Island dining

The food found on Phu Quoc island is just as beautiful as the amazing scenery.

By Thanh Van on October 06,2017 11:12 AM

Island dining

photos: thanh van

One of the most interesting things to do when on Phu Quoc Island is to satisfy your taste buds. With rich ingredients and spices, the island is a paradise of both local and international delicacies served from local restaurants to fine dining restaurants.

Seafood is perhaps the top choice for most, and one of the most famous local dishes is gỏi cá trích (herring salad), which is prepared from a fresh herring fillet mixed with spices, onions, fried peanuts, chilli, and coconut, and served with vegetables, rice paper, and sweet and sour fish sauce or peanut sauce. When eating, place some slices of fish, spices and vegetables into a rice paper and make a roll and then dip it one of the sauces. Herring is found in Phu Quoc year-round, so the salad can be enjoyed whenever you visit. It’s viewed as friendly welcoming food from local people to tourists, as its simple, very tasty, and cheap. In the tradition of local people, it’s even more delicious when accompanied by rượu sim, a local wine made from sim fruit.

Island dining

Another top seafood dish on Phu Quoc is ghẹ (crab) Ham Ninh. Ham Ninh is known as the oldest fishing village on the island, boasting pristine beauty and famed for its crab, which is freshly caught and prepared straight away. On Phu Quoc, ghẹ is cooked in different ways and famous dishes you should try are steamed crab, crab curry, bánh canh ghẹ (noodles with crab), and cơm chiên ghẹ (fried rice with crab). Ham Ninh village, about 25 km from Duong Dong town, is the best destination for seafood lovers as there are many local restaurants offering a variety of fresh seafood such as sea urchin, shellfish, squid, shrimp, and fish.

If you’re looking for a nutritious, healthy dish while on Phu Quoc, dishes made from sea urchin would be a good choice. Local people say that sea urchins live at the bottom of the sea, which has a rocky foundation. To catch sea urchin, divers must descend and be careful to avoid its spines. Sea urchin is prepared in simple ways: grilled sea urchin with oil and onion leaves, sea urchin porridge, and live sea urchin with mustard.

In Duong Dong town are many restaurants along Tran Hung Dao Street and 30 Thang 4 Street, offering both local seafood and international cuisine. Ra Khoi Restaurant is a good choice to enjoy seafood, with a wide range of live seafood prepared per customers’ requests at reasonable prices. Meanwhile, Hieu Seafood Restaurant, owned by Mr Hieu and his wife, is a favourite place among foreign tourists for its delicious seafood, reasonable prices, and friendly staff. Another popular place for foreign tourists is the lane along the entrance to La Veranda Phu Quoc on Tran Hung Dao, which is known as backpacker area, with resorts, hotels and, of course, a number of restaurants set up in gardens or by the beach and serving Asian and western cuisine, fast food, and local seafood.

Island dining

Specialties of Phu Quoc you simply shouldn’t miss, though perhaps not as popular among tourists, include bún quậy (quay noodle soup) and bún kèn (ken noodles). The name bún quậy comes from the action of stirring (‘quậy’ in Vietnamese) while making noodles. The dish is made from fresh homemade rice noodles, with broth and pounded shrimp and fish and served with lemon and pepper salt. You can enjoy bún quậy at Bun Quay Kien Xay, a family-run restaurant at 28 Bach Dang, near Bach Dang Park, and also on 30 Thang 4 Street.

While bún quậy is a dish of subtle simplicity, bún ken Phu Quoc is a harmonious combination of flavours. This dish is prepared with a special broth cooked from ingredients such as coconut milk, curry spices and lemongrass, and chà bông cá (boiled fish, which is then kneaded and fried with spices), bean sprouts, sliced cucumber and vegetables, and fermented papaya. Because of its strong flavour, the dish is best enjoyed in the early morning, when it warms the body. It’s available in the morning at Ut Luom’s foodshop at 87 April 30 Street in Duong Dong town.

When you leave Phu Quoc Island, local pepper is a great gift to take home. There are many pepper farms around the island, where you can see green pepper gardens and buy some bottles of black pepper, white pepper, and red pepper, as well as products processed from pepper such as pepper sauce and pepper salt with fried shrimp.

Where to Eat:


Ra Khoi Restaurant

131, 30 Thang 4 Street, Duong Dong Town

Crab House

21 Tran Hung Dao, Duong Dong Town

Hieu Seafood Restaurant

Tran Hung Dao, Duong Dong Town, next to Co-op Mart

Bien Xanh Restaurant

Ham Ninh Village

Vietnamese & International Food:

Pepper Pizza & Grill

89 Tran Hung Dao, Duong Dong Town

The Pepper Tree (La Veranda Resort)

Tran Hung Dao, Duong Dong Town

Q Fusion Restaurant

122 Tran Hung Dao, Duong Dong Town

Xin Chào Restaurant

66 Tran Hung Dao, Duong Dong Town

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