By Benazir Ahmed Siddique, an expat in Hoa Thanh, Tay Ninh City, Vietnam
Leaf market of Tay Ninh is famous throughout the Southeast region because of the uniqueness of using leaf instead of money. It sounds like a joke but it’s true regarding the leaf market in Tay Ninh! The leaf market is strange in that people who go to the market do not use money but use leaves to buy food and drinks. That’s why people call this market “fairy market” or “leaf market”. This market attracts a large number of tourists to come and experience interesting things. Tay Ninh leaf market only opens once a year. Therefore, if you have the opportunity to travel to Tay Ninh, do not miss this unique leaf market.
Where is Tay Ninh leaf market held?
The market location is not fixed but moves to many points in the Hoa Thanh town area (Tay Ninh) so that everyone can buy goods. Such as at gate 8 of Long Hoa market, the Thai physician’s house on Hoc Tram street, or at Long Hai Buddha Temple, Hoa Thanh town. Normally, leaf markets held in residential areas or areas near temples and traditional markets. Therefore, if you want to join in this market, you need to listen in advance from Tay Ninh tourism groups for update information.
Time to organize the leaf market
Tay Ninh leaf market is held on the full moon day of the first lunar month every year, only once a year. Every year, the market takes place on two mornings, January 14 and 15. So, if you have the opportunity to come here at the beginning of the year then don’t miss this special market. Anyone can participate in the Tay Ninh leaf market, so if you have the opportunity to visit here, don’t hesitate to contribute to the fun of the market!
Origin of the leaf market in Tay Ninh
Tay Ninh leaf market has been held continuously from 2012 to present. Previously, this market was only attended by local people. In recent years, it has become more popular with tourists, so it is also more crowded and bustling. This is a market initiated by doctor Bui Quoc Thai. He is a traditional herbalist who specializes in volunteering to save people in Hoa Thanh, Tay Ninh. The doctor’s original idea was to organize an internal market so that his acquaintances could buy and sell food and drinks. At the same time, this is also an opportunity to meet relatives and friends after a year. Because Tay Ninh leaf market is an intimate market between acquaintances, money is not used to pay. Instead, friends and acquaintances of Dr. Bui Quoc Thai who had something contributed to create diverse stalls, using leaves to buy and sell for fresh air. After the first few years of organization, the market has attracted many local people to participate. Gradually, the leaf market became a specialty of Hoa Thanh, attracting a lot of curiosity from visitors.
Unique buying and selling experience at Tay Ninh leaf market
Tay Ninh leaf market operates similarly to long-standing traditional markets in the Southern region. Here, stalls are lined up close together, selling rustic Tay Ninh specialties such as sticky rice, soy milk, sweet soup, ice cream, boiled potatoes, corn, mixed rice paper, beef cakes, porridge, soft drinks, sugarcane juice, banh mi, etc. The items at the market are not priced. When you come here, you just need to give the leaves to the seller and you will be able to exchange the items. Just like that, you just need to walk around the market, holding leaves in your hand, and you can buy delicious foods. Specially, each person can only buy a little bit of each item, leaving a portion for the next person. However, you can rest assured that the market sells a lot of dishes, so just walking around will be enough to eat and drink. Most of the sellers here are local people, preparing dishes and fruits to sell for fun, so what they want to receive is the thanks and smiles of customers from near and far.
Many people joke that going to Tay Ninh leaf market is like participating in large-scale shopping. Here, both sellers and buyers are very comfortable, what they get is not money but joy. The image of children trotting out holding leaves in their hands to buy some snacks and then happily munching on them, their bright smiles and excitement made the market even more bustling. The leaf market is like the fragrant hearts of Tay Ninh people, always ready to give without caring about receiving anything in return. Tay Ninh leaf market usually lasts about an hour. This market is a fun place to buy and sell, but everyone is very serious and meticulous. The food is deliciously prepared, clean, and beautifully packaged. After the market ended, everyone did not tell anyone else but stayed to collect clean trash and put it in the right place.
Deep message from Tay Ninh leaf market
The Journey of Wandering Tay Ninh to visit the leaf market not only gives you an interesting and unique experience but also feels great human significance. This market wants to remind us that money is only a means to serve human life, material things are as fleeting as a leaf. Therefore, the important thing in life is to always maintain a kind heart, not to let money control you and lose yourself.
Giving is not difficult. With just a little kindness and preparing simple dishes, you can spread joy to many people. Therefore, Tay Ninh leaf market is held every year to encourage us to be willing to give and receive, spreading kindness to beautify life.
Yet the people who come to this leaf market not only put their money, but also their time, effort and sincerity into each dish. They just want to give away like that. Tay Ninh people are like that. Therefore, those who have ever set foot in this sunny and windy land absolutely love this place! For anyone who has participated in the Tay Ninh leaf market, they think this is an interesting, healthy, fun activity and needs to be further promoted because the Tay Ninh leaf market is a unique cultural beauty that is not easy to get!