Ha Giang is known as the most beautiful place in Northern Vietnam. This province with its forested limestone and granite mountains, caves and gorgeous rivers, and tiny settlements, borders China. This province is as picturesque as can be. There are so many things to see in this stunningly scenic province – not only is it mountainous literally everywhere but some noted places are Ma Pi Leng Pass, Dong Van Plateau, and Hoang Su Phi. Quan Ba Pass, known for its panoramic views over terraced rice fields below, is located only 50 kilometers from the capital city of Ha Giang, also named Ha Giang. But this blog is not about the province itself – buckwheat flowers (Tam Giac Mach in Vietnamese).
What Are Buckwheat Flowers?
They say that buckwheat blossoms, or “chez” as known by the H’mong (a local hill tribe of the North), are the specialty of the northernmost land, because every year, just when the first monsoon starts blowing, these tiny white flowers simultaneously flourish, flooding the whole rocky plateau. Carrying a legend that not everyone knows, buckwheat flowers adorn what we in Vietnam call “cat ear-shaped” stones with warm incarnadine, inviting the nomads to discover such captivating beauty.
There are two types of buckwheat flowers. In areas of Cao Bang, you can find the white buds. Meanwhile, in Ha Giang, people often plant the purple buckwheat flower. Simple but loveable, modest but charming, buckwheat is harmonious with the green color of the forest and the grey color of the mountains which together creates an endless source of inspiration for art enthusiasts. But the most profound and beautiful feature of the flower is its meaning – slender in shape but full of energy and beauty, always overcoming the fierce challenges of nature. As autumn reaches its end, the flowers become more splendid and attractive. With time, they will start to change color from white to purple-pink, and finally dark red.
Uses of Buckwheat Flower
Buckwheat is often considered a tasty and healthier alternative to wheat. When harvested, the crops can be ground into flour and many parts of the world do this, such as India, Japan, and Korea. Rice, porridge, noodles, bread, pancakes, cookies, cakes, can all be made from buckwheat flour. The young buckwheat flower stem can also be boiled and used as vegetables, or it can be cooked with wine and corn to brew a very unique type of wine. It also has medicinal benefits and is sometimes used in cattle feed.
The flowers of the buckwheat plant have a pleasant fragrance and taste quite malty and earthy. The flowers are used for manufacturing dark brown-colored honey that is quite strong in flavor.
Health Benefits of Buckwheat Flower
Buckwheat has many nutritional benefits and is a good source of high-quality protein that is easy to digest. The buckwheat starch acts as fat in processed foods, which is why it is used in baking. The benefits go on. It lowers blood pressure as it is a good source of rutin, it’s non-allergenic (stuffed into pillows to help cure dust, feather, and pollen allergies), helps manage diabetes, it’s good for digestion, it’s gluten-free, reduces cholesterol, lowers blood sugar levels, protects against breast cancer, benefits the skin and hair, among many other things.