Located in the North West, 26 km far away from Hai Phong city center, Cat Hai Island District is complex with a total area of 345 km2 and 2/3 of the area is mountainous terrain. There are two famous islands here; Cat Hai Island and Cat Ba Islands.
Cat Hai fish sauce famous because of
Being appeared in Cat Hai from the beginning of 20th century and derived from the branch name Van Van fish sauce. Therefore, as soon as you set foot on this island, the first thing you will notice is the salty and fragrant smell of fish sauce from the producers spread across the island. It is also the unique flavor of this small island.
In the past, many Northern people still recognized Cat Hai fish sauce under the name Van Van fish sauce. Van Van fish sauce is famous across Indochina because of its quality and rare flavor with a protein content about 15% to 40% per liter. from 1959, it was renamed Cat Hai Fish sauce.
The method of production determines the quality of fish sauce and is mainly manual. Fish sauce here is made from mainly Ca Com (anchovies) and Nham, a species with a special taste from Cat Hai’s waters. The fish must be fresh or the natural flavor of the sauce product will be ruined.
The fish is cleaned before being mixed with a certain ratio of salt. The mixture (called chướp) is then placed into containers like wooden barrels or concrete tanks. The top layer is pressed with a bamboo-net and heavy stones. It is very important thing that “chướp” must be exposed to sunlight and sometimes it has to be stirred constantly.
“Chướp” is brewed and sun-dried from 12 to 24 months during the self-ripening process. After that, the fish are totally hydrolyzed, yielding the salty, fishy liquid creating the essential sauce in all family’s meals of Vietnamese.
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