The price of betel nut rises sharply near the day of the Kitchen Gods

While the price of betel nut has doubled or even tripled, the prices of other goods have also started to creep up.


On the morning of February 1st (or the 22nd of December on the Lunar Calendar), one day before Tết ông Công ông Táo (Kitchen God Festival), most traditional markets in Hanoi were bustling with sellers and buyers. The increased demand caused many items to become more expensive than usual. Among them, betel leaves, an essential item in any traditional food tray during Tết, suddenly became expensive like fresh shrimp.

If on a normal full moon day or the first day of the lunar month, the price of betel leaves is around 5,000 – 7,000 VND/piece, then this morning, the price has increased to 10,000 – 15,000 VND/piece (including one areca nut and one betel leaf). Compared to regular days, the price has tripled.

Chị Nguyễn Thúy, a betel nut and betel leaf seller at Kim Liên market (Đống Đa district, Hanoi) said: “Customers can only get one betel leaf when buying one areca nut because betel leaves are currently very scarce. Some people even offered to buy betel leaves for 2,000 VND/leaf, but I dare not sell them because if I sell them, there won’t be enough for accompanying the areca nuts.”

A betel leaf costs 5,000 VND at Kim Liên market.

Just after she finished speaking, another customer approached Thúy’s stall and said: “Can I have one betel leaf for 5,000 VND?”. Although scarce, the price of 5,000 VND was very attractive, so Thúy agreed.

Furthermore, fresh flowers were also as expensive as fresh shrimp this morning. At some markets like Láng market and Vĩnh Hồ market (Đống Đa district, Hanoi), roses and chrysanthemums were sold for 7,000 – 10,000 VND/flower. Even small-sized flowers that didn’t look as beautiful as others were sold for 6,000 VND/flower instead of the previous price of 5,000 VND/flower.

The prices of fresh flowers also increase near Tết ông Công, ông Táo.

Other types of flowers also saw a slight increase in price. For example, red tulips at Kim Liên market were sold by small vendors for 50,000 – 60,000 VND/stem instead of the previous price of around 40,000 VND/stem. Yellow tulips were also sold for more than 40,000 VND/stem, increasing by 5,000 – 10,000 VND/stem.

Other items like ceremonial chickens were also priced firmly at 150,000 VND/kg, while just yesterday, consumers could buy them for around 120,000 – 130,000 VND/kg.

“Just after ông Công ông Táo day until Tết, the price of chickens will surely increase because they are an essential item. I have to adjust the price according to each day,” said a chicken seller at Vĩnh Tuy market (Hai Bà Trưng district, Hanoi).

The prices of red carp remain stable.

The characteristic item on ông Công ông Táo day, red carp, still maintains a relatively stable price, around 25,000 – 30,000 VND/piece (small size equivalent to two adult fingers) and 35,000 – 40,000 VND/piece (bigger size equivalent to three adult fingers).

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