Corn Distilled Alcohol, a cultural essence of Ban Pho Villlage, Bac Ha

Bac Ha is one of the most popular destinations in the northwest region thanks to its charming mountainous landscapes and a vast diversity of cultural identities of different ethnic minority groups. This beautiful district is home of many small ethnic villages of H’mong, Zao, Tay, Nung, Phu La and Hoa people. Among them, Ban Pho Village is a major tourist attraction in Bac Ha with beautiful view of highland jungle and many unique specialties, especially corn distilled alcohol.


The peaceful beauty of Ban Pho Village

From the Bac Ha town, driving about 4 kilometers on winding ways along with Hoang Lien Son’s sides, passing through green valley, splendid corn and rice terraces as well as  lush Tam Hoa plum forests, you  can reach Ban Pho village, where H’mong people’s houses were built on high slopes and roofed with Pomu wood. When getting here, the first impression of visitors is poetic and harmonious picture of mountains, forests, small wooden houses and local people. Your visit in Ban Pho Village will not be complete without enjoying the special taste of corn distilled alcohol, a famous specialty of Ban Pho Village. Corn distilled alcohol is made totally from natural materials cultivated by the locals. Therefore, this kind of alcohol brings a special taste which symbolizes both peaceful but majestic nature and simple and rustic life of H’mong villagers.


The first step of process making corn alcohol 

The process of making alcohol requires considerable efforts and time. Corn, after about six months cultivated on high mountains, is harvested and dried under the sunshine and preserved to make wine gradually. To begin the process, corn is boiled for a long time until corn seeds open. And then the locals will take corn out, cool down and bring it to be fermented. In addition to corn – main raw material, the important factor to make difference between corn distilled alcohol of Ban Pho Village and other places is yeast. The yeast to make corn distilled alcohol is made from Hong Mi seed, a seed of wild grass shaped like Eleusine Indica grass with tiny black seeds. After three months of cultivation, Hong Mi seed is harvested, put into millstone to crush and then mix with water in a appreciate proportion to make yeast.


Process distilling corn alcohol usually lasts 6 hours

After silage warming corn, when corn grains appear white powder, the villagers put corn in barrels, tied around 5 to 7 days then distill them in a traditional process of H’mong villagers, handed down from many early generations. According to the locals, distillation process usually lasts 6 hours to make 20-24 litters of wine from 6 kg corn, the concentration is about 40 degree. The price of corn distilled alcohol sold at Ban Pho Village is around 50.000VND/litter.


This tasty alcohol is not available in every places but Ban Pho – the original village of corn alcohol

In a visit to Ban Pho Village, you should walk around the village to admire rustic and peaceful beauty of the village, catch ethnic children with colorful traditional costume playing together, or witness the villagers doing daily works. And then you should not miss chance to go inside a house to witness process making corn distilled alcohol, learn how to cook alcohol from themselves and taste a little wine just cooked. When you leave the village, don’t forget buy some litters of corn distilled alcohol as precious gifts to give your friends and relatives.


Corn distilled alcohol and “Thắng cố” is a perfect combination 

In Ban Pho Village, corn distilled alcohol is usually served with the delicious “Thắng cố”, a famous traditional dish in the northwest region. This tasty wine is not available in every places but Ban Pho – the original place of corn alcohol. In the cool weather of the northwest mountainous region, enjoying a hot bowl of “Thắng cố” and sipping some corn alcohol will be a great experience in Ban Pho Village, making your trip to the Vietnamese mountainous region become meaningful.

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