Vietnam/Phu Quoc: Phung Hung Fish Sauce Factory

Phu Quoc is famous for its production of fish sauce, a staple of Vietnamese and many other southeastern Asian and Chinese cuisines. It is a condiment seasoning, produced by taking vast amounts of small fish, salting it, and then fermenting it in massive wooden barrels for several years like a good cognac or whiskey, except the stench around the fermenting barrels is beyond palatable. Fish sauce was actually originally created here along the coastline of todays Vietnam/Cambodia/Thailand and only later made it to China (where a fermented bean sauce was used). Small, strong-tasting fish like anchovy or mackerel are caught off the Phu Quoc island, mixed with salt at 10-30% and placed in huge red barrels to ferment, afterwords molasses and natural flavoring and spices are often added. Phung Hung Factory is the most famous on the island and beyond – both the fermentation facilities and show room with tastings can be visited. And there are some super seasoned and refined fish sauces, like choice whiskey or rum, that are made and sold here!