Phu Quoc Island offers a variety of interesting souvenirs to take home from an amazing holiday.
The fact that Phu Quoc Island is also called the pearl island of Asia already indicates, what the pricier sort of souvenirs are made of. Pearls are grown in pearl farms around the island and about 20% of the native production is sold locally to tourists and traders.
Beware of the cheaper pearl jewelry though. As everywhere else, dishonest traders import cheap pearls grown in China by means of freshwater mussels and label them sea pearls. Local experts call these cheap imports “pearls of night market quality”.
Phu Quoc pepper is among the best in Asia. Grown at local pepper farms, you can buy the fragrant spice in all sorts of packages from artfully carved pepper mills to half-kilo plastic bags.
This kind of culinary souvenir will remind you of the picturesque pepper farms of Phu Quoc Island and the time you spent there.
The price of high quality Phu Quoc pepper is a bit higher than what you pay at Saigon’s markets for common black pepper, but the quality difference makes it worthwhile.
If you like Vietnamese cuisine and you want to recreate the unique flavors of Vietnam at home, get a big bottle of Phu Quoc fish sauce directly from one of the factories. They produce the salty, pungent sauce in a traditional way, using only anchovies, salt and patience.
One more popular gift is a bottle of sim wine, made from rose myrtle berries (sim) that are native to Phu Quoc Island. You can buy sim wine in many shops around the island or visit the factories directly, where you can sample the different products before you purchase the one you like the most.
Shells from the ocean, either in their natural form or transformed by the skillful hands of local artisans, carved wood and lacquerware, inlaid with mother of pearl, as well as artifacts made of bamboo or coconut are quite popular keepsakes for travelers to Phu Quoc Island.
Occasionally you might find corals for sale, but please be responsible and don’t buy these souvenirs. The reefs are an important part of the Phu Quoc ecosystem and illegally harvesting corals harms the island.