While the Mid-Autumn Festival is nearly two months away, local bakeries have erected booths along some busy streets across Ho Chi Minh City to sell the festive delicacy – mooncake.
Falling on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Lunar Year, the mid-autumn fest, also known as the Children’s Festival, is one of the biggest festivals in Vietnam.
Traditionally, all family members will gather at night to drink tea, eat mooncakes, and enjoy the full moon, while children play with their candle-lit lanterns.
Mooncake, as its name suggests, is made in the shape of the moon and baked with different fillings. The cake has gone further than a traditional delicacy for children to become valuable gifts adults exchange to each other to show gratitude.
This year’s festival falls on September 8, but the mooncake market has already been opened.
Kinh Do Bakery, one of the market’s leaders, has opened stores on such streets as Le Van Sy in District 3 and Phan Dinh Phung in Phu Nhuan District, selling traditional mooncakes from VND38,000 to VND68,000 (US$1.79-3.2) each.
The bakery also introduced a box containing 10 different mooncakes plus tea products to serve along with them. The premium product fetches nearly VND3 million ($141) a box.
Mooncake booths run by other confectionaries including Dong Khanh, Huu Nghi, and Bibica can now be spotted on other bustling streets such as Quang Trung in Go Vap District and Cong Hoa in Tan Binh District.
Average prices are around VND35,000 – VND65,000 ($1.5-$3) a cake, almost unchanged from last year.
Prices of the mooncake boxes, premium products intended to be given as gifts, have risen five to ten percent from last year.
There are not so many new and original products this year compared with the previous festival.
Mooncake sellers admitted that retail sales are modest at this time. Normally, people only begin buying the delicacy a week before the festival.