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Mekong River—Fruit, Rice, Quiet

by Bob Kerstetter

The Mekong River divides into multiple branches as it enters Vietnam from Cambodia. We visited the most northern branch which flows by the community of My Tho south of Ho Chi Minh City. The vegetation is thick, varied and green with a capital G.

On motorbikes we followed narrow paths into some beautifully quiet retreats in the Delta. Some of the people who live here make their way by farming eggs, chicken, fruit and rice.

While rice is not currently growing in this part of the Mekong Delta, the region as a whole produces enough to feed millions, maybe billions. We toured a rice paper factory. Those of you who know the Kung Fu television series may remember rice paper from the opening credits—one test Kwai Chang Caine must pass is walking silently on rice paper, tearing nothing. Well, this is not that. And, actually, that was not that either—but we’re not going there today.

The rice paper factory produces an edible product. You really wouldn’t want to walk on it. Almost translucent and slightly sticky, versatile rice paper can serve as a soft wrap for a sandwich, fried bread for breakfast and even chips—the latter we may have invented—but, then, maybe not—much to the surprise of our hosts and to us. As cornfed Texans, rice tortillas and rice chips appeared obvious.

Rice Paper Drying

Rice Paper Drying in Factory near My Tho.

A Quiet Retreat with Green Coconuts

A Quiet Retreat with Green Coconuts Along the Mekong River

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