Unique specialty “eat fresh, eat alive”, eat once, remember forever in Phu Quoc


Selected from the freshest herring, the famous salad of the same name in Phu Quoc makes diners remember once and for all because of its coolness, sweetness and softness, and aroma.

Phu Quoc is not only the most famous tourist destination in the country but also attracts visitors with its rich and attractive cuisine with a variety of delicious dishes, including herring salad.

Previously, herring salad was a rustic dish of Phu Quoc fishermen. Because they do not have the conditions to process and want to enjoy the fresh and sweet taste of sea fish, they create their own salad and use it at home. Gradually, herring salad became a local specialty, known and loved by many tourists.

Unique and special
Herring is a typical seafood abundant in Phu Quoc (Photo: Tam Pham).

Unique and special
Herring meat is delicious and healthy, so it should be processed into many dishes such as grilled with guise leaves, fried, cooked with sour soup, braised with salsa, ketchup, fried, … but the most delicious and famous is still herring salad. Photo: Phuocws Taans).

According to experienced people in Phu Quoc, herring here is available all year round. However, the time from July to August of the lunar calendar, when the southwest wind blows inland, is the largest herring crop. At this time, the fish is delicious, the meat is fatty, sweet and fragrant, and the price is also “softer”.

To catch herring, fishermen have to travel by boat, dragging the basket boat far from the shore in the early morning. When about 10km from the shore, the fishermen moved into the basket boat and dropped the net to surround the whole area. After a few hours, when the fish was caught in the net, the fisherman collected the net and brought the boat full of fresh fish to shore.

Coming to Phu Quoc, visitors can buy fresh herring or ready-to-eat foods from this fish such as herring fillets, canned fish, … at large seafood markets such as Duong Dong market, An Thoi market or Ham Ninh market. Depending on the time, herring is sold at prices ranging from 170,000 – 200,000 VND/kg.

Unique and special
Phu Quoc herring salad is made from simple ingredients but requires meticulous processing (Photo: Nguyen Vo).

Anh Viet – owner of a restaurant in TT. Indochina, Phu Quoc said, herring salad costs from 120,000 VND / serving for 2-3 people, with raw vegetables, cucumber, rice paper rolls and dipping sauce. In particular, unlike Nam O herring salad (Da Nang), this famous Phu Quoc salad has its own way of processing with a delicious taste that is difficult to mix.

To prepare an attractive Phu Quoc salad, the chef must choose the herring that has just been caught from the sea, still fresh, the same size, about two fingers. 

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Herring salad wants to be delicious, you must choose fresh ones, ensure sweet and fragrant meat (Photo: Phuocws Taans).

Herring after buying is cleaned, scaled, cut off the head, gutted, boneless, then washed with water. People here often apply a small secret of adding a little salt and vinegar when washing fish to remove the fishy smell.

After cleaning, people cut the fish into thin slices to eat. In addition to the main ingredient is fish, this salad is also processed with other ingredients such as sliced ​​onion, red onion, chili and grated coconut, seasoning to suit diners’ taste. Mix fish and ingredients with sour sauce made from vinegar raised with ripe guava. Then season with a little salt and sugar to taste sweet and sour. 

In addition to the salad that requires delicate processing, the thick dipping sauce is also considered the soul of the dish. Locals use the same kind of Phu Quoc fish sauce to make dipping sauce, combine with lemon, sugar, garlic, and chili and sprinkle with crushed roasted peanuts.

Unique and special
The standard dipping sauce of Phu Quoc herring salad is a combination of sour, spicy, salty, sweet flavors and a little bit of fat from roasted peanuts (Photo: Manh Tuan).
Unique and special
Diners enjoy a herring salad with some vegetables such as lettuce, herbs, cinnamon, coriander leaves or famous forest vegetables in Phu Quoc (Photo: Nguyen Kim Ngan).

To enjoy this dish, diners take rice paper, arrange raw vegetables on top, add a piece of herring salad that has been soaked in spices. Then gently roll the salad, cover with thick dipping sauce and then put it in your mouth to enjoy. This way of eating helps to reduce the fishy taste of the fish and harmonize the ingredients inside.

The soft, chewy rice paper blends with the cool taste of vegetables, the soft and sweet taste of herring and the aroma of grated coconut and roasted peanuts that make diners remember once and for all.

Unique and special
Herring salad is a “eaten raw” dish that many diners are quite wary of when enjoying it for the first time. However, if eating, everyone must be fascinated by the sweet and strange taste of this famous specialty of Phu Quoc (Photo: Oanh Le).
Unique and special
From the rustic dish of Phu Quoc island, herring salad has now become a specialty that attracts tourists from all over the world, spreading to many provinces and cities across the country (Photo: Phu Quoc herring salad in District 1).

Herring salad is a dish to enjoy directly, without going through any cooking process, so it still retains the freshness and flavor of the sea.

At some restaurants in Phu Quoc, diners when eating herring salad will be served with a glass of sweet and bitter sim wine. The island’s wine not only helps to balance the flavor of the dish, but is also considered a folk remedy that can reduce bone pain and digestive diseases.

Photo: Internet (vinlove.net)