Mekong dried-fish villages prepare for Tet hinh anh 1Dried-fish processing villages in the Mekong Delta are always busy during the Tet holiday season. (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - Dried-fish processing villages in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta are busy making fried fish to meet demand for the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday which falls on February 16 this year.  

Nguyen Van Chan, whose family has made dried fish for 20 years in Ca Mau province’s Phu Tan district, said the production is now at its peak.

“My family has produced double what we made last year for the same period,” he said.

His family sells dried fish for 50,000 – 100,000 VND (2.2 – 4.4 USD) a kilo depending on fish species and size.

“Thanks to this traditional occupation, many families in the village have a stable and good income,” he said.

Dried fish processing establishments in the village each are supplying an average of 2-3 tonnes of dried fish to the market a day.

Cai Doi Vam dried fish village, one of the largest of its kind in Ca Mau province, produces various kinds of dried fish, including dried anchovy, dried lizardfish, dried silver croaker and dried creamfish.

Dried creamfish is considered a specialty of Cai Doi Vam town. The town’s dried creamfish was granted a collective brand by the National Office of Intellectual Property last year.

The periods before and after Tet are also the main season for catching creamfish.

The town has more than 100 companies and households that produce and sell dried creamfish.    

According to Tran Huu Nghi, Deputy Chairman of the Cai Doi Vam Town Farmers Association, the village is famous for its dried fish, especially dried creamfish, which are sold to HCM City and nearby provinces.

In Dong Thap province’s Tam Nong district, 15 dried fish processing establishments in Phu Tho commune each have produced about 250 kg of dried snakehead fish and snakeskin gourami, up two times against the same period last year.

Dried fish processing establishments in Phu Tho commune have from 10 to 15 labourers.

Ho Thi Kim Hang, owner of the Kim Hang fried snakehead fish establishment in Phu Tho, said the stages of making dried fish include cleaning, removing bones, marination and drying.

Marination is an important stage that creates the special flavour of dried fish, she said.

The price of dried snakehead fish is about 120,000 – 150,000 VND (5.2 – 6.6 USD) a kilo and is expected to rise near Tet, according to local dried fish producers.

In Can Tho city’s Binh Thuy district, the fried fish processing village along National Highway No. 91B began increasing production three months before Tet.

Tran Kim Le, a dried fish seller on National Highway No. 91B, said a few years ago there were only a few households in the village making dried fish.

The number has increased to more than 50 households.

Le sells an average of 100 kilo of dried snakehead fish and 40 kilo of snakeskin gourami a week. About four kilos of fresh snakehead fish are needed to make one kilo of dried snakehead fish, she said.

Dried fish processing villages in the delta also produce salty or less salty dried fish as well as various fried fish products.-VNA