Hoàng Cầm Stove was created during the the Hòa Bình campaign (1951 – 1952). The stove is named after the man who made it, a military chef – Mr. Hoàng Cầm. Since its birth until now, the stove has been widely used in the Vietnamese army and is mandatory used in all units. Currently, tourist can see this kitchen when visiting Củ Chi Tunnels.
Making of a great stove
Witnessed many mortalities and those who survived were weakened due to due to lack of nutrition. The main reasons were that the enemy warplanes raided his troops and unsafe eating conditions, partly from the cooking process. A smoke at the middle of jungle during the day time or firelight at night can be spotted by enemy recon aircraft. Then, it will be a target for booming.
There is also another problem when cooking at night time, when Vietnamese military chef heard an enemy’s airplane coming, they would stamp out the fire by water. The rice was often uncooked and stale, making it hard to consume. Furthermore, food cooked at night that had to be eaten during the day was cold leading unhealthy-food problem, especially for wounded soldiers.
After many times of diligent research, dug dozens of different kitchens, Mr. Cầm came up with the idea of making a kitchen that could cook, not only during the day time but also night, without fear of detection by enemy planes. He dug stoves carved deep into the ground and created many vents leading to smoke to go other ways like a mouse den. Then he covered the vents by tree branches, leaves and dirt so no visible smoke could come out. In front of the stove, he also dug a large hole and cover the roof of plastic or leaves to store cooking items, cover the firelight. Underneath, he made a hole like a smoke cellar, giving more air for the fire to burn stronger.
Efficacy of Hoàng Cầm Stove
His creative stove of Mr Cầm was very suitable for military chef during wartime. They cooked all day, all night, did not afraid of enemy aircraft detection. Soldiers have hot rice and soup every day. Futhermore, military medical institutes have hot water to disinfect medical instruments…
At the end, Cầm’s initiative was of great value in practical operations, combat operations and makes an important contribution to maintaining the health of the troops. To witness and learn more about the Hoàng Cầm Stove, you can visit Củ Chi Tunnels tour with us.