Tue, Dec 23, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Dihua Street gets ready for annual Lunar New Year dried foods festival

STAFF WRITER

Shop owners on Taipei’s Dihua Street (迪化街), well-known for Lunar New Year shopping, intend to begin their annual shopping festival on Jan. 9.

Vendors there said they were expecting to hire 500 temporary workers in anticipation of rising consumer spending driven by the government’s shopping voucher scheme.

The New Year Big Street Festival (年貨大街) will run for 17 days until noon on Jan. 25 — Lunar New Year’s Eve — and is expecting to attract 170 shopkeepers and 250 vendors, the Chinese-language Apple Daily (蘋果日報) reported yesterday.

A food shop owner said snack prices were likely to go up between 20 percent and 30 percent year-on-year, the report said.

Notably, pistachio prices would double from NT$100 (US$3.04) per 600g to NT$200 next month on weak harvest.

By contrast, dried foods, such as mullet roe, scallops and mushrooms, which are generally higher-priced, will be cheaper next month amid a higher stockpile and the impact of the economic downturn on prices, the owner said.

Consumers will probably pay NT$280 per 600g for mullet roe next month, compared with NT$360 a year ago, while the price of scallops imported from Japan will also drop by 10 percent to 20 percent at between NT$640 and NT$800 per 600g, the owner said.

The festival’s shops and vendors usually employ temporary workers to help them handle the vast number of shsoppers.

Vendors there hope the government’s issuance of vouchers, worth NT$3,600 for each eligible person, will spur demand during the festival.

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