Making Cát Hải traditional fish sauce: two years for one batch

Once being well-known for Vạn Vân trademark early 20th Century, fish sauce making in Cát Hải of Cát Hải district, Hải Phòng city has been maintained. When it comes to Cát Hải fish sauce, more salt is fermented with fish than other sauces, thus it smells strongly.

Cát Hải has been famous for making fish sauce in traditional way. Fish is dried out in the sun and mixed with salt.

It was named “Cát Hải method” with fish sauce getting more salty and smelling  more strongly than other kinds.

To make good sauce, they clean fish and put them into clean vats where fish are stirred everyday. Each quintal of fish uses about 2% fine salt.

Big vats are used for containing fish when making fish sauce as they are thin, well asorb sunshine. Fish are dried out better on yards and have unique smell of fish sauce.

Fish are dried out for two years to become a smoothy mixture of fish and salt, which is then transferred to a basin for the next step of getting fine sauce from fish.

Ngô Quý Biên (Cát Hải, Hải Phòng) said “His family has three generations of making fish sauce. We work very hard. We have to cover the mixture when it rains and expose it when the sun rises. Stirring must be conducted regularly. There are some kinds of fish to make a good sauce such as black flying fish, cuttlefish, anchovy, and mackerel that are rich of protein.

Before having mixture of fish-salt treated, the upper fine sauce is seperated out. “Traditional mưthod gave less yeild than filter bed. We can make 2-3 thousand liters of fish sauce each year”, said Biên point his finger to the filter.

This method is called “extract” fish sauce. The sauce is seperated out from the fish until the mixture of fish-salt dries.

Biên said: “To make smoothie, dark-yellow and delicious fish sauce, it takes us at least 24 months. When sauce is extracted from fish, it is cooked and made. This is the misterious technique of makinh fish sauce in Cát Hải”.

High quality fish sauce has natural smell and a bit sweet at the tip of the tonge, high protein, is full of healthy axit amin and minerals.


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