Almost all tourists to Khanh Hoa province visit this market to buy special gifts like fins, abalone and particularly sea-horses, which is believed to improve men’s sexual ability. The Dam market has many species of sea-horses.
A pair of dry sea-horses is priced from 100,000 to over 1 million dong, depending on their size. Salespeople often suggest customers to soak sea-horses in alcohol with sea-dragons, holothurians and starfish for at least three months to create a traditional medicine for men.
Customers can also buy already-made alcohol with sea-horses or fresh sea-horses. A pair of fresh sea-horses is priced at 200,000 dong on average.
People on a budget can buy packages of dry small-sized sea-horses, sea-dragons, holothurians and starfishes at very low prices, between 20,000 to 30,000 dong.
However, travelers are advised to be careful in choosing sea-horses, otherwise they will be cheated by the sellers. According to local fishermen, good-quality sea-horses must be complete. Many visitors buy complete sea-horses but at home they discover that their sea-horses are broken.
Local fishermen also said that the price for broken sea-horses is equivalent to one-third of completed ones. Some inexperienced visitors can buy used sea-horses. These sea-horses were soaked in alcohol already.
They suggested that visitors should smell the sea-horses before buying. Only sea-horses which have a fishy smell and have eyes are fresh. However, it is more accurate to evaluate sea-horses by checking the color of their skin. But this procedure is difficult for inexperienced people.