Restaurants on Phu Quoc Island
Despite being a lonely island in the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc has become a cosmopolitan foodie heaven. From German sausages to English pub food to New Zealand ice cream, you will find it all on Phu Quoc. That said, this is Vietnam, so you ought to check out the Vietnamese food while you are here, especially the seafood. For Vietnamese people, Phu Quoc is famous for its fish sauce, its pepper, and its seafood. Phu Quoc specialties include grilled scallops, seafood hotpot, herring salad, abalone cooked in the shell, sour fish soup, squid soup or in fact any dish containing squid. For a good introduction to Phu Quoc food, check out the day and night markets in Duong Dong, or in other urban centers on the island. You are sure to find a stall selling something interesting to eat, and this being Asia, some of the best dining is found on the street.
By far the highest density of restaurants and bars can be found in Duong Dong and along the long, long, Long Beach. Elsewhere on Phu Quoc, the next largest concentration is clustered around An Thoi in the south. As well as the independent establishments, just about every hotel and resort has its own restaurant and bar and that is where you are likely to do most of your eating and drinking. Broken down by region and category (independent/resort based), here are some of the most popular bars and restaurants on the island:Duong Dong and Long Beach Sai Bao Beach Resorts
Buddy Ice Cream and Info Cafe
Looking like a fast food diner from the 1950s, Buddy Ice Cream is an institution for travelers in Duong Dong. If you are in need of real ice cream and comfort food, this is a good place to be. Rohan the Australian owner has lots of information to share about Phu Quoc.
Diners have raved about the wood-fired pizzas at this restaurant, located near the Saigon Phu Quoc Resort in the heart of Duong Dong. Prices tend below $10.
The Dog Bar
Named possibly in honor of the distinctive razorback Phu Quoc canine is the Dog Bar, a popular watering hole in downtown Duong Dong next to Chez Carole. Australian owner Jimmy is proud of his beer, which is apparently always ice cold. You don't often find ice cold beer at out of the way bars and restaurants in Vietnam, which is one reason this place is so popular. Some other reasons are the pool table, darts and the variety of sports on TV.
Duong Dong Market and the Night Market
Food blogger Gastronomer reckons that "Open-air and indoor markets are the heart of the Vietnamese community." In a country where refrigerators are still rare, many people go to the market every day to buy produce. Vietnamese markets have a raw edge and an often pungent smell, and are not recommended for the squeamish. This is a country where roast chickens are sold with the head still attached, and the seafood stalls are crammed with species which look like they came from another planet.
Next to the recently renamed La Veranda Resort, this place has a pub-like feel and can get rowdy at night. As in many bars in Vietnam, the pool table takes pride of place. The hamburgers are supposed to be good here. You can get a seafood pizza for 70,000 Dong (about US$4).
As Phu Quoc goes, this is about as rocking as it gets. Set between Charm Hotel with its own nightclub and Long Beach, this bar is surrounded by some of the top resorts on the island. Eden, perhaps Phu Quoc's best nightlife venue, is a short distance away.
Le Deauville is a French restaurant and bar (make that two bars, which are called Le Bar and Jade's Bar) near Kim Hoa Resort on Long Beach, in the heart of the action on Phu Quoc. Tables stretch right to the water, and seafood is rightfully the main attraction here.
Pepper’s Grill is in the middle of Duong Dong town right across the road from the German bakery. In this part of the town you can see other good restaurants such as Ganesh, Chez Carole and Bich Nuyen.
On the walls are posters of soccer legends Wayne Rooney and David Beckham and the 1990s English band after which this restaurant is named. For homesick travelers, this is a little European oasis in the middle of south-east Asia. It is no surprise that the owners are an Englishman named Stephan, and his Vietnamese wife Yum. Yum makes some yummy food, while Stephan deals out the music and sport and the opinion and chat.
Palm Tree Restaurant
Vegan and vegetarian food is not easy to come by on Phu Quoc, unless you consider devouring a couple of dragon fruits in Duong Dong Market a meal. For starters, nuoc mam (the essential Vietnamese condiment) is made from anchovies, and seafood is a big deal here. The Palm Tree Restaurant on Long Beach is one of the few vegan/vegetarian havens around. It serves tonnes of seafood of course, but it will cook nom-meat on request.
Pho is of course the food of the nation for Vietnam, and it has come along way from its origins in the mild and genteel north, to this remote corner of the wild and freewheeling south. Essentially consisting of rice noodles in a beef broth with thin cuts of beef and plenty of garnishes, pho is a great way to start the day. It is a great way to finish the day too, particularly after a night of heavy drinking.
When we say that Ai Xiem restaurant is set on the beach, we mean it. Literally. The tables and chairs are set up on the beautiful white sands of Sai Bao Beach, and the waitstaff dash around bare foot. The location is amazing, but the seafood is the main draw here.
There is not a lot to do on Phu Quoc at night, so one pastime for visitors is to walk along the beach (it is a lot nicer than walking along the road) looking for action. It’s worth dropping into other resorts to do see what is going on there. Even if you cannot afford to stay there, it is interesting to explore the grounds of the four and five-star resorts, and have a cocktail or even a meal on their premises. With their lush grounds, fragrant flowers and free wifi, they usually make good places to hang out for a few hours.
Beach House Restaurant
Generally, the bars run by westerners provide the things westerners crave for in Vietnam, for example cold beer and good music and regular sports updates. Having a foreign host also allows you to vent off spleen and speak your mind, particularly if you are having a “Bad Vietnam” day. Such a host is Mike, the English owner of Beach House restaurant and bar. He has been known to help out a foreigner in need, and he makes good fish and chips too!
Lien Hiep Thanh Hotel Restaurant
Lien Hiep Thanh is often called “The Family Resort” in recognition of its friendly, communal atmosphere. If you have trouble finding the restaurant, keep an eye or an ear out for the two caged monkeys which are kept right beside it.
Pepper is pretty much the main crop grown on Phu Quoc Island and it is prized across Vietnam for its spiciness. Dedicated to this precious resource is the Pepper Tree restaurant at La Veranda Resort, on Long Beach. This is a high end establishment with stunning views and a French colonial décor. Naturally pepper features prominently in its culinary creations, along with seafood and tangy nuoc mam.
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