Phu Quoc Island Fish Sauce Factory – Detailed View

Polina
Polina
Updated: 12 October 2019
Time to read: 16 minutes
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Vietnam is a country that is interesting for its gastronomic features: here you can try a lot of national dishes that have no analogues anywhere. Here they make one of the most popular Asian seasonings – Nyok Mom fish sauce. It is produced throughout the country, but the fish sauce factory on Phu Quoc Island is a true monopolist in this field.

The product can be called national treasure. Millions of liters of it are sold annually around the world. It is useful, has a non-standard and unusual taste, and also has a magical property to enhance the aroma and taste of any, the most unassuming dish.

A little information about the island of Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc Island is located in the Gulf of Thailand, and it is the largest in Vietnam. Locals call it another “99 mountains” because of the presence of small hills. They descend around the perimeter of Fukuoka from north to south, and these mountains, however, ninety-nine!

Those who visited the island, then say with one voice about him: “Truly a heavenly place!” There are no noisy discos, big nightclubs. Even in the high season on the beaches of Fukuoka you can find a secluded place where, besides you, only a few people will bask in the sun. And the beaches here are wonderful, with clean, crumbly sand and clear water. Not for nothing in 2008, Phu Quoc Island was officially recognized as a place with the most beautiful and clean beaches.

Read our article: “Top 13 beaches of Phu Quoc Island“.

Phu Quoc Island

But not only beaches, emerald water and a relaxing holiday is famous Phu Quoc Island. Here make the famous Fukuoka fish sauce. Those who tried it, talk about this sauce with the same enthusiasm and the desire to eat them again. There are occasional cases when a person distorts a person with the words “fish sauce from Phu Quoc island” from disgust. But this applies to those who can not stand the fish. What is this mysterious dish, where and from what is it made?

Fish Sauce Factory

There are about a hundred factories for the production of “Nyok Moms” sauce (proper native name). But not all produce a product suitable for international standards. The largest plant for the production of sauce Nuoc mam is located in the city of Duong Dong. It is also a local landmark, where you can go on a tour and see the process of making sauce from beginning to end.

Besides the fact that the sauce produced in this factory is the most popular in the world, it is also made according to the most “correct” recipe. Seasoning “Nyok Moms” should include two components: seafood and salt. The first ingredient can be live fish of different varieties, small and large. Often use frozen (which could not immediately sell), as well as offal and fish blood. But at the factory in Duong Dong only local anchovies are prepared. And not everyone is suitable in composition, select the best, with the highest protein content.

Fish Sauce Production

Neither at the factory in the city of Duong Dong, nor at other enterprises under pain of death will they give out the secret of making magic sauce. But you can come for a free tour, walk around the plant and see the whole process of turning anchovies and salt into magic seasoning. It is famous for the fact that it is not worse than the well-known sodium glutamate strengthens and “opens” the taste of any dish.

Manufacturing process

The anchovies for this sauce, as soon as they are caught, are immediately frozen, so as not to deteriorate. At the factory, the fish product is thawed out after being brought in and mixed with sea salt. The ratio of fish and salt is about five to one. Another important detail: it is at the factory in Duong Dong that only excellent quality sea salt is used, and also locally produced.

A mixture of anchovies and salt lay in huge wooden barrels. At the bottom of their corals are laid out in a thick layer, they serve as a kind of primary filter. The process is long (about this – below), but not laborious. Salt fish mixture is placed on top of the fish and fermentation of anchovy mixed with salt begins.

Anchovies of which prepare fish sauce
Anchovies of which prepare fish sauce

The fermentation process should last more than a year, from twelve to fourteen months. There are varieties of fish sauce, cooking which takes up to three years. It is darker, thicker, and it is necessary to add it to food very carefully, because the mouth and lips can become inflamed from the habit. Another important point: in small plants, they can add water to the barrels of fish and salt, in order to “increase the exhaust” of the product, so to speak. To try a quality sauce without admixture of water, it is better to buy one that is made at the main plant in the city of Duong Dong.

During the year and a half, while the mixture wanders in barrels, periodically they are removed from the lid with a load and give the contents of the containers to “breathe.” In the meantime, a magical product begins to flow from the special outlet of each barrel. It is almost transparent, yellowish, with a specific aroma. Corals on the bottom – the first, but not the only filter that is used to clean the sauce. The tubes of the liquid goes to the tank, covered with clean cloths or foam rubber. Then from these containers the finished product is bottled and corked.

In some reviews, tourists who visited Vietnam and visited factories for making sauce complain of an unbearable nauseous smell. Alas, in small factories, where they take fish waste, blood and husk to prepare Nuoc mam, this may well be the case. In large factories, there is a persistent smell, but it is not at all nasty, but rather specific. Fish in Duong Dong, for example, is chosen with a maximum protein content, its ideal concentration in the product should be from 40 to 43 percent, not less. No fish waste, especially blood, is used at this plant, God forbid!

The liquid of the “first stage”, that is, that which begins to pour from the barrel after the start of fermentation, is the sauce of the highest grade. The product of the second and so on queues is not worse in taste, they simply contain slightly lower levels of proteins, vitamins and mineral salts, and the flavor is not so bright.

Tourists who visited the plant, not only have the opportunity to walk through the shops and see the whole process. Offer free tasting sauce of different consistency and aging. It is possible in the factory shop to buy and take with you bottles of magic seasoning.

Fish Sauce Production

How to eat fish sauce

From all over Vietnam, locals go and go to Phu Quoc Island to buy the most delicious, high-quality and most “right” sauce “Nyok Mom”. In the country, it is eaten in every family, served in any restaurant or cafe, with it unless they only eat sweet dishes and dairy desserts! Tourists, having tried this sauce, too, then do not imagine eating without it. Whether it is a complex dish of meat or fish products or banal rice.

Since the sauce has a high salt concentration, they can (within reasonable limits) be replaced without affecting the taste. On the contrary – the flavor of food is revealed as if with this seasoning. This is the most popular and simple application “Nyok Mama”. It also marinates meat or fish before heat treatment.

The sauce of the first spill, or manufactured in time more than one and a half years, diluted with cold boiled water, add squeezed garlic, lemon juice or lime. This liquid is called “Nyok Cham” – seasoning for dipping. In “Nyok Cham”, they dip fried (or boiled) meat, fish, pour pasta over it, add it to salads.

The specific smell, which often scares away those who want to try fish sauce, instantly disappears when cooked. In the manufacture of “Nyok Chama” lemon and garlic also “quenched” this flavor. Particularly fastidious owners of sensitive noses are recommended to add more pungent red pepper – it will completely negate the remnants of the smell.

Noodles with fish sauce
Noodles with fish sauce

Can I take with me

Alas, during the inspection at the airport all the bottles with the magic liquid will be removed! This act is motivated by strict customs officers simply: God forbid, the bottle will break in the plane or the plastic will leak. Fish sauce is instantly absorbed where it is spilled, and the smell does not erode for a very long time. Over time, he really turns into a strong stench.

You can try different types of sauce throughout Vietnam, and even more on Phu Quoc Island. But do not be upset that you can not take it: the famous fish sauce from the island of Phu Quoc is sold throughout the world. This is not just a well-known product, but a globally recognized brand that has been introduced into the international geographic information system. The main thing is to buy a real fish sauce made in the Fukuoka factory. The words Phu Quoc must appear on the bottle as proof of the brand. Also, there must be a special brand on the neck of the bottle – it confirms the state quality of the product.

Phu Quoc Island Nuoc mam is not only incredibly tasty. It is very healthy because of its high content of protein, mineral salts and rare types of vitamins. The food market of the European Union, considering various types of Vietnamese food, was named “Nyok Mom” sauce as the first to be allowed for sale. About 12 million liters of this wonderful seasoning are sold all over the world every year.

Polina
Author
Polina
Since 2013, we live with a spouse in different countries, including China, the Philippines, the United States, and Vietnam. I dance, teach pole dance and write about our travel.
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