Water lily is the most popular "specialty" vegetable in the southwestern region, growing wild everywhere, from rivers and canals to fields and low-water basins. There are places where people grow water lilies to exploit as vegetables, most of these flowers grow wild. In the floating season, the vast fields in An Giang, Dong Thap, Long An, many kinds of water lilies appear in all colours: purple, white and pink. The people in the garden are used to the fields full of blooming water lilies (which are harvested rice fields). In the midst of large purple flowers are white and pink small water lilies. In the dry season, the water lilies roots are hidden deep, "sleeping" in the ground, waiting for the water to be "resurrected".
Water lilies often bloom, show off brilliant colours in the morning, after noon they often close their petals. Some varieties of water lilies bloom at night. The type of small water lily often rises along the water, the stalk is sometimes up to several meters long. People in the southwestern region, mostly women, often wake up from dawn to row a canoe to the fields to pick up water lily and bring it to the market to sell or prepare dishes such as water lily salad, sour soup, hot pot with fish sauce, or thinly sliced to eat raw with some vegetables dipping fish sauce. The water lily’s stem is elongated, succulent, crunchy, and lumpy. Hot pot or sour soup in the garden cannot be without water lily. Stir-fried water lily with garlic is also very delicious.
In the flood season, coming to Dong Thap Muoi, along the provincial roads through Hong Ngu (Dong Thap) or Moc Hoa (Long An), it is easy to see people selling many rolls of fresh water lily that have just been picked up from the field. The price for a kilogram of water lily is about 10,000 VND.
In recent years, Moc Hoa has become a destination attracting photographers to compose, tourists to participate in colourful "water lily tours". Tourists sit in motorboats, rowing boats by the local women with conical hats, “khan ran” (black-white checked bandana), and Ba ba (a traditional southern Vietnamese garment) to visit the vast water lily fields or the patches of water lily growing in the melaleuca forests, blooming in the green canals.
The interesting thing is that visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the flower fields in the floating season and can work with the local woman to pick up or pull the water lilies into the boat, or jump into the water with them to sort and wash the bunches of just-picked water lilies.
The water lily blooms beautifully for only a few days and then fades, the buds bloom in turn throughout the season until the water gradually dries up, the waterlily roots "sleep" again, only waking up for the next year’s floating season, giving up the land to farmers ploughing, sowing and planting new crops.
There is nothing more interesting than after the tour, taking pictures in the poetic water lily fields, visitors can enjoy delicious dishes in the floating season. The most delicious is still: water lily salad mixed with shrimp and chicken; dien dien flower with copper shrimp, sour soup with linh fish and water lily; vegetables cooked with tamarind; and linh fish sauce hotpot with dozens of vegetables, and water lily.
The rustic dishes of the southwestern region, especially in the floating season, have a very unique taste that is difficult to find elsewhere.
The scenery of the water lily field at sunset, with the sound of oars waving the water, the last sunlight of the day spreading on the vast water fields brings the peaceful and peaceful beauty of the southern land, becoming an unforgettable memory for guests from far away.