The Vietnamese people are very superstitious. They believe in tradition and remain very respectful of their ancestors. It is something you are certain to experience a few times during a Vietnam tour as you travel around the country. One of the real pleasures of a Vietnam tour package is to meet the people, especially those who still live in the rural areas, in farming or fishing villages. You are certain to be offered refreshments with the kitchen an important room in every home.
When it comes to the kitchen, Vietnamese people even have a legend about that.
Locals believe that Tao Quan, the three Kitchen Gods live in every kitchen. They watch every activity in the kitchen and report back at the end of each lunar year to Ngoc Hoang, the Jade Emperor and the most important person in the Taoist religion. On the day that Tao Quan are due to report back, the family offers the best of spices, food, clothing and money so that the reports are certain to be good.
Legend has it that in time gone by, the Sky and the Earth met up in the Valley of Whispers where a woodcutter and his wife lived in the forest. They were poor and the husband was often drunk from worry and his wife had to suffer significant abuse. She ultimately fled, wandering hungry in the woods. In the end, she came upon the cabin of a hunter. She stayed and, in the end, they got married and lived quite happily.
One New Year, a beggar came to the cabin, looking weak and dishevelled. Her husband was out in the forest hunting for the evening meal. She immediately felt sorry for the beggar and fed him. Suddenly, she recognised him as her former husband and as she heard her husband returning she hid him under the hay. That was a mistake that was ultimately to lead to the death of all three.
The day’s kill was prepared by the hunter and then roasted in the hay. The beggar remained silent as he did not want to get his former wife into trouble. He burned while the woman, filled with guilt, did not know what to do so she then jumped into the flames. The hunter, preferring to die with her rather than live without her, did likewise.
All three perished and as the story was revealed, people had the utmost respect for all three who died with the most noble of motives. Tao Quan represents the three; the Kitchen Gods who are ever-present in kitchens in Vietnam today.
The Three Kitchen Gods is just one of the stories you are likely to hear as you enjoy your Vietnam tour; Vietnamese cuisine is so good that you are likely to have many memories of the kitchen. You can actually get cookery lessons in different parts of the country and a good Vietnam travel agent will include something in your Vietnam travel package itinerary if you request it.