Busy Night at the Carp Market for Ong Tao Worship in Ho Chi Minh City

On the 23rd of December, the red carp trading stalls at Binh Dien wholesale market (Ho Chi Minh City) were bustling with activity as they packed goods for delivery to local merchants in provinces and urban areas.


As observed by Người Lao Động reporter on the evening of December 22nd, at the fish market (house F) of Binh Dien wholesale market (district 8, Ho Chi Minh City), a corner of the market was brightly red with large crates containing thousands of red carp fish.

The scene of fish sellers assigning dozens of employees to catch fish, pack them, and pump oxygen to keep the fish alive created a bustling atmosphere.

According to Huynh Yen, a vendor, the orders from tonight until 2 am the next morning will be delivered to wholesalers in Gia Lai and Dak Lak. The price of carp fish this year is equivalent to previous years, ranging from 70,000 – 80,000 VND / kg. The quantity of carp fish imported to the stalls is only about 40% compared to last year due to reduced imports by wholesalers and low demand from consumers.

“My stall has various types of carp fish for customers to choose from, with sizes ranging from 4 to 40 fish per kg. The small-sized ones are priced at 60,000 – 65,000 VND / kg, while the large-sized ones are 65,000 – 70,000 VND / kg. Tomorrow is the official day to worship the Kitchen God, so tonight I imported about 4-5 tons of carp fish. My employees couldn’t take a break because they had to sort, count, and pack the fish for delivery to customers early tomorrow morning,” said Huynh Yen.

Hundreds of tons of carp fish imported on the night of December 22nd

Hurriedly catching carp fish and putting them in bags, Mr. Thanh Nam, a stall manager nearby, said he imported over 600 kg of carp fish to serve customers tonight. As tonight is the peak day of the Kitchen God festival, he mobilized his family to help deliver on time.

“I have to quickly put the caught fish in bags and pump in oxygen so that they can breathe. Otherwise, the fish will be weak or die. That’s why I called my family to support. Tonight, I will ship them to Ninh Thuan and Gia Lai. I sell carp fish for about 80,000 – 90,000 VND per kg, usually with 20 to 30 fish per kg. Customers prefer the smaller ones this year. I sell to both wholesalers and retail customers, but the majority are wholesalers,” said Mr. Nam.

Busy employees packing bags of carp fish for provincial customers

While strolling to see the carp fish, Mr. Ngo Hai, a small trader at Ba Chieu Market, said that as a retail seller, he always takes advantage of coming to Binh Dien Market late at night to see the fish and reserve some to sell the next morning.

“I sell seafood, but on Kitchen God’s day, I go to the market to see which carp fish are beautiful and healthy, and then buy them to sell and earn extra income. However, business is slow this year. I probably imported about 40-50kg of carp fish only,” Mr. Hai shared.

According to the fish stall owners at the market, carp fish is mainly imported from Dong Thap, Vinh Long, Dong Nai, and An Giang provinces. Tonight, they primarily deliver fish to small traders in distant provinces, while local traders in Ho Chi Minh City usually come to collect their orders at around 3-4 am.

Employees sorting carp fish
Small and large-sized carp fish waiting to be packed and delivered to customers in provinces and within Ho Chi Minh City
Other stalls also have several hundred kg of carp fish to sell
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