The Ha Nhi, an ethnic minority group in Bat Xat, in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai, has a traditional beer that has existed for hundreds of years, but few people have had a chance to enjoy it.
The Ha Nhi usually make this drink at home so you cannot buy it at the market. If you are invited to the home of a Ha Nhi, you will have a chance to taste the beer.
Ha Nhi beer is brewed from traditional yeast made from the powder of leaves of a secret wild tree, mixed with sticky rice, and brewed with straw.
Called beer, this drink does not look like normal beer.
The Ha Nhi make beer by choosing the best sticky rice, soaking it in water for one hour, and then cooking it. The steamed glutinous rice is spread out on a flat winnowing basket to let it cool, and mixed with yeast, a fermented mixture of powder made from the seeds of a secret wild tree in the forest.
The steamed glutinous rice is put into a ceramic jar, which is then sealed. After three days, the steamed glutinous rice will ferment and release juice, which is fragrant and sweet.
Then boiled water will be added to the jar. After 15 days, the beer is available. Every 10kg of sticky rice yields about 7 liters of beer. The longer it brews, the color turns from white to yellow and the taste improves.
Ly Xa Xuy from Mo Phu Chai village, Y Ty commune, said: "It is called beer, but this drink is a traditional liquor of our people. This beer has been around for hundreds of years. Even the oldest people here cannot remember when it appeared."