Cuisine is what makes a place much more appealing to visitors. You should not leave the beautiful island of Phu Quoc without trying Phu Quoc Cuisine once.
Goi Ca Trich (Raw Herring Salad)
Herring Salad is one of the must-tries in Phu Quoc Island. The unique flavour of the dish is from white meaty herring fish meticulously prepared and marinated to its perfection. “Goi Ca Trich” is made by mixing chopped filet herrings with onion, lime juice, chilies, and pepper. The dish is served with rolled rice paper, fresh lettuce and herbs, and dipping sauce. A herring salad roll which is dip into Phu Quoc special fish sauce is heavenly tasty. Local people in Phu Quoc often drink “Sim” wine (Rose myrtle wine) when eating herring salad to accelerate mouthful flavour of the salad and help better digestion.
Ghe Ham Ninh (Ham Ninh Sea Crab)
No one should leave out this delicacy when paying a visit to Ham Ninh Fishing Village. “Ghe” is a Vietnamese word for sea crab. Ham Ninh crabs are quite small, but firmer and tastier than other kinds of sea crabs. The price for 1 kilogram ranges from 200,000VND ($9) to 500,000VND ($25) depending on the size of crabs. You should choose the medium size (6-7 crabs/kg) as crabs in this size offer best tastes. Ask the fishermen to cook the crabs for you in their traditional way and savour the taste from the sea while sipping “Sim” wine to the best.
Grilled “Coi Bien Mai” (Grilled Scallops)
The dish is made from a kind of sea scallop that has a triangle-shaped shell and hides deeply under the ocean floor. Travelers can experience collecting scallops on their own after watching how fishermen do the job. “Coi bien mai” can be cooked into different delicious dishes, but the most recommended dish is the crunchy and chewy grilled one to sample. Tourist can try this specialty at any seafood shacks along the beaches in Phu Quoc.
Like champagne in France and olive oil in Greece, fish sauce is the prized staple of Vietnam, as it is a must-have ingredient that finds its way into almost every Vietnamese dish from spring rolls to noodles. The island of Phu Quoc has been famous for producing some of Vietnam’s finest fish sauce, a pungent liquid extracted from fermented and salted fish of the island. Phu Quoc fish sauce is world-renowned for its premium quality, thanks to the abundant seaweed and plankton around the island that feeds the anchovies needed for the dark golden colored sauce. In fact, fish sauce made elsewhere often falsely uses the Phu Quoc brand! That’s the reason why local producers have been working with the WTO to protect its appellation of origin.
Phu Quoc attractions include visiting a fish sauce factory where you’ll find larger-than- life wooden vats up to 4 meters high containing up to 13 tons of deliciously pungent fish sauce. Tourists can visit the distillery but should not buy any bottles as carrying fish sauce on the airplane is not allowed. Some of famous fish sauce distilleries that allow visitors (with no fees) are Hung Thanh (Road 30/4, Duong Dong Town), Red Boat (11 Cau hung Vuong, Duong Dong Town), Thinh Phat (Road 30, Duong Dong Town) and Nam Huong (near Sao Beach, An Thoi Town). However, it is recommended for foreigners to hire a tour guide for better understanding of the product. Tours to fish sauce factories are available on any apps for travelers such as Tripadvisor and Airbnb with the price of about $50 for a half-day trip to 3 places including a fish sauce distillery.
Also known as “Ruou Sim” in Vietnamese, Sim Wine is made from the Rose Myrtle, a local fruit. Fishermen often drink Sim Wine when eating seafood to get the best taste of the dishes. Vietnamese also believe that Sim Wine can help with fatigue, aide digestion and ease pain. Its taste is like a fermented blackcurrant alcoholic beverage mixed with a uniquely flowery scent that you can never find in any Western wine. Sim Wine can be the best alternative to French wine for parties on the beach so people cannot be hammered but a little bit tipsy to feel good.