Newly Shaped Fruits for the Lunar New Year 2013.

Gold bullion-shaped watermelons and pineapples modeled on a phoenix are amongst the specialties that are helping to lengthen the list of strange and unique products available for this Tet.

Customers contacting the Dong Tao chicken farm owned by Vu Ngoc Tuan in the southern province of Dong Nai earlier this week were disappointed to learn that the poultry was out of stock.

Dong Tao chickens used to be a delicious food offered to kings, and has risen to fame during recent Lunar New Years as people sought them for gifts and meat. This type of chicken is well-known for its awkward-looking, bulky legs.

“I have new corporate customers that asked to buy up to 30 chickens each,” Tuan said, adding that he had to stop taking new orders as there are only enough chickens to serve loyal customers.

His Dong Tao chicken farm is considered the largest of its kind in the country, raising some 5,000 chickens. The farm has so far supplied 1,000 chickens to the market but has still failed to meet demand, he said.

The phoenix-pineapple

The phoenix-pineapple

Strangely-shaped fruit is also winning choice for customers who want to have special gifts for Tet. Farmers said they have sold out these products, even though the holiday is still a week away.

Le Van Sau Nho, from the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, said he has sold 700 pineapples to traders. The fruit costs VND100,000 ($5) each, while 200 special ones fetched VND200,000 ($10) each, he said.

“The pineapples attract customers with their colorful appearance and strange shape, with a tail open wide like that of a phoenix,” he explained.

Watermelons have new shapes

While square watermelon are quite familiar with customers nationwide, this year the fruit is on sale in new shapes, such as that of car or gold bullion.

“We have sent 300 pairs of gold-bullion watermelons onto the market so far,” said Huynh Mong Ngoc, director of Anh Ngoc Co, a novelty fruit supplier. She said each pair of the newly-shaped watermelons costs VND3.8 million ($190).

The price for square watermelons has been slashed VND200,000 ($10) to VND2 million ($100 a pair, to reach more customers, she added.

“People want to have the strange fruits on display during Tet, but some have hesitated over the high prices,” she explained.

Bottle gourd grapefruits

Bottle gourd grapefruits

Meanwhile, grapefruits and watermelons shaped like a bottle gourd have seen prices falling dramatically this year, farmers said.

“Watermelons are now on sale at only VND500,000 – VND800,000 a pair, while we expected prices to be up to VND1.2 million a pair,” said Dang Van Nhut, who grows the specially-shaped fruit in Hau Giang Province.

“Orders have slumped 80 percent,” he added.

Sang, a neighboring grower, said prices have plunged since the fruit is no longer an exclusive product of the province. Some farmers in Can Tho city also grow this kind of watermelon, he said.

Similarly, mass production has sent farmers who grow grapefruits and turn them into the shape of a bottle gourd into a tough spot.

Farmers in Phu Huu Commune, Hau Giang, are unable to find buyers for 10,000 pieces of such fruit, a commune official said.

There are 2 types, yellow and green.

There are 2 types, yellow and green.

Gardener Tran Thanh Liem, from Binh Thuy District, Can Tho City, said, to create this kind of watermelons, he spent three years to research and test.

Gardener Tran Thanh Liem, from Binh Thuy District, Can Tho City, said, to create this kind of watermelons, he spent three years to research and test.

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Square-shaped watermelons are offered at VND2-3 million per pair.

Square-shaped watermelons are offered at VND2-3 million ($100-150) per pair.

A field of wine-gourd shaped watermelons.

A field of wine-gourd shaped watermelons.

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Wine-gourd shaped grapefruits are priced VND3 million a pair.

Wine-gourd shaped grapefruits are priced VND3 million ($150) a pair.

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Finger citrons are arranged on the altar during the lunar New Year to wish for luck in the new year, prosperity of wealth and health. For this fruit, the bigger it is, the higher number of fingers it has, the value is higher.

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This finger citron is priced VND3 million.

This finger citron is priced VND3 million ($150)

Source Tuoi Tre & Vietnamnet

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