For over six centuries, Con Go has been a market place to buy fresh seafood. At around 4 a.m. every day, fishing boats return to the shore after setting sail the previous afternoon.
A 600-year-old seafood market in Ha Tinh province of central Vietnam:
Headlamps are out in force as fishing coracles crowd the Con Go coastal market in Ha Tinh Province in the darkness before daybreak.
For over six centuries, Con Go has been a place to buy fresh seafood. At around 4 a.m. every day, fishing boats return to the shore after setting sail the previous afternoon. Since they cannot get into shallow waters, the seafood is taken ashore by coracles.
On the shore, traders and boat owners wait to drag the seafood laden coracles to dry ground.
Since it is dark, most of the 200 or so people who gather at the market everyday wear headlamps.
When the seafood is unloaded from the coracles, they are immediately washed before selling to traders.
Squid, shrimp, anchovy, crab and other varieties of fish can be found at the Con Go market every morning.
A trader at Con Go, jotting down figures in the light of her headlamp, said: “I usually sell about 50 kg of fresh squid and earn VND500,000 ($21) from it.”
The variety and freshness of seafood at Con Go is highly favored. Local fisherfolk say the area has many small islands and reefs, therefore the seafood has a different taste.
June is mantis shrimp season at the Con Go market. On each trip, fishermen catch about 300 kg of mantis shrimp that are sold to diners and restaurants for VND50,000 ($2) per kilo.
Tran Thi Nguyet, a trader, said: “Each day I wake up at three to wait for the boats to bring seafood to the shore. To get the best and freshest seafood, you have to be there that early or you miss out on good deals.”
These days, the proximity of Con Go to the Thien Cam Beach, two kilometers away, attracts tourists who like watching the market activities, take photographs and even buy fresh seafood.
“I really like the quality of the squid and shrimp here. Every time I come here, I buy 5-7 kg and take it back home to cook and to give as gifts,” said a visitor from Thanh Hoa Province.
At 6 a.m., when the sun is out, the Con Go market winds up for the day. The fisherfolk return to their daily routine, and start preparing to set out for their next trip at around 3 p.m.
In the past, the market was located on a sand dune close to the sea, but sea erosion erased it. The fishermen then moved the market to a location one km away from the sea.
About a kilometer to the south of the market is the Cua Nhuong Bridge that opened in 2014. The bridge provides a much shorter, easier access to the Con Go market.