From bean to bar
Published/Last edited or updated: 21st October, 2017
The Mekong Delta is famous for its agriculture and one of the surprising crops is cacao. At Lam The Cuong’s family farm, visitors can learn how fruit from a cacao tree becomes a bar of rich, dark chocolate.
Farmer Lam The Cuong’s family immigrated from Fukkien 200 years ago. In the 1960s, his father brought back cacao seeds from Malaysia and with the help of a book written in French, learned how to cultivate cacao. The tradition continues on the one hectare organic farm, with 2,000 trees producing four tons of cacao a year.
His farm is a possible stop on morning boat tours, or visitors can drop in by themselves by motorbike. Lam The Cuong, who speaks English and some French, will lead visitors on a tour of his modest farm and explain the process.
Within the fruit are beans that, when ripe, are fermented, dried and roasted. The end result is not only chocolate. There’s cacao butter for beauty products, shells that can be used for teas and cacao nibs, now all the rage as a super food. Tours are 30,000 dong per person and the farm also has a basic homestay: 300,000 dong per person for fan room, price including pick up, dinner and breakfast.
The cacao farm/Mien Tay Homestay Muoi Cuong is off DT923, the road that runs along the Can Tho river. Head out of Can Tho city on Ba Thang Hai St. The road will split, where it veers left for the large bridge across the Can Tho river; you’ll want to veer right to continue straight along the river. From this junction it is about 6 km to where you turn right down the narrow local road to find the farm gate 300 m on.
Address: Mien Tay Homestay Muoi Cuong, 11 km from Can Tho city, 275 My Ai Hamlet, My Khanh Commune, Phon Dien District
T: (0292) 3942 573;
Coordinates (for GPS): 105º42'32.78" E, 9º59'21.43" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: 30,000 dong
Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you’ll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.