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City shops stock up on Tet specialties
Shops in HCM City have stocked up on a variety of traditional Tet foods from various regions around the country ahead of the year's main festival.
Ha Noi Supermarket and shops selling northern specialities on Dien Bien Phu Street in District 1 and Tran Quoc Toan Street in District 3 are popular places.
Here, besides confectionery, jam, wine, sticky rice, pork pie, fruits, vegetables, and even incense from the north, customers can find many other Tet specialities like Bac Can vermicelli, Lang Son bamboo shoot, square glutinous rice cake (banh chung) and salted vegetables (dua muoi).
Many shops have started to take orders for items like Canh orange, Dien and Doan Hung pomelo, phat thu fruit (digitate citrus fruits), and banh chung.
Those looking for foods like Tra River goby, various salted fishes, Da Nang grilled beef patty (Da Nang cha bo), and speciality cakes from the central region can find them at Ba Hoa market in Tan Binh District.
Items from the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, which can be found at many supermarkets and shops around the city, have seen many new additions this year, including dried snake and frog.
According to shop owners, the prices of many kinds of specialities, including meat pie and fruits, are up 10 per cent from last month and are expected to go up by another 10-20 per cent by Tet due to higher transport and raw material costs.
Besides, northern provinces experienced a poor fruit crop this year, especially of Dien pomelo, pushing prices up, they added.
Tran Thi Kiem Hoa of the Tan Dinh Market management said: "Prices of dried shrimp have increased sharply this year with a kilo of the best quality shrimp costing VND1 million (US$47.3) now."
"This represents an increase of VND200,000 from last year," she said.
Besides boosting research to come up with new products, speciality food producers have also invested in production technologies to improve quality.
Many producers use vacuum packaging to give their products a better look and preserve them longer.
Tet items are also widely sold online.
But experts warn that customers should be careful while buying since many of them do not have labels or indication of origin