Ruou Can (Can Alcohol)


In the regions of North, North West, and Central Highlands of Viet Nam, the ethnic minorities have a custom of drinking Can alcohol at New Year’s festivities, new rice festivities, village festivities, etc.

A Village festivities

Can alcohol is prepared from flutinous rice and is a red-brown colour. It is easy to drink because of its scent, its sweet taste, and its alcohol content, which is only about 20°. As such, many people, young and old, girls and boys, sit around the can jar. They do not use cups, glasses, or bowls to drink the alcohol; rather they use bent stems made of small phyllostachys to drink directly from the jar. A bent stem is called a “Can”, which is why this alcohol bears the name Can alcohol.

Bent stems made of small phyllostachys to drink directly from the jar

In order to drink, the right hand takes the stem, while the left hand is placed on the knee and the eyes are fixed on the alcohol jar. The oldest person, or the most honoured guest, is invited to drink first. When the organiser of the drinking party brings the stem to the guest, all the people around the jar unanimously shout aloud (like shouting to one another when wandering in the forest), meaning unanimous consent by the guests to the invitation.

Source: TITC