Pacific oysters: a Quảng Ninh speciality

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A farmer checking oysters at his farm in Vân Đồn District. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vân

HÀ NỘI — Quảng Ninh Province is a worldwide famous tourism destination known for its spectacular natural landscapes, culture, and seafood.

Visitors are familiar with the crunchy squid cake of Hạ Long in Quảng Ninh. But in Vân Đồn, an island district, there is another popular speciality with high nutritional value: Pacific oyster.

Fifteen years ago, the Pacific oyster was brought to Vân Đồn from Taiwan. Advantages in aquaculture such as a calm sea, many rocky rapids, strong salinity and an ideal habitat, helped Vân Đồn to raise and develop Pacific oyster.

Therefore, after selling to overseas markets, with Taiwan being a big export market, it is even favourably given the brand name – Vân Đồn the Pacific oyster.

Since 2012, the water surface area for oyster farming in Vân Đồn has gradually expanded, with most oyster farms located in Bái Tử Long Bay.

The district is considered the largest area in the country in terms of oyster production and scale with about 4,000 hectares of oyster farming. The output supplied to the market is over 70,000 tonnes a year.

Because of its high concentration of oyster farming, Vân Đồn is considered the oyster capital of Việt Nam.

Oysters are molluscs that eat plankton and algae in sea water, so there is no need to feed them during the farming process. However environmental inspection work must be carried out.

Workers process oysters after harvesting. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vân

Nguyễn Văn Thắng, director of an oyster farm in Vân Đồn District, said that water was the oyster’s habitat, so controlling that environment to guarantee the quality was very important.

“We have to ensure that oysters live in a clean environment,” Thắng said.

“We have to collect water samples, then send them to a standard laboratory for examining every two weeks.

“Currently, we apply European standards to control quality, so the water must be free of heavy metals, poisonous algae and bacteria that cause intestinal diseases.”

The oyster also must be tested frequently to ensure the meat’s quality.

“Sometimes the water is clean, but the oyster maybe contaminated previously. Hence if there are any harmful substances inside the oyster meat, we need to be warned,” Thắng added.

Besides beautiful natural landscapes, the oyster farms have become an attractive place for both domestic and foreign tourists to experience. No trip is complete without trying an oyster.

It is best to taste the oyster when it is fresh from the sea. But the oysters can also be a good ingredient in the hands of locals making special dishes, including fried egg with oyster and sour oyster soup.

Another popular dish made from Vân Đồn oyster is oyster floss. Oyster floss has a typical sweet and rich flavour of oyster but does not smell fishy. Oyster floss is often served with rice.

To elevate the value of the oyster, producers in Quảng Ninh Province have invested in technologies and equipment to produce other products from Pacific oyster like oyster sauce, oyster cake, spring rolls, and even oyster extract. — VNS

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