Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Dried-fish processing villages in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta are busy making fried fish to meet demand for the upcoming Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday which falls on February 16 this year.
Nguyễn Văn Chẵn, whose family has made dried fish for 20 years in Cà Mau Province’s Phú Tân 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 VNĐ50,000 – 100,000 (US$2.2 – 4.4) 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.
Cái Đôi Vàm dried fish village, one of the largest of its kind in Cà 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 Cái Đôi Vàm 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 Tết 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 Trần Hữu Nghị, deputy chairman of the Cái Đôi Vàm Town Farmers Association, the village is famous for its dried fish, especially dried creamfish, which are sold to HCM City and nearby provinces.
In Đồng Tháp Province’s Tam Nông District, 15 dried fish processing establishments in Phú Thọ 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 Phú Thọ Commune have from 10 to 15 labourers.
Hồ Thị Kim Hằng, owner of the Kim Hằng fried snakehead fish establishment in Phú Thọ, 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 VNĐ120,000 – 150,000 ($5.2 – 6.6) a kilo and is expected to rise near Tết, according to local dried fish producers.
In Cần Thơ City’s Bình Thủy District, the fried fish processing village along National Highway No. 91B began increasing production three months before Tết.
Trần Kim Lệ, 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.
Lệ 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. — VNS