PHU QUOC, VIETNAM - 2006/02/10: Fish Sauce Nưoc Mam Vats -Besides fishing, fish sauce - a popular form of seasoning in Southeast Asian food, is the other main source of income on Phu Quoc island. Giant vats of fish sauce, such as these, are used for fermentation before bottling.. (Photo by John S Lander/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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Fish Sauce Factory

Phu Quoc Island

The distillery of Nuoc Mam Hung Thanh is the largest of Phu Quoc’s fish-sauce makers, a short walk from the market in Duong Dong. At first glance, the giant wooden vats may make you think you’ve arrived for a wine tasting, but one sniff of the festering nuoc mam essence jolts you back to reality. Take a guide along unless you speak Vietnamese.

Most of the sauce produced is exported to the mainland for domestic consumption, though an impressive amount finds its way abroad to kitchens in Japan, North America and Europe.