In June every year, pink and white lotuses are blossoming everywhere in Vietnam, from lakes, ponds to temples. The most popular places with lotus flowers are West Lake in Hanoi, Tinh Tam Lake inside the Imperial Palace in Hue and the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.
The lotus is regarded by Vietnamese as one of the four graceful flowers and plants, along with the pine, bamboo and chrysanthemum for a reason. Seeing a lotus, people often feel as if their entire body and soul are purified by the subtle fragrance of lotus which wiggles its way into local people’s life.
To Vietnamese people, the lotus is more than just a flower. Lotus flower, despite being nurtured in mud, still grow out pure and glowing, like morning dew from early morning or water in springtime. It is also the symbol of purity, commitment and optimism for the future. The elegance of the lotus is often cited in the Vietnamese folk songs and poems.
In addition to its delicate beauty, lotus plants also play various roles in Vietnamese cuisine. Young lotus stems are used as a salad ingredient. The stamens can be dried and used to impart a fragrant scent to tea leaves. The lotus seeds can be eaten raw or boiled until soft and made into a paste, or boiled with dried longans and rock sugar to make a sweet soup. The bitter tasting germs of the lotus seeds are also made into a tisane. Dishes made from lotus seed are considered a cure for some common diseases such as insomnia. Besides, lotus tea is a must-try if you are visiting Vietnam.