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Catching the colorful glow of daily life in craft villages

By Huynh Phuong, Le Hoang Men   December 11, 2021 | 06:00 am PT
Photographer Le Hoang Men has succeeded in capturing the wondrous colors of subsistence livelihoods in traditional craft villages in central Vietnam where people catch fish and make salt.
Catching the colorful glow of daily life in craft villages

Located on the Tam Giang Lagoon in Quang Dien District, around 25 kilometers from downtown Hue, the Ngu My Thanh fishing village is home to around 200 families whose boats have been their lifelines for generations. Local fishermen are out at sea from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., returning with fish and shrimp to the Ngu My Thanh floating market.

Catching the colorful glow of daily life in craft villages

A family on their means of livelihood in the Ngu My Thanh’s fishing village. Many families actually live on makeshift boats. Between May and July is the busiest time of year for the village. Fishermen avoid sailing from August to November, usually considered the storm season in central Vietnam.

Catching the colorful glow of daily life in craft villages

Hundreds of fishing boats gather along the Tam Tien coast, carrying seafood to the shore at dawn.

A seafood market along Tam Tien coast in Nui Thanh District of Quang Nam Province has functioned busily for more than 15 years, becoming the main seafood distribution point for Quang Nam and neighboring localities.

Catching the colorful glow of daily life in craft villages

Fishermen head out to sea at around 3-4 p.m., and return about 12 hours later, allowing the fresh seafood market to open from 4-7 a.m. However, the market is only open during the monsoon season, between April and September.

Catching the colorful glow of daily life in craft villages

A green net is cast wide from a boat off the Hon Yen Islet off the coast of Phu Yen Province to harvest anchovies, considered a specialty along Vietnam's central coast and used to produce the quintessential Vietnamese condiment – fish sauce. The anchovy harvest season lasts from April to August.

Catching the colorful glow of daily life in craft villages

The anchovies are soaked in salty water, steamed for about five minutes before being put out to dry. After four to five hours of drying in the sun, the anchovy blisters are picked before they are weighed, packed and sold.

Catching the colorful glow of daily life in craft villages

Each anchovy-steaming facility has around 20 workers who work from dawn to dusk.

Catching the colorful glow of daily life in craft villages

Quy Nhon Town is home to a fish-steaming village that is more than 50 years old. It is located near a fish market along the Ham Tu Wharf. Boats carrying fresh fish are operated by families in the steaming business.

Catching the colorful glow of daily life in craft villages

After cleaning and preliminary processing, the fish are put in an oven with boiling water. The steamed water is specially seasoned to ensure the rich taste of marine fish. The period of steaming is also adjusted to ensure that the meat is chewy and delicious. Locals have to be in very good health because the work is very hard and lasts until late in the night.

Catching the colorful glow of daily life in craft villages

Visitors to Quang Ngai can enjoy a trip to the Sa Huynh salt-making village in Duc Pho District, a large salt basin in the central region, with an area of ​​more than 110 hectares.

Catching the colorful glow of daily life in craft villages

During the annual salt making season from March to August, workers start their day at 4 a.m. and try to finish as soon as possible to get away from the scorching sun.

In this photo, two women wear gloves and tight clothes against the scorching sun while harvesting salt.

Sa Huynh currently has 550 families with about 2,000 people who have been making salt for decades.

 
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