The main (and only) hub on Phu Quoc Island is the town of Duong Duong, about a 20 minute taxi ride from the airport. The town hasn´t got a lot to offer – a couple temples, some mediocre shopping, but, this is made up for with it´s amazing seaside views and night market.
I went around 5 pm to wander along the seafront, a beautiful concrete wall ending in some wild rock formations at the lighthouse.
I retraced my steps back to Anh DuongRestaurant, which I recommend solely based on the fact that is has a gorgeous wooden veranda spilling directly onto the ocean, the ideal location for sunset viewing. I ordered a cold beer and did exactly that, with the fiery red sphere slowly sinking into the darkening water.
Around 7 pm is when the night market really starts hopping. What was a deserted street with covered stands and closed doors suddenly erupts, with fisherman and shopowners laying out the amazing fare on ice for all to see.
Beside the seafood and fish displays, each restaurant has a charcoal grill, ready to be loaded with various sea creatures and vegetables. These guys REALLY know how to do seafood. Behind the grills are plastic tables and chairs aplenty, and menus which thankfully had pictures inside – with hundreds of different preparations and creatures to choose from it´s hard to know what to order.
First, I wandered to check out the different grills – prawns in the half shell, as large as your hand, were being brushed with garlic butter and drizzled with lemon. Tiny beautifully patterned snail shells were being carefully charred to perfection. Ginormous lobster tails were grilling in orderly rows at the back. More picky guests were pointing out which squid, octopus, or fish they wanted to be thrown on the grill.
At the tables, familes and groups gathered as waiters expertly skinned and filleted whole grilled fish, or presented a giant steaming vat of seafood soup for sharing. Large bottles of beer are passed around in the hot muggy air. It is amazing. Such a fun, communal, and dynamic place to enjoy an evening. I finally settled on a place (it´s impossible to choose) and ordered a mix of BBQ seafood skewers with vegetables. The skewers arrived, and as expected the unbelievably fresh seafood was perfectly done.
I wandered some more after supper, checking out the non-food items on offer – local pearls, handmade scarves and hats, postcards, small paintings, locally-made soaps and cosmetics, and packaged coffee and tea. I can highly recommend a visit to the Night Market in Duong Dong for a fascinating peak into the local culture and food.