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Ho Chi Minh City snakehead stalls pull all-nighter in preparation for God of Wealth Day

Ho Chi Minh City snakehead stalls pull all-nighter in preparation for God of Wealth Day

Thursday, February 10, 2022, 14:15 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City snakehead stalls pull all-nighter in preparation for God of Wealth Day
Workers grill snakehead fish in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022, to prepare for God of Wealth Day. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Many shops in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City began preparing grilled snakehead fish on Wednesday night to sell to local residents on God of Wealth Day, which falls on Thursday this year.

The God of Wealth, worshipped by families across Vietnam, is believed to control money and finances.

On God of Wealth Day, religious people, particularly families involved in business, pray to the God of Wealth for prosperity and good fortune throughout the year. 

These prayers are typically accompanied by offerings of gold, fruit, grilled meat, and, without fail, grilled snakehead fish.

A worker controls temperature on a charcoal grill by using a hand-held fan at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A worker controls temperature on a charcoal grill by using a hand-held fan at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Tan Ky Tan Quy Street in Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Phu District has been known locally for its grilled snakehead fish market, with many of its stalls having sold the dish for more than a decade. 

Ahead of God of Wealth Day, many of the workers at these stalls pulled an all-nighter to prepare for their busiest day of the year. 

These preparations included maintaining the charcoal fire, using sugarcane to skewer the fish, washing vegetables, and portioning the vermicelli side dishes.

Snakehead fish are skewered on sugarcane before they are grilled at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Snakehead fish are skewered on sugarcane before they are grilled at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

It is also common for customers to purchase the grilled snakehead fish the night before the day of worship so that they are not late to work the next day because of long lines in the morning.  

Nguyen Trung, the owner of a grilled snakehead fish stall on Tan Ky Tan Quy Street, said his business had purchased nearly 3,000 snakehead fish from Vietnam's Mekong Delta ahead of this year’s God of Wealth Day. 

His shop has been using anywhere from seven to ten grills to prepare the fish.

A snakehead fish on the grill at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A snakehead fish on the grill at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

“This year I bought the same volume of fish as last year, about 3,000,” Trung revealed.  

"I employ over 30 people, the majority of whom are my relatives from Dong Nai and Dong Thap Provinces.

"Everyone is responsible for a specific task, such as grilling the fish, cleaning the vegetables, and preparing the dipping sauce.

"Each fish takes approximately 35 minutes to grill, and each grill can fit ten fish at a time.

"Because the peak selling time is 7:00 am, my entire family began working on Wednesday afternoon and continued through the night.  

“A grilled snakehead sells for VND170,000-VND200,000 [US$7.5-9].”

Snakehead fish are grilled at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022, to prepare for the God of Wealth Day. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Snakehead fish are grilled at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022, to prepare for God of Wealth Day. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Huyen Hoa, a resident of Binh Tan District, shared that her home is far from the grilled snakehead fish market so she decided to purchase her fish early to avoid missing her early morning worship session.

“God of Wealth Day is an important day,” Hoa said.

"I offer a dish of grilled snakehead fish to the God of Wealth in exchange for his blessings for a prosperous year.”

Grilled snakehead fish are arranged on the shelves at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Grilled snakehead fish are arranged on the shelves at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Workers divide vermicelli into side dish portions at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Workers divide vermicelli into side dish portions at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A woman prepares aluminum foils prior to grilling the snakehead fish at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A woman prepares aluminum foils prior to grilling the snakehead fish at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Workers grill snakehead fish at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022, to prepare for the God of Wealth Day. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Workers grill snakehead fish at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022, to prepare for God of Wealth Day. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Customers wait to buy grilled snakehead fish at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022, to prepare for the God of Wealth Day. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Customers wait to buy grilled snakehead fish at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022, to prepare for God of Wealth Day. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre
A woman chooses her grilled snakehead fish at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022, to prepare for the God of Wealth Day. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre
A woman chooses her grilled snakehead fish at a shop in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 9, 2022, to prepare for God of Wealth Day. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

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