Dien Bien Phu was known to the world for its critical position in Vietnam’s history. In this present day and age, besides being a priceless evidence of country’s glorious victory, Dien Bien Phu is also notable for its high proportion of ethnic minorities, which contributes to create significant diversity in culture, what brings the town the concept of “true color”.
Dien Bien Phu now is a relatively quiet town, with a population of approximately 100,000. It acts as a regional hub for the province's trade and transportation. Furthermore, Dien Bien Phu has been emerging as a tourism destination attracting visitors not only by historical relicts, natural sites but also by distinctive cultural features.
DIEN BIEN'S APPEALING CULTURAL PATTERNS
Ban Flower Festival
When spring comes, the warmth has swept away the freezing breath of winter. Dien Bien ﬂazes illuminating colors of the flower forest. When the blooming season of Ban flower comes, Dien Bien ethnic minority flock to go on flower pilgrimage. According to Thai language, “Ban” means “delicious, beautiful”. Pilgrimage day is the occasion for young boys and girls meeting, dating, engaging in love activities in the resonance of pan-pipes, drum and gong. Colorful sparkling Ban Flower festival of Northwest always leaves in the heart of tourists coming to Dien Bien with memorable experiences.
Hoang Cong Chat Temple Festival in Ban Phu Citadel
Started in 1994, the Ban Phu Citadel - Hoang Cong Chat Temple Festival annually takes place from the 24th to 25th day of the second lunar month in Ban Phu Citadel, Noong Het commune. The festival is the largest in Dien Bien province featuring a wide range of cultural, artistic and sports activities, including a palanquin procession, incense oﬀering, art performances and a show of traditional costumes of local ethnic groups, including Thai, H’Mong, Kho Mu, Lu and Lao. Many folk games and a cooking contest are also held during the two-day event.
Ta Sin Thang Market
The fair is held once every six-day, it is a reason for people to ﬁnd Ta Sin Thang commune, Tua Chua District, Dien Bien province, to drink wine, to eat Tua Chua goat meat, and to taste a cup of years old ancient tea… Thang Ta Sin fair is covered by clouds in all seasons, formed from the French colonial period. Thang Ta Sin is not only fair trade exchanging of products but also a place to meet and make friends.
DIEN BIEN CUISINE
Com Lam is a traditional dish in the daily meals of mountainous residents, especially in the northwest region. This dish was original created by the Thai people; then it has been spread among the Mong, Tay, Nung, Dao, Xa ... The dish has to be meticulously prepared toward the principles of yin and yang as well as ﬁve elements of the earth. Throughout the culinary cultures of the ethnic Thai, “com lam” is the dish with unique features not only by the call but by the way of processing and unique flavor. Thais use all that is available in nature to do dishes of “com lam”, with the aim of removing metal compounds from using conventional cookware. Selective rice are carefully washed and poured into a bamboo tube with water, and then the tube will be covered by banana leaves. Tubes are held on flame or hot charcoal and slowly rolled until the aroma of cooked rice can be smelt. To eat “com lam”, the bamboo skin is removed by knife, revealing the ultimate product with featured yellowish color of bamboo tube inner. Over the next thousand years of exchanges and variable, “com lam” has now become the favorite dish of the people of the highlands, as well as the highlighted culture and cuisine of Dien Bien.
Banh day is an indispensable dish on Tet of Mong people living in Dien Bien. As like to “com lam”, banh day is also made with natural ingredients which are available among the living of mountainous people. Although the main material remains aromatic northern rice as any other “banh day” of other regions, “banh day” in Dien Bien marks its own distinction through strict process from choosing ingredients to cook processing which are totally handmade. Upland rice used to make banh day must be the utmost original which are glutinous, aromatic without doping. Banh day Dien Bien has roundly shape illustrates for the shape of the Earth with smooth white color, stands out between the green outers of banana leaves. Banh day is often enjoyed along with pork pie, or fried, grilled and eaten with wild honey. Tasting Mong’s banh day in the New Year’s days in mountainous region of the Northwest of Vietnam is always one of the best experiences travelers can have for their trip and homestay in this country.
What distinguishes Dien Bien’s sticky rice from others is that it is completely full and a little bit long while the normal sticky rice seems to be round and fat. The art of cooking sticky rice here is fastidious. Sticky rice must be soaked for several hours to become soft, stemmed in a special pot, slightly cooked for two times. The grains become less adhesive in comparison to the other kinds, however, it brings the best taste, sweetness and fragrant when eating without being stiﬀ. Apart from white sticky rice, to create vivid colors, local people also use tree leaves to create green, red, purple or yellow which makes the sticky rice become even more attractive. The sticky rice is shaped by using hands to mold, then diners leisurely enjoy the aromatic ﬂavor of the sticky rice.