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Exporting Fish Sauce Not Allowed??

Winnipeg, Canada
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404 posts
105 reviews
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Exporting Fish Sauce Not Allowed??

Hi. We just returned from 3 weeks in Vietnam. We spent the last week in Phu Quoc and were anxious to visit the fish sauce factory to learn about this famous fish sauce they make. We went and purchased 2 small bottles to take home. When they scanned my luggage they recognized the shape of the bottles (I presume since my pack zippers were zip tied shut and not opened) and paged me to come to the baggage area. They asked if I had fish sauce in my bag and I said yes. The guy then told me it's not allowed to take any fish sauce off of the island. I was surprised to say the least. Has anyone heard of this? What is the reason? They rave about this sauce and encourage tourists to visit the factory and buy some, yet it's not allowed to take any home. Would love to know more about this, and let others know as well.

Thanks,

Balks

Tipperary, Ireland
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458 posts
46 reviews
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1. Re: Exporting Fish Sauce Not Allowed??

I was on Phu quoc about 10yrs ago and the same thing happened to us, the rumour was that somebody had it in there bag and the bottle broke and the fumes from the sauce filled the plane, since then no fish sauce on any flight out of the island.......your not the first and won't be the last to get caught........

Birmingham, United...
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1,275 posts
41 reviews
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2. Re: Exporting Fish Sauce Not Allowed??

You can buy some Phu Quoc fish sauce on Amazon;

amazon.com/Boat-Fish-Sauce-40%C2%B0N-2-250/d…

Seattle, Washington
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54 posts
20 reviews
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3. Re: Exporting Fish Sauce Not Allowed??

I've never visited the fish sauce factory in Phu Quoc, but the link KON posted above is the best fish sauce available in the U.S. It is rumored to be made in a factory in Phu Quoc by a Vietnamese American businessman.

Winnipeg, Canada
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404 posts
105 reviews
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4. Re: Exporting Fish Sauce Not Allowed??

Thanks for the replies. But what I am wondering is why isn't it allowed to take off the island? Is it actually illegal, or just something they don't want you to do? And why don't they want it taken? I understand fruit, meat etc for health reasons. Also bottles that aren't sealed with no labels. But what is the big deal about taking fish sauce??

Newcastle
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297 posts
47 reviews
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5. Re: Exporting Fish Sauce Not Allowed??

Up until Virtnam airlines replaced their ATR 72 a couple of ago the smell of fish sauce nearly knocked you out as you boarded their planes so I think poster # 2 has it right, shame though as it is.so good & what you buy in Australia claiming to be Phu Quoc fish sauce is so inferior. I would think of you were doing transfers by boat you would have no problem taking it off the island.

Colval

Ho Chi Minh City...
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657 posts
13 reviews
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6. Re: Exporting Fish Sauce Not Allowed??

As for Durian, Fish sauce is forbidden because of the smell. If you really want it, ask your hotel to put it in empty whisky bottle.

Ho Chi Minh City...
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4,422 posts
4 reviews
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7. Re: Exporting Fish Sauce Not Allowed??

It's not illegal to take it off the island but airlines don't allow you to take it on board in case the bottle breaks - the stuff really stinks.

rural West Aussie
Destination Expert
for Perth
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8. Re: Exporting Fish Sauce Not Allowed??

There's a fermented fish product from Scandinavia which is a prohibited import into the US for similar reasons- a can exploded in a US bond store while the shipment was being cleared and it took months to get rid of the stench.

Winnipeg, Canada
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404 posts
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9. Re: Exporting Fish Sauce Not Allowed??

Thanks so much! That all makes sense. Just wish I knew ahead of time and I would have figured out a way to transport it safely and discreetly!

Cheers all!!

Edinburgh
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957 posts
76 reviews
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10. Re: Exporting Fish Sauce Not Allowed??

Hi Balks, we're going to Phu Quoc in December. Did you go around the factory on your own or with a guide to explain what you were seeing? We're looking forward to it, and thankfully I have next to no sense of smell so won't be overwhelmed by it!

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