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Phu Quoc Fish Sauce: The pride of Vietnamese cuisine for generations

22/01/2024 23.968

Phu Quoc fish sauce is the name to trust when it comes to Vietnamese fish sauces. Having convinced generations of chefs as well as those in charge of home kitchens with its prismatic tsunami of flavor, it is not surprising that the brand holds a solid position not only in Phu Quoc but also in many Vietnamese kitchens.

Phu Quoc fish sauce

Tourists can buy Phu Quoc fish sauce as a gift for their families and friends back home or pay a short visit to the barrel houses to discover the time-honored tradition of making fish sauce in their journey to Phu Quoc island. This is sure to make your vacation more memorable.

1. Introduction to Phu Quoc Fish Sauce

Phu Quoc fish sauce refers to all of the fish sauces made in Phu Quoc City, Kien Giang Province. It is a famous Vietnamese trademark on the international market. The craft of making Phu Quoc fish sauce has been existing in this tropical island for over 200 years. In 2021, it gained recognition as a national intangible cultural heritage by the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Phu Quoc fish sauce

Fish sauce in Phu Quoc is made mainly from anchovies. To ensure the complete absence of the funky smell as well as the highest level of nitrogen, once being caught, the fish are cleanly washed and salted right on the boat. The sea salt originates from Ba Ria Vung Tau where there is a low amount of impurities. Then the mixture is packed in large wooden barrels.

The fermenting process normally lasts from 9 to 15 months. The end product is a briny, fishy and savory puce liquid. It imparts an intensely sweet, salty and distinctive fatty taste to the dishes.

Phu Quoc fish sauce

The price of each bottle of fish sauce varies according to a multitude of factors such as manufacturer, nitrogen level and packaging, often ranging from 150.000 – 200.000 VND/liter.

>>> Read more: Things to do in Phu Quoc: An A-Z guide to get the best trip 

>>> Book rooms at Vinpearl Phu Quoc hotels for an unforgettable vacation!

2. The traditional process of making fish sauce in Phu Quoc

The waters around Phu Quoc are home to numerous species of seaweed and plankton. These are the favorite foods of anchovies. Thus, it is no surprise that there is a huge source of anchovies there. Due to the large amount of anchovies having been caught, the fishermen have to find a way to preserve them.

Phu Quoc fish sauce

At first, they used salt to coat the fish but later came up with a new method of brewing the mixture for a certain amount of time. What came out eventually was the fish sauce. The anchovies used to make fish sauce in Phu Quoc are normally Stripes Pepper, Lead Powder, Red Rice, Rice Lev, Chalk Stripe and Rice Coal. These anchovies contain a higher level of nitrogen, have a better taste and generate a more eye-catching color than other fish.

Phu Quoc fish sauce

This renowned Vietnamese fish sauce has to undergo a traditional 3-step process before being ready to be served. Here is the Phu Quoc fish sauce production process:

  • Step 1: Ingredient Preparation: The two decisive Phu Quoc fish sauce ingredients affecting its ultimate quality are fish and salt. Anchovies are normally caught in the waters of Kien Giang and Ca Mau. And the salt used to ferment the fish has to have a low amount of impurities and be already stored for 3 months to decrease the acridity.
  • Step 2: Preliminary Processing (Lam Chuop): The fish are caught and salted on the boat alive to maintain their freshness. The mixture is called Chuop in Vietnamese.
  • Step 3: Fermentation (U Chuop): Upon arriving at land, Chuop will be put into large wooden barrels that can contain up to 20 liters to be brewed under the traditional method for 9 -15 months.

>>> For an ultimate Phu Quoc food tour guide, take a look at 10 must-try Phu Quoc foods and 5 Phu Quoc restaurants recommended for you

>>> For a budget-friendly vacation on Phu Quoc Island, take advantage of the voucher, combo, tour to Phu Quoc!

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3. Top 5 fish sauce brands in Phu Quoc you need to know

To avoid buying fake Phu Quoc fish sauce, here is the list of top-rated fish sauce brands in Phu Quoc:

  • Khai Hoan fish sauce: As one of the oldest fish sauce factories in Phu Quoc, Khai Hoan has been a trustworthy brand for not only the domestic market but also the international market for ages. 
Phu Quoc fish sauce
  • Phung Hung fish sauce: The brand rose to fame at the end of the 1990s. Each bottle of Phung Hung fish sauce is produced under a closed process to ensure the strict hygiene standards. It contains a high level of acid amin and trace elements that are good for pregnant women, kids or people with nutrient deficiency.
Phu Quoc fish sauce
  • Thinh Phat fish sauce: Preserved and developed throughout three generations, each bottle of Thinh Phat fish sauce is under strict production requirements and has exceptional quality. The fish sauce boasts a dark red color and a slightly salty taste.
Phu Quoc fish sauce
  • Hung Thinh fish sauce: You can find Hung Thinh fish sauce nearly in all Vietnamese provinces. Besides fish sauce 40o N and 35oN, Hung Thinh also produces premium fish sauce and Phu Quoc Nhi fish sauce with a yellow-hued color and a slight sweetness that give a complex and crave-able taste to the dish.
Phu Quoc fish sauce
  • Thanh Quoc fish sauce: Founded in the Vietnam-France war, Thanh Quoc fish sauce takes pride in being the first to meet the strict Japanese standards and being exported to numerous countries around the world. Their products include Thanh Quoc 43°N, Thanh Quoc 40°N and Cot Nhi Ha Tho. The last one is often bought as gifts by tourists.
Phu Quoc fish sauce

>>> Read more: Phu Quoc Pepper: Explore the land of the finest pepper in Vietnam

4. Best tips to choose Phu Quoc fish sauce

There are many misleading Phu Quoc fish sauce brands on the current market as well as a plethora of authentic brands ranging in quality and price. To make sure that you buy the authentic and fine quality fish sauce, here are a few tips that you should bear in mind:

  • Manufacturers: As a matter of course, the manufacturers have their fish sauce factories located in Phu Quoc City, Kien Giang Province.
Phu Quoc fish sauce
  • Color: The color of pure fish sauce in Phu Quoc is typically puce.
  • Taste: It has a distinctive taste with strong salty savor, natural richness and sweetness.
  • Nitrogen level: Among the best fish sauces in Vietnam, fish sauce in Phu Quoc contains high protein ranging from 35°N to 45°N that delivers a stronger taste than other products with lower protein content.
Phu Quoc fish sauce
  • Salt crystals: When there is a sudden change in temperature, salt crystals appear in the neck or at the bottom of the fish sauce bottle as a result of the manual fish sauce production process.

>>> There is no need to come to the factories for the authentic fish sauce as you can buy it at Phu Quoc night market

>>> Visit Phu Quoc United Center and book rooms at Vinpearl Phu Quoc hotels for an unforgettable vacation!

5. Visiting famous Phu Quoc fish sauce factories

5.1. Khai Hoan fish sauce barrel house

  • Address: 11 Hung Vuong Road, Duong Dong Town, Phu Quoc
  • Opening hours: 7 am - 8 pm
  • Entrance fee: Free
Phu Quoc fish sauce

Inheriting an over two-century legacy of making fish sauce, Khai Hoan factory is a well-known destination for an original taste of fish sauce in Phu Quoc. The barrel house is well-equipped with a modern system of anchovy-catching boats and hundreds of wooden barrels. Each bottle is the result of a closed fish sauce production process that has been constantly innovated for ages.

>>> Book voucher, combo, tour to Phu Quoc for a fun-filled yet budget-friendly vacation

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5.2. Thinh Phat fish sauce barrel house

  • Address: Road 30, Quarter 1, Duong Dong Town, Phu Quoc City, Kien Giang Province
  • Opening hours: 8am – 5pm
  • Entrance fee: Free
Phu Quoc fish sauce

The list of the leading Phu Quoc fish sauce factories won’t be complete without Thinh Phat barrel house. Thinh Phat has 2 workshops with over 100 wooden barrels that continue to increase the production scale at the present. The entire fish sauce production process complies strictly with the traditional method of making fish sauce in Phu Quoc to maintain the quintessence of the time-honored recipe.

5.3. Phung Hung fish sauce barrel house

Phu Quoc fish sauce
  • Address: 
    • 471 Nguyen Van Cu Street, An Thoi Ward, Phu Quoc City, Kien Giang Province 
    • 69 - 71 Tran Quoc Toan, Quarter 1, An Thoi Ward, Phu Quoc City, Kien Giang Province
  • Opening hours: 9am – 9pm
  • Entrance fee: Free

Phung Hung fish sauce factory features a large production scale with over 100 wooden barrels arranged in 10 rows, professional fishermen, modern boats and automatic line of fish sauce packaging. The closed production process is under a strict standard to ensure the finest quality of each fish sauce bottle.

For the most convenient route leading to Phu Quoc barrel houses and enjoying the entire taste of Phu Quoc specities, it is recommended that tourists choose accommodations in the prime location. Vinpearl Phu Quoc hotels are among the ideal suggestions.

Phu Quoc fish sauce

Staying at Vinpearl Phu Quoc hotels, you are offered a wide array of five-star services and riveting entertainment activities at Phu Quoc United Center. Covering an area of over 1,000 hectares, the world-class Phu Quoc United Center houses a chain of luxury hotels and resorts, VinWonders Phu Quoc - the largest theme park in Southeast Asia, Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc - the largest semi-wild animal care and conservation park in Vietnam, and Grand Word Phu Quoc - a sleepless festival city. Its top-notch amenities promise to take visitors to a fantasy world.

Phu Quoc fish sauce

>>> Visit Phu Quoc United Center and book rooms at Vinpearl Phu Quoc hotels for an unforgettable vacation!

Phu Quoc fish sauce is one of the best fish sauces in Vietnam. Featuring a mixture of sweet, salty, fishy, naturally fatty and earthy taste, it is a wonderful option if you want to bring something peculiar from Phu Quoc Island back home. To buy authentic products and discover how to make fish sauce at the fish sauce factories in Phu Quoc, get your backpack and explore this beautiful island in your upcoming vacation.

>>> For a budget-friendly vacation on Phu Quoc Island, take advantage of the voucher, combo, tour to Phu Quoc!

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