A grilling preparation to welcome the God of Wealth
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A family in HCMC's Tan Phu District spent a sleepless night grilling tons of snakehead fish as a God of Wealth Day specialty.
From Saturday night until Sunday morning, the Tan Ky Tan Quy Street in Tan Phu District was full of smoke from dozens of grilled fish stalls that were selling snakehead fish to people observing the God of Wealth Day (Caishen Day or Than Tai in Vietnamese).
The God of Wealth Day is the 10th day of the first lunar month (Feb. 21 this year).
At Nguyen Trung's stall, people had stayed up all night grilling nearly four tons of snakehead fish.
"I have been in this profession for seven years and every year, we have to increase the number of fish grilled for this occasion. Last year, we grilled more than two tons, but this year it is 4,000 fish, each weighing more than a kilo, so we had to gather 30 people, including my brothers, to grill all of them in time,” Trung said
Tran Van Khe, 42, Trung's relative, said that this was the only day of the yearthat the whole family stayed up at night to grill the fish.
"It’s important to turn the fish constantly to avoid burning and cook evenly. Normally, when fish is grilled, its insides are taken out, but, since this is God of Wealth Day, itis kept intact to worship," Khe said.
The fresh snakehead fish is bought from the Binh Dien wholesale market. Each takes about 30 minutes to grill.
Each grilled snakehead fish costs VND160,000-170,000 ($6.6-7.3).
Grilled fish are neatly arranged as Nguyen Thuong, 80, Trung's father, puts rice noodles and some vegetables into small bags.
"Raw vegetables go well with the grilled fish. I have spent several nights in succession making the dipping sauce and packing the vegetables. Just this one day, a ton of vegetables is consumed,”said Nga, Trung’s sister.
After customers choose their fish, they are sprinkled with fried scallion and roasted peanuts before being wrapped in foil.
Nguyen Thi No from Tan Phu District has bought two fish for VND170,000 each at Trung's stall.
"Every year, my family comes here to buy grilled fish to worship the God of Wealth, hoping for luck, fortune and prosperity throughout the year," No said.
In the south of Vietnam, the tray of offerings to the God of Wealth should have gold, fruit, roasted pork and grilled snakehead fish.