Unlike other fish sauce production areas in Vietnam, Nam O fishing village produces its sauce from only long–jawed anchovy. The fish are preserved in Ca Na salt with grains bigger than other kinds of salt, from the third lunar month and are used at the next lunar new year. Nam O fish sauce is dark red and has a delicious aroma.
Nam O, a small fishing village of Danang City is situated on the National Highway No. 1 and is famous for its fish sauce. It has special taste thanks to Ca Na salt which is kept for several years. The salt is dried on a cement floor for five or seven days and kept in pottery vats for some years before being used.
The fish must be freshly caught and of medium size. They are cleaned in sea water before being preserved. The fish are not cleaned with fresh water because this takes away their taste and smell and the fish can go off easily during a long time of preservation. The vats must be made from special woods, including jackfruit wood. The fish is mixed with salt and put in the jars in layers. Over the top layer is placed a bamboo grill or dried areca bark. The vat is carefully sealed and kept in dark, dry, clean and cool places away from the wind. After six or seven months, the fish is mixed again. When a white yeast substance forms on the top of it, the grid is taken out. At the beginning of the lunar new year, the preserved mixture is filtered through a piece of silk. Then we have dark red fish sauce with a good flavour.
Many villages neighbouring Nam O try to produce this kind of fish sauce but they are not successful. According to the families with tradition of fish sauce making in Nam O, the production of fish sauce has its own secret and needs special care. One small mistake can destroy its taste. Nam O fish sauce has been well–known for a long time. At Tet holidays or on other special occasions, people in the city and from other regions want to have a bottle of Nam O fish sauce in their home.