Wood-roasted coffee popular in border county

By Gateway   |   Feb 28,2024   15:23:42

On the Nanxi River Bridge in south Yunnan’s Hekou county near the China-Vietnam border, crowds of tourists gather at the riverside coffee shops, bustling.

Seeing this scene, Ma Xiteng, the owner of Y.our Coffee, recalled the past when the elderly used to leisurely sip coffee from enamel cups and chat together.

"A century ago, the coffee-drinking habit, originating from France, was introduced to Hekou along the Yunnan-Vietnam Railway,” said Ma, adding coffee carries the history of exchanges between the Chinese and Vietnamese people.

Hekou county of Yunnan faces Laocai province of Vietnam, and they have always been at the forefront of Sino-Vietnamese economic and cultural exchanges.

In 1897, Hekou was opened for trade. And the Yunnan-Vietnam Railway was completed and opened for traffic in 1910, attracting merchants and inviting in coffee.

"Our ancestors planted coffee trees around their houses, and they roasted coffee over wood fires in iron pots. This became the traditional wood-roasted coffee in Hekou,” introduced Ma, “and the aroma of coffee roasting could be smelled throughout the entire neighborhood."

Nowadays, in the various specialty shops and coffee houses in Hekou, not only can Vietnamese coffee be found, but also Yunnan coffee. In 2023, Ma started his business in Hekou. A coffee culture store was opened next to the Nanxi River Bridge, attracting many Chinese and Vietnamese tourists.

The Hekou Port resumed full customs clearance on Jan. 8, 2023. Since then, a large number of Vietnamese tourist groups have entered China, heating up cross-border tourism. Faced with new opportunities for cultural and tourism development, Fan Qingling, a girl born in the 1990s, was invited to join the coffee shop and became the manager.

Fan was born in a Sino-Vietnamese family in the Laocai province and lived in China with her parents until she was five years old. "This time I came to China, and spent two months learning Chinese systematically and made adequate preparations."

As night falls, Vietnamese singers can be heard from restaurant at the border gate. And Yunnan-Vietnam Railway train passed by, blending the sound of its whistle with the singing and laughter. After work, Fan studied e-commerce live streaming in the store. "I will start broadcasting this year, selling Vietnamese and Chinese specialties to tourists in Hekou," added Fan.

Looking at the wish wall covered with sticky notes written in Chinese, Vietnamese, and English, Fan said, "My New Year's wish is the same as theirs, hoping for more exchanges between China and Vietnam, and closer ties between the people."

Source: China News Net; trans-editing by Wang Yunya

Wood-roasted coffee popular in border county