A huge selection at the night market — tanks not necessarily better.
The night market in Duong Dong is jam-packed with tourists chowing down on seafood. On the street running from Tran Hung Dao to the marina at Bach Dang, Phu Quoc, there are live tanks and displays piled high on ice: grouper, crab, squid, prawns, lobster, clams, urchins, scallops, just to name a few. It’s prepared however you like, with a choice of sauces. Before you automatically assume the live tank is the best and freshest choice, one local told us that the seafood in tanks at the night market are given drugs to keep them alive unusually long. We obviously can’t verify this claim, but you know what, we wouldn’t be surprised if it were true. Mind you, hundreds of people enjoy the food every night without a problem.
Tempting night market grill. Another local we spoke to tried to dissuade us from going to the night market and instead recommended we go to a proper (though still local) restaurant for better quality. We thoroughly enjoyed the delicious seafood at Song Xanh. It’s a popular spot for both locals and domestic tourists. A large breezy covered terrace on a great spot overlooking the Duong Dong river, it’s a tidy place with brisk service and someone always close by to refill your beer.
Greens somehow taste better in Vietnam. It’s still a pay-by-weight seafood joint, with all the available live critters on display in tanks, but when we ate there the restaurant was so busy that it was all moving quickly. Deciphering the “English” menu with comical translations is half the fun. Standouts are the whole steamed fish with soy sauce (130,000 dong) and seafood hot pot. It’s definitely better tackling the big meal with some friends. Our plate of stir-fried morning glory, rice, a couple of beers and heaping plate of prawns cost us only 200,000 dong. Don’t confuse it for Song Xanh 2, located just across the street.
Formerly known as Song Bien 123, Com Bac is a cute covered restaurant town with a range of tasty Vietnamese dishes eaten with steamed rice and ideal for sharing: braised fish or crab in clay pot (125,000 dong), seafood fried rice (90,000 dong) and steamed chicken with ginger and spring onions (100,000 dong). The chickens out back are a testament to how fresh the food is. It’s a clean, comfortable spot with wooden chairs that will fit Western backsides – no flimsy plastic stools here. There’s a menu in English but it only lists the boring, generic Western dishes they can make. It’s best to look and point at what others are having, or find the extremely humble owner/manager who speaks excellent English and is so pleased to welcome foreigners.
To be continued…