HCMC tra­di­tional mar­kets get ready for Teát New Year

Viet Nam News - - LIFE&STYLE - Thu Anh

HCM CITY— Whole­sale and re­tail mar­kets in HCM City are busier than ever with the Lu­nar New Year ( Teát) hol­i­day only weeks away.

Dis­trict 1’s fa­mous Beán Thaønh, one of the city’s old­est mar­kets, is see­ing more than dou­ble the av­er­age num­ber of peo­ple on nor­mal week­ends.

About 3,000 stalls be­gan pre­par­ing for the year’s big­gest busi­ness sea­son last month, stock­ing thou­sands of Viet­namese items, in­clud­ing food, gar­ments, footwear and hand­i­crafts.

Cao Trung Tín, deputy head of the mar­ket’s manag­ing board, said that tra­di­tional Viet­namese silk and cot­ton cloth­ing, hand­i­crafts and food­stuffs like fried seafood, which can be stored for months, are favoured by lo­cals and tourists.

“We at­tract more than 7,000 Viet­namese and for­eign vis­i­tors a day dur­ing the month be­fore Teát,” he said.

Beán Thaønh mar­ket be­gan when street ven­dors gath­ered to­gether near the Beán Ngheù River in the early 17th cen­tury.

It was es­tab­lished by the French colo­nial­ists after they took over the Gia Ñònh Ci­tadel un­der the Nguyeãn Dynasty in 1859.

In 1912, the mar­ket was moved to a new build­ing on a land of more than 13,000 square me­tres lo­cated on what are now the streets of Phan Boäi Chaâu, Phan Chu Trinh and Leâ Thaùnh Toân.

Clothes in­clud­ing aùo daøi (tra­di­tional Viet­namese long dress) made from do­mes­tic fab­rics like silk and chif­fon are the favourite prod­ucts of for­eign and lo­cal vis­i­tors.

“My shop of­fers Viet­namese clothes from just VNÑ150,000 (US$7) to 350,000 ($16). AÙo daøi in tra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als are 500,000 ($23) for fe­males and 700,000 ($33) for males,” said Nguyeãn Mai Anh, a gar­ment shop­keeper who speaks English, Chi­nese and Ja­pa­nese.

“My cus­tomers, par­tic­u­larly Ja­pa­nese and Korean vis­i­tors, like Viet­namese de­signs be­cause they are tra­di­tional and the price is rea­son­able,” she said.

Anh hopes that her in­come “will triple com­pared with pre­vi­ous months” in the run-up to Teát.

In Beán Thaønh, cus­tomers are free to bar­gain but many ven­dors of­fer fixed prices.

Whole­sale mar­kets Bình Taây in Dis­trict 6 and Soaùi Kình Laâm in the Chôï Lôùn (Big Mar­ket) in Dis­trict 5 are also busier than usual.

About 1,500 shops at the 90year-old Bình Taây mar­ket sell a va­ri­ety of qual­ity goods, in­clud­ing art ob­jects, sou­venirs, clothes and tra­di­tional Viet­namese dried food­stuff and medic­i­nal herbs.

Shop own­ers al­low their reg­u­lar deal­ers from the prov­inces of the Mekong River Delta to post­pone pay­ments after Teát, which be­gins on Fe­bru­ary 5.

“My shop of­fers tra­di­tional sug­ared prod­ucts or möùt, made from kumquat, lo­tus, co­conut, squash or sweet potato, made by farm­ers in south­ern prov­inces. Traders from the north and cen­tral re­gions be­gan or­der­ing early this month,” said Hoa Laâm, a Chi­nese- Viet­namese shop owner.

His shop of­fers com­pet­i­tive prices of VNÑ120,000 (US$6)- 190,000 ($10) per kilo­gram, which are 5-7 per cent higher than last month.

Shops of­fer­ing vaøng maõ (vo­tive paper) are also busier as Viet­namese burn the paper items dur­ing Teát to wish de­parted loved ones or for­saken spir­its a happy and lucky year.

Rows of minia­ture paper repli­cas of con­sumer goods such as houses, mo­tor­bikes and other lux­u­ries are best­sellers.

Bình Taây mar­ket was built on 25,000 sq.m of land in 1928. It was de­signed by a French ar­chi­tect who mixed tra­di­tional Chi­nese and East Asia ar­chi­tec­tural styles.

It re- opened re­cently after ren­o­va­tion, which cost of VNÑ104 bil­lion (US$4.5 mil­lion).

At Soaùi Kình Laâm mar­ket, 500 shops of­fer clothes and hand­made ac­ces­sories. The mar­ket has seen 3,000, or dou­ble the nor­mal num­ber of Viet­namese and for­eign tourists, on the week­end, ac­cord- ing to the mar­ket’s manag­ing board.

“I be­gan my busi­ness ca­reer here when my mother turned over her busi­ness to me five years ago. Our profit has fallen by 25 per cent com­pared to be­fore 2010, when there weren’t many shop­ping malls,” said shop owner Hoàng Quang Minh, who de­vel­oped his fam­ily busi­ness for 20 year at Soaùi Kình Laâm.

Minh said Viet­namese, par­tic­u­larly young peo­ple, like silks im­ported from South Ko­rea, China and Thai­land, while for­eign vis­i­tors of­ten buy tra­di­tional Viet­namese clothes and hand­made bags and shoes.

Minh said that tourism de­vel­op­ment had brought more for­eign cus­tomers to the mar­ket in the last few years.

“We know that Soaùi Kình Laâm is not only a brand name but a cul­tural sym­bol of Chôï Lôùn,” he said. — VNS


Teát time: The 90-year-old Bình Taây mar­ket of Dis­trict 6 is busier than ever with the Lu­nar New Year or weeks away. — VNS Photo Ngoïc Dieäphol­i­day only

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