Oysters, mon amour!

Hard work, experience, passion and good timing are the key ingredients of this story. Served with oysters, of course!

Phil Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American entrepreneur and chef who four years ago moved to Vietnam for many reasons among which the love for the food and getting to know the culture better.

In these four years, he opened a restaurant and bar in downtown Saigon, Barcode, and started a seafood distribution business. Today he is the exclusive distributor of oysters for many luxury hotels and high-end restaurants in Saigon.

“I focus on special products from the sea, langoustines, green lip mussels and other exclusive gems; our specialty though is oysters. I love oysters and I’m here to promote good quality oysters’ consumption.”

What is so special about these oysters? First of all the story.“A French man, Jean Christophe, had been growing oysters for 30 years in France. He moved to Vietnam eight years ago and started breeding them here but it took four years before he could sell his oysters, which needed to adapt to the warmer waters. From the fine de claire he originally imported from France, a new breed was born”, Phil shared.

Phil met with Jean Christophe coincidentally and started developing the business idea together.

“We have a particular way of treating our oysters. Of course we grow them in the Ocean, but then we take them to our fully equipped processing plant. We follow all European standards, we have a sophisticated filtration system, which guarantees the purity of our oysters”, he said. “We use natural techniques to purify them and then we force-feed them micro-plankton, which we grow without using any chemicals”.

“We comply to all laws and regulations and we can guarantee 100% for our oysters; we offer in depth analysis results and it is possible to trace their origin”. Phil added: “The great thing is that they maintain their proteins and vitamins and they win in taste, they really are delicious.”

The biggest challenge he is dealing with is to convince the Vietnamese that his oysters are safe and of a very high standard: “Many Vietnamese have had bad experiences with oysters, they’ve eaten the local ones raw; those oysters are more for cooking, they are thick and tasting very fishy”, he explained. “It sometimes happens that I see people covering my oysters with wasabi, soy sauce or lime hence killing their taste. My oysters’ taste instead is very refined and delicate, it’s a pity to not enjoy their taste”.

Phil said that when he first arrived, the Vietnamese were not really interested in quality but now things have radically changed. “The people here are willing to try and explore, and that’s why I want them to love oysters as I do, I’m on a mission”, he said.

To succeed in his plan, Phil is training the chefs of many of the hotels and fine restaurants he delivers his oysters, teaching how to open them, how to keep them alive and how to maintain them.

He also offers oyster tastings in his restaurant and he has been doing tastings for groups in some hotels. “The hotel or restaurant gets in touch with me and asks me to organize an event with oysters for the clients. It’s been really fun and rewarding so far”.

Phil is happy to assist with consultation on oysters and other luxury seafood products and to organize tastings and learning experiences.

To contact Phil, please refer to this website: