return icon Vietnamnet.vn

Carp sales drying up as Kitchen Gods ritual goes green

Nguyen Thi Thuy Phuong, who sells carp, should be doing a roaring trade this time of year. Her store, however, is suffering a drought of customers.

{keywords}
Instead of real carp, a facebooker offers carp-shape sticky rice for the ritual of Ong Cong, ong Tao. — Photo captured from the seller's Facebook

 

Nguyen Thi Thuy Phuong, who sells carp, should be doing a roaring trade this time of year. Her store, however, is suffering a drought of customers.

The eve of the 23rd day of the last month of the lunar year (January 17) is traditionally when Vietnamese people buy carp for a send-off ceremony for ‘Ong Cong Ong Tao’, or the Kitchen Gods. But Phuong has not seen many customers.

As one of the biggest fish shops in Yen Phu Village – a popular destination for aquarium fish in Ha Noi – Phuong and about ten others start selling the carp a week before the Kitchen Gods ritual.

She tells Viet Nam News: “I used to sell about 200kg of carp a day. A few years ago, I was selling more than a tonne of carp, earning tens of millions of dong. These days, I have only sold a few dozen kilos.”

The Vietnamese believe there are three Kitchen Gods, and carp serve as their means of transport to heaven so they can report to the Jade Emperor. According to the tradition, after prayers to the Kitchen Gods have been made, people release carp into ponds, lakes and rivers. Before the ritual, each family buys the healthiest carp from shops like Phuong’s.

Traders at Yen So fish wholesale market in the south of the city were also experiencing a drop in trade, with prices also plummeting.

A trader told Viet Nam News: “A kilo of carp now goes for VND50,000 -VND60,000. Last year, a kilo would sometimes fetch VND150,000.”

Explaining the decline, he says: “This year, I imported half as many fish compared to last year, but I think it was still too much.”

Some of the traders have lowered their prices to attract customers. One trader says: “This kind of fish is not for eating, so if we don’t sell them, we have no other choice than to release them and suffer the loss.”

Phuong said: “The economy is not so good, so people want to save their money and many of them stop buying.”

While another trader in Yen So thinks: "Perhaps because the press condemned the release of carp in plastic bags into lakes and rivers, many people have stopped using real carp and instead use fish made out of paper or food for the ritual."

Nguyen Ngoc Lan on Doi Can Street moulds red sticky rice into the shape of a carp for the ritual. She says: “It is more economical and environmentally friendly with carp made from sticky rice. I used to pay about VND30,000-VND50,000 for three fish, and spend time releasing them into the lake.

“It is more convenient with the sticky rice carp. The Kitchen Gods can have the carp and sticky rice at the same time and I can save money and time.”

As an experienced trader with 35 years’ experience selling carp, Gia Huy, owner of a store in Ngo Thi Nham, thinks the drop in customers is due to technology, saying: “I used to import carp from Hai Phong and Quang Ninh, then export them to neighbouring provinces like Hung Yen, Bac Giang and Bac Ninh. Now many suppliers connect via Facebook and Zalo, and trade directly with each other.” — VNS

MORE NEWS

Sli singing - the soul of Nung ethnic minority people

Sli is a unique folk singing style of the Nung ethnic minority people in Vietnam’s northern region, which is performed as a call and response between young men and women.

Vietnam spends US$9 billion importing oil, petrol products in 2022

South Korea was the largest petroleum supplier of Vietnam, with 3.22 million tons, up 96% year on year.

Vietnam named among top food destinations by Gordon Ramsay

Vietnam's rich cuisine has made it a favorite culinary destination not only for Michelin-starred chef Gordon Ramsay but also for food lovers worldwide.

Hang Sao- a unique cave pagoda in Yen Bai

Hang Sao is one of the beautiful and sacred pagodas in Yen Bai, believed to be discovered in the reign of the sixth Hung King.

Vietnam has great opportunity to be a global production base

Vietnam is becoming a destination for global manufacturers, an opportunity that needs to be taken full advantage of.

Lai Chau ginseng: a hidden national treasure

Ethnic people in Lai Chau province have long used locally-grown ginseng to improve their health.

Late artist Nguyen Tu Nghiem’s works on display in rare exhibition

This rare opportunity for art lovers to see the artist’s works is being held to honour his career, which spanned over 70 years in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Authorities to boost implementation of OV-related tasks: official

Efforts will be accelerated in 2023 to implement tasks relevant to overseas Vietnamese (OV) affairs, said Deputy Foreign Minister and Chairman of the State Committee for OV Affairs Pham Quang Hieu.

Censorship council under pressure when approving films related to private life

Director of the Cinema Department Vi Kien Thanh said the censorship council bears increasing responsibility, especially when censoring films related to private lives.

Young VN talent awarded 2023 Clay Research Fellowships

Pham Tuan Huy, 27, has become only the second Vietnamese talent to receive an award from the Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) which gives out various prizes and sponsorships to promising mathematicians from around the world.

AFC praises Park Hang-seo’s “lasting legacy” in Vietnamese football

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has published an article titled “Park Hang-seo: A lasting legacy”, to honour the Korean coach after his magical five year journey with the Vietnamese men’s football team.

Discovering pig slaughtering festival in Vietnam

A traditional pig slaughtering festival got underway in Nem Thuong village of Bac Ninh city, northern Vietnam, on January 27 as part of activities to celebrate the new-year period.

Prague Airport wants to open direct air routes to Vietnam

Prague Airport in the Czech Republic is planning to launch new direct air routes to North America and Asia, including Chicago (US) and Vietnam.

Mural village woos more visitors to Quang Binh

The coastal village of Canh Duong in Quang Trach district, central Quang Binh province, is known for its breathtaking natural scenery. But now, the 400-year-old village attracts visitors with its beautiful and unique murals.

Intertwined opportunities, challenges for Vietnam’s economy in 2023

With certain headwinds predicted for the global economy in 2023, Vietnam too, faces considerable challenges. But opportunities are also significant if concerted and appropriate solutions are taken, an expert has said.
back_to_top