Travel north along the coast road from central Danang and after 20 minutes you’ll encounter Nam O, a fishing village on the city’s outskirts. Since the 18th century, the village has been renowned for its firecracker production. But in 1995, after the government imposed a ban on firecrackers, villagers needed a new livelihood. So they turned their hands to making one of Vietnam’s most popular condiments, fish sauce. It turned out they were pretty good at it.
Nam O fish sauce is the only fish sauce in Vietnam made from long-jawed anchovies, which are caught by the villagers, dried, then salted for up to two years, giving the sauce a distinctive red-brown colour and a unique taste. If you visit the village, you’ll get a chance to see how it’s made for yourself, as well as trying it in local restaurants.
The Trung Thuy Group is going to be building a new eco-resort near the town, something which will draw tourists to the area. Meanwhile, Danang’s local authority is investing around $11 million of its budget into implementing a community tourism project in Nam O, advertising the village and improving offerings for visitors. These include village tours, sunset coracle rides across Nam O Bay and visits to a snail museum, where visitors will be able to see products made from local molluscs. Meanwhile, at Ngu Ong Temple you’ll find 47 whale skeletons once worshipped by villagers (in Vietnamese coastal culture, whales were once considered gods of the sea; they were never hunted, and funerals were held for any whales washed ashore).
Mr Nguyen Duc Thanh, Strategic Director of the Trung Thuy Group, said: “We are looking forward to developing Nam O into an inviting place in the city associated with the proper exploitation of the nature and cultures, and making this site a “do not miss” place in tour itineraries.”
It is hoped that district authorities will be able to work closely with relevant bodies to create a specific plan for development, and to ensure that the villagers’ livelihoods remain a priority.