When going to Phung Hiep, visitors will see thousands of small boats with full of agricultural products from Western corners to form 1km long floating market. It's said to be a fruit-market of the Southern part and the market is special feature of the Mekong Delta’s culture.
Phung Hiep floating market.
The market meets all day long, but it’s the noisiest and busiest in the morning. The precious evening, from far-and-wide, boats with full of seasonal vegetables and fruits such as mangoes, durians, bananas, oranges, coconuts, etc left their villages to wait for the sunrise market. Every boat is full of fruits. Some boats are covered with roofs, some are not. On boats without roofs, the sellers have to hold high a stick hanging with fruits as signals. Market-goers do not bargain, just a few words exchange, they sell and get paid. Normally, fruits are sold and brought to big boats. Then they will be transported to fruit-processing factories or to Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau, even to Hanoi and Northern provinces.
Fruits are hanged high to attract the buyers.
Although it's a floating market, services are available, foods and drinks on small boats twist and turn to serve hungry sellers and buyers. When someone wants to buy the products, they only need to whistle or wave band. Besides fruits, local products like snakes, birds, turtles, etc are easy to find near Phung Hiep bridge. These specialties are almost bought and brought to restaurants in Can Tho or Ho Chi Minh City.
The atmosphere in Phung Hiep market was exciting, as we witnessed snake traders fearfully transferring poisonous copperheads, kraits, and rattlesnakes, from their cages to purchaser’s jute bags.
The price of a snake ranges from tens of thousands of dong for individual specimens, to hundreds of thousands of dong per kilogram. One kilogram of water snakes is priced at VND30, 000-VND50, 000 (US$1.88 - $3.13); while copperheads are sold from VND50, 000-VND400, 000 ($3.13 - $25) per kilo.
Ranking the second after the snakes in quantity at Phung Hiep market is wild birds. All species favoured by urban gastronomers such as cao, cu dat, stork, blosh dove, moorcook, and la mia, are sold at the market.
Birds are hanged up on the motorbikes of bird hunters from rural areas and confined in narrowed cages. Thousands of birds are purchased each hour, and transported to “headquarters”, then retailed to restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City and southwestern provinces.
Phung Hiep Snake Market, located close to the floating market, is known worldwide. Visitors from all over the world go there to taste the snake liquor and see the dangerous snake dance.