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I thought I was cuckoo for coconuts.
But the folks I met in Ben Tre see coconuts as more than just a naturally sweet source of hydration.
For those in this province, located south of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, coconuts are commerce. The region is one of Vietnam’s top-producing coconut areas. According to Duc, a guide with Abercrombie & Kent, there is plenty that can be made with coconuts beyond water, oil, cream, candy and sticky rice.
The sawdust produced from coconuts can be used for incense, for example. Shells can be converted to charcoal. Houses can be built using its wood.
Visitors can have a taste of the coconut’s many functions during a visit to the region. Sailing on a private boat, I sipped coconut water straight from its source before visiting a small plot of land where two men were at work.
According to Duc, they were removing the husks of about 2,000 coconuts each, which they had begun at 1 a.m.
The weather was warm and sticky — like coconut water left after a spill — and I watched as a shirtless man placed a coconut at an angle and thrusted it downward on a spear fixed to the ground.
According to Duc, the husk will be used for doormats and a dizzying number of other products while the inner part of the coconut — what’s left — will sprout a baby coconut after some months.
The DetailsAbercrombie & Kentwww.abercrombiekent.com