VIDEO: The Mekong Delta is Life
In this episode of Exploring Vietnam, I investigate the Mekong Delta and its oh-so-fertile lands. The Delta is responsible for 40% of Vietnam’s food. It’s a very important place that is often over-looked by tourists. From Can Tho, I visit the local market, take a bicycle ride around farm land, and tour the floating market of Cai Rang. Learn about the popular fish of the area, see the area’s fruit growing in orchards, rice paddy fields, and of course the craziness of the floating market. The Mekong Delta is my favorite place in Vietnam. If you make it to the country, don’t skip this miraculous area.
After flowing for over 4000 kilometers the mighty Mekong’s waters split off into many distributaries, giving life to the southern most part of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta. The river’s sediment makes the area’s soil very fertile. Therefore, it is Vietnam’s agricultural zone of choice, the food basket of Vietnam, with two-thirds of the land being used for agriculture. Rice is the most widely grown crop, with about 11 million tons produced per year.
It’s estimated that 80% of the country’s fruit is grown in the Mekong Delta.
It’s also Vietnam’s most important fishing region, producing approximately 60% of the nation’s supply.
Overall, it’s said that 46% of the total amount of food produced in Vietnam comes from the Mekong Delta.
Title: The Mekong Delta is Life
I’m in Can Tho, the city that many people would consider the capital of the Mekong Delta. From the rooftop patio of my hotel, I watch the market below. Even with an amazing view, and a pool to cool off in, I can’t ignore the urge to get into the action, into the life of the Mekong Delta.
Ryan: So this is Tan An Market.
Market Lady: Tai Tuong
Ryan: Ah, ok, so it’s Elephant Ear fish. You fry it up and it goes crispy -- the scales come out.
Ryan: What do we have here? Ca loc?
Market Lady: Ca loc.
Ryan: It’s snakehead fish. An ugly little thing. Big huge teeth in them.
Ryan: Is it ran (snake)?
Market Lady: Luon
Ryan: Oh, it’s an eel, not a snake.
Ryan: Alright we found some jack fruit trees. These trees here grow jack fruit. They’re bagged up though. I think they bag them up to keep the insects from eating them. But here’s some small ones. They’ve got some banana trees here. Cool, let’s keep going and see what else we can find.
Ryan: So we found a rice paddy field. As you can see, it’s all flooded. So, they flood the field, the rice grows and they can control the water. I think the main reason for flooding it is to keep the weeds from growing. The weeds won’t grow in the water, and they raise the water up to… uh, I think a third is sticking out from the water. Then they’ll drain the water out, put pesticides on it and put the water back in. It’s pretty cool how they do it.
Ryan: We have no idea where we are. We took a wrong turn somewhere. And now, a crucial decision. Let’s see, Google Maps. Oh, nice. That’s exactly where we want to be. Back on track, baby!
Ryan: So it’s 5:30 in the morning and you can see it’s pretty busy. Who would possibly be up this early? Well, I’ll tell you who: people who work in the market. And it’s bustling, and we’re up because we are going to see the floating market.
Ryan: I wouldn’t mind a coffee. Do you think I can get a coffee?
Coffee Lady: Coffee?
Ryan: Ca phe da! Mot.
Coffee Lady: Cam on!
Ryan: Cam on!
Coffee Lady: Buh-bye.
Ryan: We’re down one of the canals. It’s beautiful. I don’t know where all the tourist boats went, but I’m glad they’re not down here.
Ryan: Well, our boat driver just dropped us off. She pointed to go this way. She doesn’t speak English. Uh, so that’s what we’re going to do. Hey puppy! I don’t know where we’re going, but I’m happy enough strolling along this street.
Ryan: What do you think that’s for? I think that’s a bathroom.
Ryan: I’m lucky I have perfect balance.
Ryan: I think it’s a civet.
Mom: Is this rice?
Ryan: I think it’s like rice husks… I think.
Ryan: Good job.
Ryan: I’m surprised more people don’t get their heads sliced open with those motors.