My uncle (Bac) Nguyen Quoc Thanh didn't have such a romantic view of fish sauce. On the contrary, he saw it as a national security issue. From 1960 to 1963, my father and uncle were assigned to important posts in the South Vietnamese army and navy, respectively: Dad served as governor and chief of province of Phan Thiet, the coastal seaport and region near Ho Chi Minh City (then, of course, Saigon) that produces the majority of the country's fish sauce; Bac Thanh, meanwhile, was appointed commander and chief of district of Phuquoc (or Phu Quoc), an island off the coast near the border of Vietnam and Cambodia, renowned for making the best fish sauce in Vietnam. The waters around Phan Thiet are home to a wide variety of marine life, including mackerel, squid, and shrimp, which are blended together in the region's numerous processing plants to create a sauce with a uniquely robust taste. By contrast, Phuquoc fish sauce is made exclusively from ca co'm, a pale, nearly transparent type of anchovy common to the area. Its delicate flavor and aroma yields a lighter, more refined product.