Tay Ho lotus tea is listed among 1,793 intangible cultural heritages in Ha Noi according to the city’s cultural authority.
Lotus tea, or tea scented with aroma from lotus flowers, is a traditional trade in Quang Ba Village, Quang An Ward, and Tay Ho District, which is the home of the famous West Lake lotus.
“It is lucky for people in the village that producing lotus tea is recognized as an intangible cultural heritage of Ha Noi City,” said Pham Van Tien, 38-year-old owner of Bao Nam Tay Ho Lotus Tea brand.
“I think that producing lotus tea has never faded out because it is handed down from generation to generation”.
This year’s unfavourable weather has resulted in a bad crop of Tay Ho lotus. Usually there are blooming lotuses for three or four months but this year lotuses bloom in just one month.
Tay Ho lotus flower is famous for its fragrance and pink colour of a hundred petals, which are quite different from other lotus strains.
In Quang Ba Village, there are about 25 households specialised in producing lotus tea with an output of about one tonne of lotus tea per crop.
In addition to Quang An, there are also some other wards planting lotus but the output is very limited.
To produce lotus tea, the local people have to harvest lotus blossoms from 5am before sunrise so that their fragrance can be best maintained.
After picking, lotus anther, or the bag of fragrance, is separated immediately. All these actions must be carried out quickly to keep the fragrance of the lotus for mixing with green tea. One hundred lotuses will produce one gram of lotus anther.
Under a project on investigating and protecting intangible cultural heritages in the city, besides Tay Ho lotus tea, many other forms including folk literature, folk performance arts, socio-belief customs, traditional festivals and handicrafts are recognized as intangible cultural heritages of Hanoi.
The project was carried out in 29 districts from 2013 to 2015 by the city’s culture department in co-ordination with the Centre for Cultural Heritage Research and Promotion under the Cultural Heritage Association of Vietnam.
According to statistics, each one of three outskirts of Dong Anh, Ba Vi and Thuong Tin have the most heritages with 120 taking different forms.
The most widely recognized are traditional festivals with 1,200; socio-belief customs with 213 and traditional handicraft with 175.
The culture department has proposed 276 heritages to give priority in protection and six heritages to develop profiles for recognition as national intangible cultural heritage such as embroidering in Thuong Tin; Ai Lao dancing and singing in Long Bien District; and the Chem Temple Festival in Northern Tu Liem District.
The project on investigating and protecting intangible cultural heritages in the city was carried out by authorities, experts and local residents in particular.
“Heritages belong to the community, and we highly appreciate the role of the community in directly investigating heritages,” said Pham Thi Lan Anh, head of Heritage Management Desk of Ha Noi Department of Culture and Sports.
The department and Centre for Cultural Heritage Research and Promotion propose Ha Noi to set up a plan for preservation and development of the city’s intangible cultural heritages in the 2016-25 period.