Can tho is one of the five main cities of Vietnam, located close to Hau river. In the past it was called “Tay Do” (Western capital) meaning that it was the core of the Southwest of Vietnam. Since the period of French colony Can Tho was the heart of Mekong Delta River nowadays it continues to be the center for economy of the Southwest. Aside from its importance location for transportation it gets its fame for being the city of water. Can Tho has a complex network of rivers, canal, and arroyos and it is also famous for the romantic Ninh Kieu Wharf, floating market Cai Rang – a typical tradition of the Southeast.
Can Tho covers the area of 1, 401, 6 square kilometer. Its population is about 1, 172, 000. Cantho City is located in the center of the Mekong Delta. It shares the same administrative border with 5 provinces: It is contiguous to 5 provinces: An Giang in the north, Dong Thap in the northeast, Hau Giang in the south, Kien Giang in the west, and Vinh Long in the east. In Can Tho Hau river is considered as a benefactor of this region, since annually it is deposited large amount of alluvia to the rice fields by floods.
Can Tho City is divided into nine districts: Ninh Kieu, Binh Thuy, Cai Rang, O Mon, Thot Not, Phong Dien, Co Do, Vinh Thanh, Thoi Lai
As the “green lungs of the Mekong Delta”, Can Tho’s climate is harmonized with few of storms. It is hot and humid all year like many other province in the South of Vietnam. Rainy season lasts from May to November, and dry season lasts from December to April. The annual average temperature is 27oC
Can Tho is 34km from Vinh Long, 62km from Long Xuyen, 63km from Soc Trang, 104km from My Tho, 116km from Rach Gia, 117km from Chau Doc, 169km from Ho Chi Minh City and 179km from Ca Mau. Road: Can Tho has National Highway No.1A, 91, 80 linking to An Giang, Kien Giang provinces. Waterway: Can Tho has Cai Cui international seaport. The city is the centre of waterway network of Mekong Delta. There are daily hydrofoils between Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho City.
Can Tho is over its 200 years as the main town, once known as Tay Do. All of its economic, culture activities go together with the rivers and canals whish like the “street”. The simple poetic beauty of Can Tho with the villages under the shades of coconut trees makes the city kike a gorgeous maid. It is wonderful to take a boat trip along the riverbanks on fine weather days.
“Cai Rang” Floating Market
Me Kong Delta is famous with many floating markets including “Cai Rang” market because it is one of the most biggest floating market. It is called floating market because every actions of exchanging goods is on water by boat. Therefore, it is strange to compare with other markets in all over the world. “Cai Rang” market is typical floating markets in Me Kong Delta so it attracts many tourists come. It is exciting to visit in this market because tourists can enjoy the different environment and find out an interesting way to buy some specialties of Mekong Delta.
“Cai Rang” floating market is located in Can Tho city and it is far from this city about six kilometers. It is one of the three biggest floating markets of Me Kong Delta. It is considered as the lives of Southeast people in the river from the early morning to 8-9 am with hundreds of boats and each boat has own characteristic .
In the early morning, traders gather to sell many kinds of agricultural products such as: fruits, vegetables, plants and so on. Goods here are usually concentrated in large numbers. Each item was classified for uniformity in quality, size. All of them are from Mekong Delta area which has plenty of tropical fruits and other farming products. Moreover, they also have many other floating stores where sell something like fast food, fuels to serve for demands of both sellers and buyers. It is called "shopping malls" in the river.
Due to the noise of boat engines or waves in the vastness of the river, the buyers cannot hear anything from the crying of sellers. On the boats, sellers usually hang a sample of what they have from the top of long pole so that customers can see from a distance everything they want to buy. Thus, it is one way for customers to find out what they want to buy without crying of the sellers.
In addition, the way of exchanging goods is quite funny. As usual, he sellers will throw some samples of their products to buyers on other boats when buyers want to buy something. Luckily, the buyers often do not miss the chance to catch products in their hands.
To sum up, “Cai Rang” floating market attracts many visitors because it makes them surprised much. It gives tourists the unique and exciting feeling when they come. Furthermore, visitors also have a chance to understand more about characteristics of this famous area. It is probably a beautiful picture about the lives of Me Kong Delta people.
Tay Do night market
Can Tho is the place that remain most of the typical culture activities of the Southeast, in which the culture of market is the most prominent. In the morning we can go to the floating markets like Cai Rang or Phong Dien, in the afternoon there is the Can Tho market and when the sun sets down and the city is full of lights do not forget to go to Tay Do night market. Tay Do night market is in Cai Khe Ward, Ninh Kieu District. It was built long long time ago and went over many times of reestablishments and now it is one of Can Tho tourist attractions.
Tay Do night market is the centre market which delivers all kinds of goods to five bordering provinces in the South. One of the reasons why it is so attractive to tourists is that it is a food market at night. The food is not expensive and you can find all kind of food here.
Aside from being the place supplying people with commodities, Tay Do night market also provides us many services for entertainment like: live music in an outdoor place, games of all kinds and other services for entertaining activities. Visiting Tay Do, surely you will not only have an unforgettable trip but also have more knowledge about the culture of Vietnamese people in the South.
"Cong" cake is one of the most well-known dishes in MeKong Delta and it brings specially tasted of Tay Do homeland. Cake made from rice flour, animal materials (such as shrimp, meat) and vegetation (such as rice, green beans, and raw vegetables). Therefore, it contains quite full of nutrients including protein, fat, refined pulp, minerals and vitamins. "Cong" cake should be eaten with raw vegetable and chili sauce to make it more perfect. Tasting this cake will bring a very strong flavor and unique characteristics for tourists.
"Cong" cake becomes famous in Mekong Delta because it is a typical cake of Southern people. In Mekong Delta, "cong" cake is a popular food because it is not only cheap but also delicious. However, making "cong" cake is rather simple. First of all, we prepare the ingredients which create a delicious "cong" cake, and then we will make it.
The main ingredients are baking powder, rice flour, green peas, pork mince and shrimp. First, rice flour is stepped for two nights and then milled. After milling rice flour, we will put it in harversack for water to run out. However, we should steep the flour in dilute bittern for one night or two nights before using it because it will make "cong" cake better. Secondly, we will mix rice flour with green peas, shrimp and pork mince to have a fully-made "cong" cake. Lastly, "cong" cake is fried on surface and inside is spongy in boiling oil. Deep fried the cake in hot oil until it turns into golden and then take the cake carefully to a plate. After completing this product, we should use "cong" cake with raw vegetables, chili sauce, sour liquid to combine with "cong" cake to taste it perfect.
"Cong" cake is one of specialties of the Mekong river Delta so it created a rich cultural tradition in the diversity of culture of Vietnam. One who ate "cong" cake would never forget its scent and fatty taste. This makes tourists be absorbed in eating without a tired feeling. Beside "cong" cake, tourists also have a chance to try "xeo" cake, sap coconut, rice pancake folded in haft and so on. All of them are Mekong Delta specialties.