number of local people making ruou can yeast from forest leaves has decreased sharply, but young generations still want to preserve and develop the traditional ruou can.

When spring and lunar New Year come, every household in Ba Thuoc district distills batches of ruou can. Local people here warmly welcome visitors to the village, drinking ruou can while immersing in the bustling atmosphere of dances imbued with highland identity. Ruou can is the center of the fun as everyone can gather, feeling the quintessence of heaven and earth within each drop of alcohol.

Translated by Tra My - Thu Nga - Nhu Y - Thu Ngan