Nuoc mam, or fish sauce, from Phu Quoc

Tribute to Vietnamese food – part 2


Vietnam is a country of waters: hundreds of miles of coastline, rivers, and huge delta areas characterise its length. Fresh fish and seafood are readily available, and therefore such dishes abound in the Vietnamese cuisine.

Here are some of the mouth-watering seafood dishes that I savoured during my trips:

Steamed squid dish
Steamed squid with spring onion

The one above was my first meal at the night market in Phu Quoc, a great place to be. The squid looked fresh and tasted great. The sugarcane juice went very well with it too. The fact that my stomach was not upset at all after the meal (I am sadly prone to food poisoning when in the tropics) made me return to the same market a few times during my stay. And more seafood dishes were tried.

Steamed squid dish
Steamed squid dish

This steamed squid dish was nice and fresh and served at one of the cheap seafood restaurants on Ang Bang beach in Hoi An. A pile of morning glory was my choice of side dish as usual…

Shrimp and squid with ginger
Shrimp and squid with ginger

This shrimp and squid combo was actually made of two separate dishes but when put on the same plate they fit very nicely together. Again, all seafood looked and tasted very fresh. As you would expect on an island like Con Dao.

Mackerel soup
Mackerel soup

The mackerel soup above was prepared using a mackerel that had been caught under my eyes in Con Dao and then immediately taken to the restaurant kitchen. It couldn’t have been any fresher! The mackerel was cooked in three different ways, and the soup version is the only one I took a photo of. Very colourful and yummie!

Fish in garlic sauce
Fish in garlic sauce

One more from Con Dao: fish in garlic sauce. A bit too much garlic maybe, but it supposedly helps keeping the mosquitoes away. Regardless of any mozzie repellent properties the dish tasted good, the presentation on the plate was very nice and it was incredibly cheap (I don’t remember ever paying more than 180,000 dong for a seafood dish, which is equivalent to less than £5!).

Last but not least in my seafood tribute is nuoc mam, the notorious Vietnamese fish sauce! Largely produced from fermented fish in smelly factories in Phu Quoc, the fish sauce is an ever-present ingredient in the Vietnamese cuisine.

Nuoc mam, or fish sauce, from Phu Quoc
Nuoc mam, or fish sauce, from Phu Quoc

More images and comments about Vietnamese dishes are still to come. Keep following me!

(The first part of this series is here: Part 1)

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