Vietnam's southwestern provinces are famous for their abundance of fish--so much so that the sight of fish drying in the roadside heat has become a hallmark of the Mekong Delta. Photos: Minh Hung
Ba Tong, a farmer in Long An Province, said the practice has always been common in the Mekong Delta, especially decades ago when fish were so abundant that people had to store the surplus. "Fish swam along the surface and you could simply scoop them up with a basket," he said.
Nowadays, people make dried fish out of both wild and farmed snakehead.
A small facility staffed by a whole family.
This household business in Dong Thap Province buys both farmed and wild fish caught in the wetlands.
Each kilogram of dried fish sells for around VND150,000 (US$7) so long as the fish is farmed and VND250,000 when the fish is caught in the wild.
A rarer delicacy is dried snake; they're also sold live for VND100,000 per kilogram.
Dried walking catfish is also common in the Delta.
Nam Xe, who owns a household business in Long An's Tan Thanh District, said that after slaughtering the fish, he mixed them with Sacha sauce, chilli, sugar and salt before setting them out to dry.
Ten kilograms of raw fish make about 2.5 kilograms of dried fish, Xe said.
It takes about three days to dry a batch in sunny weather.
Further south, in the Delta's An Giang Province, dried fish become less common than fermented fish, which is sold at virtually every market and shop.