Farmers and food producers in the Mekong Delta are busy preparing speciality dried fish to meet high demand for Tết holiday, which begins on February 16.
The famous dried snakehead-fish processing establishments in Chợ Mới and Thoại Sơn districts in An Giang Province are increasing output for Tết. According to government agencies, although the market demand has surged, traditional dried snakehead fish processing establishments have supplied only five tonnes to wholesale traders in Long Xuyên city in the province.
From the wholesale market, the dried fish are delivered to many other localities, including HCM City. Sáu Loan dried snakehead fish facility in Núi Sập town in Thoại Sơn District said they had not sold fish directly to HCM City but to wholesale traders in Long Xuyên at prices ranging from VNĐ150,000-200,000 a kilo.
The dried fish need to be dried outside for three to four sunny days to ensure that they will be delicious and not mold easily. Thanks to processing in the traditional way, the dried fish have a natural aroma and are preferred by many consumers.
According to Kim Huệ dried fish processor in Chợ Mới town, to have delicious dried snakehead fish, processors must be careful in many stages, from raw material selection, cleansing the fish’s intestines and removing bones to marination and drying. Many fish-making villages had started to make Tết products more than half a month ago.
However, most of the large-scale processing facilities are concerned about the high cost of raw materials and other costs, while the price of dried fish has dropped by VNĐ50,000 kg to VNĐ60,000-130,000 a kilo compared to last year. “There are three largest processors and nearly 10 small ones supplying dried fish for Tết for wholesales traders in Châu Đốc, An Giang and HCM City, with hundreds of tonnes of dried fish of various sizes.