|A farmer checking oysters at his farm in Van Don District. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Van
Visitors are familiar with the crunchy squid cake of Ha Long in Quang Ninh. But in Van Don, an island district, there is another popular speciality with high nutritional value: Pacific oyster.
Fifteen years ago, the Pacific oyster was brought to Van Don from Taiwan. Advantages in aquaculture such as a calm sea, many rocky rapids, strong salinity and an ideal habitat, helped Van Don 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 – Van Don the Pacific oyster.
Since 2012, the water surface area for oyster farming in Van Don has gradually expanded, with most oyster farms located in Bai Tu 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, Van Don is considered the oyster capital of Vietnam.
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 Van
Nguyen Van Thang, director of an oyster farm in Van Don 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,” Thang 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,” Thang 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 Van Don 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 Quang 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.
Source: Vietnam News