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Ho Chi Minh City consumers show less interest in foreign delicacies ahead of Tet

Ho Chi Minh City consumers show less interest in foreign delicacies ahead of Tet

Wednesday, January 24, 2024, 19:05 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City consumers show less interest in foreign delicacies ahead of Tet
Cheese products are displayed on a shelf in an imported goods store in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Nhat Xuan / Tuoi Tre

Specialties from many other countries, such as Japan, South Korea, Russia, and Spain, have flooded Ho Chi Minh City but local consumers’ spending on them remains modest although the Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet, is around the corner.

The sale of such products is slow despite the peak shopping time for Tet, according to traders of foreign delicacies.

They have imported products cautiously to assess customers’ demand at a time when Tet is just two weeks away.

During the same period last year, Thanh Mai, the owner of Tu Xe stall in Le Hong Phong Market, a shopping hub known as a one-stop shop for Cambodian products in District 10, Ho Chi Minh City, was busy with orders for Tet specialties from early morning until late at night.

However, she often closes her stall at 5:00 pm these days due to a reduced number of customers.

Earlier, customers spent tens of millions of Vietnamese dong on dried specialties, such as dried tra fish (pangasius), snakeskin gourami, snakehead fish, pangasius kunyit, beef, buffalo meat, and lap xuong (dry-cured pork sausage). (VND10 million = US$404.4).

This year, the sale of these products has halved, Mai said.

She added that she did not dare to raise the selling prices of these specialties although the transport costs from Cambodia to Vietnam increased to VND30,000 ($1.2) from VND25,000 ($1) per kilogram over the past month.

Mai also prepared Tet gift baskets of Cambodian specialties with the maximum price of VND500,000 ($20.3) apiece.

Since early last month, a Japanese store on Le Thanh Ton Street in District 1 has offered Tet gift baskets with delicacies from Japan, such as plum wine, sake (Japanese rice wine), brown rice tea, and confections such as macadamia chocolate and Bourbon Torte cookies.

However, the number of buyers has been lower than what she had expected.

Minh Ngoc, the store manager, said the store had priced these baskets at VND500,000-800,000 ($20.3-32.4) each and offered discounts of 10-20 percent.

The place has also focused on products in high demand such as confections.

“We launched baskets of Japanese spices last year but did not prepare them this year due to low demand,” Ngoc informed.

Having traded Russian products for over 16 years at the Russian Market on Vo Van Kiet Boulevard in District 1, Nguyen Thi Khanh Van shared that business had never been as difficult as this year.

Many specialties, such as black bread, smoked salami sausage, chicken legs, and duck, have seen price hikes due to increasing transport costs. However, the store keeps the rates unchanged in order to retain customers.

At some stores specializing in European products, such as Annam Gourmet Market in District 1, ham, smoked meat, pâté, and lap xuong have seen a high number of buyers, including both foreigners and locals.

In previous years, many families spent millions of Vietnamese dong on a Spanish pig leg which weighs six to seven kilograms. Yet, there are a few of such clients this year.

From the viewpoint of a consumer, Pham Thi Huong, a resident of District 5, said she wanted to find special products but would prefer reasonably-priced ones.

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Thanh Ha - Nhat Xuan / Tuoi Tre News

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