A Village In Da Nang Preserves Art of Fish Sauce

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The Nam O fish sauce village is a small fishing village situated at the mouth of Cu De River, at the foot of the Hai Van Pass, 17 km northwest of downtown Da Nang city. It is in Hoa Hiep Ward, Lien Chieu District. The village is well-known for the high quality of fish sauce, a speciality of Da Nang and the long tradition of making that product. The village has made fish sauce since 19th century, and villagers still earn their livehood by producing special fish sauce. The Nam O brand of fish sauce tastes very different from similar products from other areas of the country due to its special recipe.

 Nam O Fish Sauce Village

The fish sauce is made of long-jawed anchovies with high protein content and there are two different methods of production: distilling and filtering. After leaving the long-jawed anchovies in salt for a year, the fish sauce is extracted. Fish is mixed with salt originated from Ca Na Beach in Ninh Thuan Province. The grains of this salt are white, well-dried and larger than the salt from other localities of Viet Nam. It is dried on a cement floor for between five and seven days and then stored in pottery vats for a few years before being used to salt the fish. Nam O fish sauce is dark red and has a very nice aroma.

 Nam O Fish Sauce Village

The fish must be freshly caught and cleaned in sea water before being salted. The fish is mixed with the salt and layered in the jars. A grid of bamboo or dried areca bark is put over the top layer. The vat is carefully sealed and kept in a dry, drak and cool place. The fish is stirred after six or seven months. The gird is taken off as a white yeast substance forms on the top.

 Nam O Fish Sauce Village

Fish sauce production in Nam O declined after the country’s reunification in 1975. Villagers then made firecrackers to support themselves and only revived fish sauce production in 1994 after the firecracker banning was imposed. An association of Nam O fish sauce has been established and recognized by the national office of intellectual property of Viet Nam. The association has been working with companied to modern production facilities. Fish sauce making still develops today and earns high revenues for the village.

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