Holy mackerel! Village readies red carps for the Kitchen Gods

By Ngoc Thanh   January 27, 2019 | 09:56 pm GMT+7

A village in northern Vietnam has bred tons of red carps for the traditional ritual of releasing them a week ahead of Tet.

Vietnam village gets red carps ready for Kitchen Gods Tet trip

Thuy Tram Village in Phu Tho Province, two hours northwest of the capital city of Hanoi, is the biggest red carp breeder in the northern region.

Over the past few days, farmers have had their hands full, harvesting the fish for their eventual release into the nation's ponds, lakes and rivers on the 23rd day of the last lunar month, which falls on Monday, January 28, this year.

Vietnam village gets red carps ready for Kitchen Gods Tet trip - 1

Legend has it that the Kitchen Gods, who are in charge of looking after Vietnamese families and recording their good and bad deeds, ride the fish back to heaven before Tet, or the Lunar New Year Festival, and submit reports to the Jade Emperor, before returning a day before the Lunar New Year, which falls on February 5.

Vietnam village gets red carps ready for Kitchen Gods Tet trip - 2

Aside from raising the local breed, farmers at Thuy Tram also mate Vietnamese red carps with Indonesian and Japanese breeds to produce those with longer tails and stronger colors.

Vietnam village gets red carps ready for Kitchen Gods Tet trip - 3

The fish are sorted according to their sizes, with bigger ones costing more.

Vietnam village gets red carps ready for Kitchen Gods Tet trip - 4

Farmers pack the fish in plastic bags for sale.

"My family started harvesting the fish since the 17th day of the lunar month (last Tuesday). Over the last three days, we have sold around a ton of fish," said farmer Nguyen Huy Luan (L).

Vietnam village gets red carps ready for Kitchen Gods Tet trip - 5

Oxygen is pumped into the bags to keep the fish alive during transportation.

Vietnam village gets red carps ready for Kitchen Gods Tet trip - 6

Carps from Thuy Tram are distributed across the northern region. Thuy Tram farmers raise an average of 35-45 tons of red carps each year.

Vietnam village gets red carps ready for Kitchen Gods Tet trip - 7

The wholesale price of Thuy Tram’s red carps this year has been around VND90,000 ($4) per kilo, says Truong Thi Mai (L), a trader from Lao Cai Province in the northern uplands.

 
 
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