Vietnam Backpack Travel Guide – Should you ever have a vacation in Vietnam, you must have heard about Phu Quoc fermented fish source (nước mắm), the best one in the nation! Talking about Phu Quoc, this specialty, which is worldwide famous for a unique delicious taste, could not be missed. Another special spice of Phu Quoc is high quality pepper, an agricultural product of the local traditional craft villages, sold around the world.
|Ảnh – Andreas Levers|
Pepper Phu Quoc
|Ảnh – AndyTran|
Pepper Phu Quoc is a spices are considered specialty island Phu Quoc in Kien Giang Province, Vietnam. Pepper Phu Quoc is aromatic and pungent, and more especially the dark variety of pepper come from other regions, including the consumption of red. Text is people Phu Quoc periodically harvested ripe and mostly by hand, choosing the berries into 3 separate types (white pepper, black pepper and red pepper).
|Ảnh – Internet|
Planting pepper appeared in Phu Quoc for hundreds year ago and it becomes traditional work in Phu Quoc. Phu Quoc pepper is famous of its spice and hot, especially red pepper. The pepper corn is firm and spice the best in compare to any other one. Only ripe pepper corns are collected (mostly by hand) and pided into 3 kinds: black pepper, red pepper and white pepper.
Planting pepper in Phu Quoc is different from other places. The farmers rarely use chemical fertilizer. Every year, root of pepper tree is banked with new soil that is digged from garden edge in order to modify nutrition used or washed away. That way makes pepper trees grow naturally.
During 2002 to 2006, the price of pepper was decrease seriously; many pepper farms and gardens were left uncultivated and uncollected, the difficult life of farmers became more severe. Despite of that, many farmers decided to maintain their work with pepper garden and looked forward a brighter future for pepper. From the middle of 2007 up to now, pepper price has increased dramatically, Phuquoc farmers cheerfully come back to their hundreds year traditional work. Many pepper gardens appear, green gardens are widen.
|Ảnh – Internet|
Tourist can easily find out and visit a garden on the way to the North, the South or the East of the island. Planting pepper in Phu quoc island is not only a way to make living but also a culture. Keeping pepper tree in the island is keeping traditional work, contribute to the development of economy and tourism of this beautiful island.
Phu quoc fish sauce
|Nước mắm được dẫn chảy ra những thùng lớn (Ảnh – Minh Nguyen)|
The waters around Phu Quoc island are rich in seaweed and plankton which provide food for the anchovy population. This resource has been used in the production of Phu Quoc fish sauce for over 200 years. However, it only since the late 1950s that the product has been recognized outside of its home island, reaching its zenith of popularity between 1965 and 1975. With increasing government subsidies of many industries in the period from 1975 to 1985, the local fish sauce craft lost market share to larger competitors, but in recent years, the popularity of the authentic Phu Quoc product has been rebounding. Currently, Phu Quoc fish sauce production has reached 8 million liters / year.
|Nhà Thùng, nơi sản xuất nước mắm Phú Quốc (Ảnh – Binh Nguyen Thanh)|
Phu Quoc fish sauce is made from anchovies that have been fermented in brine in large barrels measuring 1.5 to 3 metres (4.9 to 9.8 ft) in diameter and 2 to 4 metres (6.6 to 13.1 ft) in height, containing 7 to 13 tons of product. The barrels are made from braided rattan from the local mountains, and can be used for up to 60 years.
While any kind of fish can also be used to make the fish sauce, Phu Quoc sauce is made exclusively from anchovies harvested from waters surrounding the island. During the fishing season (which extends from July to December), fishermen harvest anchovies by net, removing the anchovies from among other fish and items in the nets, and immediately combining them with salt at a 3:1 ratio in water tanks.
Phu Quoc sim wine
|Ảnh – Vịt Già Gian Ác|
Ruou sim (wine made from sim fruit or Rose Myrtle) is popular with the many tourists visiting Phu Quoc Island as it delivers a fragrance and sour taste similar to cocktails. However, the man who made the beverage is completely unknown.
Mac Van Nghiem was born in the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long. He lived with his grandfather who helped inspire the young boy to make new varieties of drinks. His first two drinks were made from banana and glutinous rice.
In 1945 his aunt’s husband, a fish sauce seller, took him to Phu Quoc to reunite him with his aunt but the man died of cholera in Ha Tien on the long voyage to the island. So the young Nghiem suffered a tough life without an adult’s protection as he had to work as a firstly a porter at a fish sauce factory and then as a fisherman.
|Ảnh – themagicdiary|
Then, he joined the revolution against the French and lived in the forest where he had gained a reputation for his talent of making wine from acerola fruits, banana and glutinous rice.
After the war, he was head of the financial committee of Phu Quoc Island and retired in 1990. A chance meeting with an officer from HCMC who came to visit the island inspired him to try to make sim wine.
The officer told Nghiem about a recipe on how to make this drink from ethnic minority people in the Central Highlands. After three months of experiments, the first batch of sim wine came out and received great response from Nghiem’s colleagues and friends.
The wine, which is below 15% proof, is suitable for people of all ages.
As the numbers of customers were rising to crazy levels, he decided to start a business out of making sim wine.
He opened a factory and hired workers to speed up the capacity and to answer the high demands of customers. Nghiem used thousands of sim fruits annually.
However, he was starting to suffer as other rivals imitated his wine and they registered for trade marks to lure customers. Finally, he received support from the chamber of economy and culture to acknowledge him as the creator of sim wine with the registration wine brand named Bay Gao. The wine’s name originates from a love of this wine so its taste delivers customers both the passion and honestly of the true love of one man.
Last year, sim wine of Phu Quoc was voted into the Top 10 most unique wines in Vietnam by the Vietnam Record Books (Vietking).
Nghiem is now 88 but he looks much younger. His youngest son has followed him into the sim wine business to preserve the family’s tradition and his father’s recipe. Apparently the area of sim forest may be narrowed down for construction, however Nghiem said that the local authority has plans to preserve this tree for many years and many factories on the island have planted more trees to maintain the survival of Phu Quoc’s sim wine.
Phu Quoc Pearls
|Ngọc trai Phú Quốc (Ảnh – Kipakka)|
Phu Quoc pearls are very attractive to travelers because of their prefer classic beauty. For not mistaken, travelers need to know necessary knowledge about pearls. Of course, a large budget is needed because pearls are not cheap
Coming to Phu Quoc (Kien Giang), visitors can enjoy the beauty from the pearls island. Nature generously endowed this land of beautiful scenery, safe from the wrath of the sea and good conditions for culturing pearls. Therefore, Phu Quoc pearls were grouped as the most beautiful pearls in the world.
|Ảnh – Nhựt Đỗ Photographer|
It’s not hard to find out the pearls booth and facilities cultured pearls on this beautiful island. In the past few years, the people of Phu Quoc quickly grasp the technique of pearl culture of Australia and Japan to develop the technology of culturing pearls on the island. Traditional pearl with white, milk, some rare pearls are black, amber … With modern technology, people can make pearl into shape and color as desired, such as hearts, drop, square, triangle, diamond …. Therefore, the abundance of pearl on this island could meet the perse demand of tourists. But there’s afact that fake pearls are existed, traveller need to be aware of and should buy pearl at facilities with high reputation.
Phu Quoc pearls are only about 20% of the market on Phu Quoc island, natural pearls even more rare. For connoisseurs of pearls, the most importantly factors are color, luster of pearl. For those who love the classic beauty of pearls usually choose white pearl milk. These kind of pearls are very popular and easy to mix with dresses. There are luxurious pearl, black pearl that more expenive and very beautiful.
A precious pearl can cost of hundred dollars. Black pearls, with the price about $ 1,000 / pearl (10-12 mm). The most prevalent is worth about $50 / pearl. To avoid confusion, travelers should refer to those who have experience in this area and buy at the prestigious address. Two facilities that are usually taken to buy pearls in the tour is the Cá»™i Nguá»“n and Pearl Joint Venture Company Vietnam – Australia. Many souvenir shops on the island also sell the popular pearl type. However, when buying travellers should choose carefully because not return the product after purchase.
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