Phu Quy is a small island located about 100 km from Phan Thiết city, Vietnam. Phú Quý district comprises a total of ten islands, with Phú Quý Island being the largest. The island is 16.5 km² in area. The district is 120 km south- east of Phan Thiết, 150 km south of Cam Ranh. The north of the island is rocky, while the south consists mostly of sand. Transport routes connecting the mainland and Phú Quý Island are limited. In mid-2010, the cooperative shipping company Fortune put into operation a mid-speed ferry, shortening travel time to Phú Quý Island to approximately 2.5-3h.
Isolated from the mainland, Phú Quý possesses an untamed beauty that cannot be found in anywhere else. But beyond that untamed and wild beauty are the friendly locals and extraordinary seafood that will stick to your memory forever.
Spanner crab, but also known in Vietnamese as King crab, is the most delicious cuisine from the Island of Phú Quý. The meat of the crab is solid and consists of a high level of protein. There are many ways to serve the dish. The simplest way, but doesn’t reduce the wonderful flavor of the crab, is to boil and dip in salt and pepper mixture. Other complicated ways are including boiled, then take the meat to fry with herbs, and then eat with porridge. The locals also take the crab-roe and put it into the porridge. Superb!
However, because the King crab is rare and the over-fishing, the price has been risen quite tremendously.
The most precious and rare seafood of the island, the Lunar crab is loved by the locals and people who visited Phú Quý. According to the fishermen, the crab lives hidden in the coral reef, and they seem to be only appeared seasonally with the south wind. The color of the crab is marvelous. On the back of the crab, there are many circles colored from red to pink. The best time to eat is during the moon season, when the crab’s meat is the best. This is a very different characteristic from other type of crabs, which meat is usually spongy during this time. The locals, because of such reason, call the crab the lunar crab.
The meat of crab is solid, contains high level of nutrition, and most importantly, delicious. The crab can be boiled or grilled directly on the hot coal. The crab, if dipped with salt -n-pepper with lemon, is just irresistible.
Holothurian or sea cucumbers are an invertebrate species, with a shape like a loaf of bread. Sea cucumbers live in the seabed with sand or rocks, and dead coral, usually 20m (6 ft.) from the surface. The Phú Quý coast has a lot of sea cucumbers, which also has a high economic value to the locals. The making process of the cucumbers is very meticulous. In order to process the cucumber, first of all, the cook has to cut open the cucumber about 2/3 of its length and drops it into the boiling seawater. After that, the cucumber will be dried naturally. It can be difficult to spread the cucumbers because they are fragile. However, the bigger the spread, the quicker the cucumbers are dried. This is just the process of turning the sea cucumbers into medicine.
It is also equally difficult to turn the cucumbers into food. First of all, the cucumbers have to be washed three times, using fresh water. Adding some alcohol to reduce the stink, otherwise the dish is unpalatable. The cooked and washed cucumbers have a white, smoothed color. The cucumber is soft, and it is delicious to dip it with salt. Vietnamese usually cooks the sea cucumbers with many herbs, following many traditional formulas.
The most famous seafood in the world, lobster is delicious and nutritious. The meat of the lobsters is solid and sweet that can captivate any food lover.
There are so many delicious dishes that can be made from lobsters. From simple to elegant, the locals do know how to cook them. Steamed or grilled, or to make salad, or soup, any dish with lobsters is good. The meat after removed the shells are white and pink and the flavor is just wonderful.
Gudgeon lives in the brackish water where saltwater meets the fresh water from the mainland. The fish is fresh, sweet, and juicy. The fish is delicious from the inside-out. The easy and locally ways are to make soup with tamarind or to fry with tomato, starfruit and coriander. When cooking the fish, there is no need for oil because the fish has a lot of oil already. The bigger is the fish, the better is the taste. The favorite dish of the city people is the steamed Gudgeon. When the fish is steamed, the rest of the flavors stay inside the fish, in the gutter of the fish. The fish can be cooked with many Vietnamese traditional herbs like black mushrooms, lotus seeds, five-spice powder, apple, and a little bit of noodle.
When caught the big Gudgeons, fishermen usually skin and dry them under the sun. This way, they can save the fish for some important occasions. The skin of the fish is very thick, somewhat 1 cm (1/2 inch). After skinned the fish, the fishermen usually use two bamboo sticks to spread the fish. After the fish is ultra-dry, then it is ready to be preserved and use in another day. The locals also have another unique way to cook the fish. After the fish is dried, they will mince it into small squares and fry the meat with sand. After that, they will put it into the water. In the meantime, they will fry the peanut, and mince the cilantro. After that, they will mix the peanut and the fish with chili, garlic, and fish sauce. The fish is chewy, yet it is fat and sweet. Along with some traditional alcohol, the fish is perfect for food lovers.
Steamed ginger red Grouper
The red groupers are the cuisine of Phú Quý. One outstanding way to cook this dish is to steam it with ginger. The meat of the fish is solid and sweet, and the taste is just unforgettable. The fish, steamed with some ginger, cilantro, scallions, and some soybean sauce, should be cooked under medium fire, so that the fish is perfectly cooked, yet retain some flavors.
The fish’s skin is red, fat in the taste yet also very chewy. There are also many ways to cook this dish. The simplest is to make salad, or you can make rolls from the fish, or make soup out of it. The secret is not to put in so many spices.
Talking about Phú Quý culinary is to talk about tuna. This is not just for the famous seafood but also a delicious fish that makes people named Phú Quý Island the nickname Mackerel Island
Sea snails salad
Sea snails are the most familiar food of the people in Phú Quý Island. A big snail can weight from 1.5 to 2 kg. There are many ways to make this dish. The simplest way is to steam the snails. First of all, the snails have to be removed of all the slime, then steamed, then sliced and dipped with ginger fish sauce with chili and garlic.
The even better dish is the sea snail salad. After steamed and sliced, the snail is eaten with boiled sliced bacon, raw papaya, minced cilantro, onion, roasted peanuts, fish sauce, garlic, and chili. The papaya is mixed with the cilantro, onion and snails, bacon and vinegar. Then on top are the peanut and fried onions. The dish is served with rice paper or prawn crackers.
The seaweed sticks to the face of the seabed rocks, coral reef, and other algae so that fishes cannot find and eat it. The seaweed is very good medicine to cure constipation, which it will create an intestinal environment to help bacillary develops. Seaweed is a nutritious and fresh food, suitable for the elderly, whose can have some stomach-related health issues.
The process is simple. Pouring in some water, boiled, putting in some tamarind leaves, then remove the tamarind, adding in some sugar, turning off the fire, letting the mixture to cool down. The seaweed also made into jelly, cream.