| Steamed rice with lotus leaf
After two previous editions in 2018 (themed "The Legend of a Flower") and 2022 (themed "Lotus - Essence of Heaven and Earth"), the Hue Lotus Festival 2023 with the theme "Lotus Beautifies Hue" will be held at Tinh Tam Lake for three days, from June 23rd to June 25th. This is an occasion to honor the noble beauty and symbolic nature of lotus flowers in the Buddhist culture of Hue in particular and Vietnam in general, as well as to allow visitors to experience the inherent values and spirit of lotus flowers in the cultural life of the royal court and the people of Hue.
Hue Lotus Festival 2023 includes remarkable programs and activities such as the opening ceremony and cultural performances at Bong Lai Island stage, booths showcasing lotus-related products and demonstrations of two lotus-inspired culinary dishes, boat rides for photography at the lotus lake, lotus tea brewing and tasting sessions, a talk show on "Lotus Cuisine of Hue," tutorials on lotus silk weaving, making Hue lotus lanterns and conical hats, as well as activities for sharing and experiencing the process of preparing 133 lotus rice dishes dedicated to the kings and learning how to make Hue lotus rice.
Lotus serves as an endless inspiration for both home and professional chefs in Hue, leading to the creation of new dishes. The lotus plant, from its leaves, buds, roots, seeds to its stamen, has specific applications in cuisine and traditional medicine. The "Royal Lotus" is harvested from Tinh Tam Lake, which possesses a unique composition with a layer of sand at the bottom and a layer of soft mud on top, giving the lotus flowers grown here a gentle fragrance, pure white color, and tender yet buttery seeds. Famous dishes made from Hue lotus include lotus seed sweet soup, lotus seed preserves, lotus flower tea, lotus stamen tea, longan and lotus seed sweet soup, lotus leaf rice, etc. Among them, the most elegant and elaborate ones are lotus leaf rice and longan and lotus seed sweet soup, which were favored by ancient kings and aristocrats.
Lotus leaf rice is cooked with high-quality, round and beautiful grains of rice and the freshest lotus seeds. To decorate and enhance the flavor of the dish, additional ingredients such as fried tofu, vegetarian shrimp, vegetarian sausage, green beans, shitake mushrooms, carrots, etc., are added. For savory options, there are pork sausage, eggs, barbecued pork, Chinese sausage, shrimp meat, etc., each contributing its unique touch. The skilled Hue chefs stir-fry each ingredient separately before placing them on the rice, then wrap it all in a lotus leaf to allow the aroma of the leaf to permeate into every grain of rice. Lotus leaf rice is the pinnacle of the "art of eating with the eyes" in the cuisine of the Hue royal court.
Longan and lotus seed sweet soup is a dessert originated from the Hue royal court. It has a fragrant, sweet, and refreshing taste and is served in precious bowls like gold-covered bowls (for kings), silver-covered bowls, or antique bowls (for nobles) to showcase its elegance. The dessert is made from simple ingredients such as lotus seeds, longan fruit, rock sugar, and water, but thanks to the unique aroma and buttery taste of Tinh Tam Lake lotus seeds and the balanced sweetness and chewiness of Kim Long longan, the dessert has a distinctive and unforgettable flavor. This dish also demonstrates the skilful and meticulous craftsmanship of ancient palace chefs, as the lotus seeds are carefully placed inside the longan through a small opening.
Lotus is an indispensable part of royal cuisine with its vibrant colors, enticing aroma, and exquisite taste. It is not only nutritious but also carries a noble essence. By attending the "Hue Lotus Festival 2023," you will develop an even deeper appreciation for this versatile plant!