Hand-made incense is still produced by families on Nghi Tam Rd in Hanoi and in craft villages like Cao Thon on the banks of the Red River. Key aromatic ingredients in Vietnamese incense are sandalwood, eucalyptus, ginger and cinnamon. Each incense-making family has its own secret recipe, but one ingredient is universally used – sawdust, which binds the mixture together.
Incense must be dried under the sun from one to three days. This bonds the ingredients to the stick and seals the aroma. Making incense is a messy process – it’s dirty & dusty and workers are susceptible to lung complaints. The sticks that form the core of incense are made from bamboo that has been soaked in water for at least a month. Burning incense repels insects and helps to keep your home mold-free.