Monday, 20/05/2024 16:02

Sea-ing and tasting something special on Phú Quý Island

Thu Hà

After a year studying in the UK, Nguyễn Thu Thủy and her boyfriend in Hà Nội decided to discover Phú Quý Island in the southern province of Bình Thuận.

"Phú Quý is not only well known for its ravishing natural beauty but is also rich in specialties such as fresh seafood all at an affordable price,” said Thủy.

“I love travelling so I have eaten seafood in many restaurants along the country but it is the first time that I have had such fresh seafood, a gift by the sea, on the island. Including sea cucumber, grouper, king crab, moon crab and many different sorts of snails.”

The food is so rich and bountiful, in the past it was given as a gift to the king.

Steamed grouper is among the most popular dishes on Bình Thuận's Phú Quý Island. Photo taucaotoc.vn

Thủy said when the couple first arrived a tour guide named Trần Phượng led them to Long Vỹ Restaurant, famed for its grouper fish.

She said: “We ordered a steamed grouper with ginger and we all agreed that it was so natural and tasty, such a delicious fish. 

“We enjoyed its buttery tough skin and white, firm and fragrant flesh. It was a winner even for the most difficult-to-please foodies.” 

Foodies also love one of the island's specialties: fresh moon crab. Photo taucaotocphuquyisland.com

The young tour guide Phượng enthusiastically introduced the couple to fried red grouper with tamarind sauce, another specialty of the restaurant.

But later she agreed that they should save room for sea snails. “If you forget to enjoy snail, you still haven't arrived on the island,” she said.

The snail dishes include melo melo snail salad, steamed conch and boiled cone snail dipped in wasabi. All are a draw for those who love trying unusual foods, said Phượng.

Visitors will never forget the amazing food when visiting Phú Quý Island. Photo viettourist.com

She told an interesting story about restaurant owner Dương Phùng Linh, who has volunteered to build a 'lake' on the sea to raise groupers. In the 2000s, many people thought it was impossible. But with determination and effort, he used special stones to build the enclosure along the beach, drilling holes to let seawater in and out.

His effort has paid off. Even after a large storm, Chanchu, hit the island in 2005, Linh’s 'lake' remained safe, and he eventually made VNĐ200 million from selling his first groupers.

Linh’s model has later been followed by many others, Phượng said.

In the afternoon, the group enjoyed a dinner of steamed king crab on the boat. “The fresh crab is sweet, fragrant and tough compared with others. It really impressed us for its affordable price at only VNĐ580,000 per kg compared with VNĐ1 million at a mainland restaurant,” said Thủy.

Phú Quý island has impressed visitors with its stunning landscapes and fresh seafood. Photo vietjetair.com 

The boatman said that according to legend, there was a king who went on patrol along the central sea region and saw fishermen netting a strange crab with a pink-red colour. He tried it and said he enjoyed it a lot.

“From that time on, the king commanded coastal localities to offer the crab to him, so locals call it king crab,” the boatman said, adding that the crab lived in deep, clean water with golden sands, so its meat -- and particularly its fat -- has a special flavour that foodies will never forget.

The group also enjoyed steamed scallops with laksa leaves dipped in mustard and soy sauce as well as wood-grilled scallops topped with pork fat, onion and peanuts. These are best when dipped in a sweet and sour sauce.

The restaurant owner herself brought the guests a gelatin dessert that is good for thyroid health.

On the third day on the island, Thủy’s group enjoyed octopus, squid and moon crab, all of which had just been caught from the sea.

Tour guide Phượng said the ideal time to visit Phú Quý is in the first six months of the year. She noted: “You can discover the natural virgin beauty of the island without facing bad weather.” VNS

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