26 Sep2016


I never know the difference. As far as I can tell, blue marlin and swordfish are both billfish, with that distinctive long “sword” jutting out front (it has a bone and I wouldn’t want to get in its way). In Bohol and other Visayan areas it is referred to as malasugui, and when freshly caught, it makes the most amazing kinilaw. My favorite fish for kinilaw in fact, closely followed by a reef fresh tanguigue.

At any rate, this wonderful blue marlin steak was from the Baclaran seaside market, probably a couple of days after it was caught, frozen and then thawed. It still tasted wonderful. Just seasoned with salt and pepper and pan grilled on a hot cast iron pan with ridges. It was cut a little thinner than I would like (1 inch thickness or a bit more is ideal) but it remained moist and succulent after cooking. We served it with a simple lemon butter sauce with some chopped Italian parsely for a simple but delicious dinner. Serve with an orzo salad or even couscous on the side…

I always have just a slight tinge of guilt when eating beautiful wild animals (but I do it anyway, think lapu-lapu, snipes, clams) but watch this video to see what an angry marlin can do to you if you piss it off. Revenge of the marlin, is comforting in a bizarre kind of way…



  1. Dianne says:

    Lemon butter / calamansi butter / calamansi star margarine is just perfect with fried or grilled fish! I love eating this sauce with crispy fried tilapia, especially if the part where the pelvic fins are attached (the tiyan?) is really crunchy. I have always wished that there was somebody who packed and sold only this part like it were chicharon. Yum!

    Sep 26, 2016 | 11:51 am


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  3. millet says:

    that shot is so good i can almost smell that!

    Sep 26, 2016 | 2:45 pm

  4. Monty says:

    I’ve seen the whole fish in the Malabon Seafood Market. The head is gone at that point and some of them are big, but the sizes vary. The belly part is really the best, and that’s what you have there. The meat itself is kinda dry but might make a good ceviche.

    Sep 26, 2016 | 6:16 pm

  5. Khew says:

    Apparently, brining with a 10% salt solution for 15 mins or so gives really nice results which include the prevention of any “white stuff” oozing out. But what I do know for sure is when the raw seafood is less than ideal in freshness, a soaking in milk does wonders to remove any unpleasantness.

    Sep 26, 2016 | 11:02 pm

  6. ami says:

    There have been cases of people getting stabbed by both marlins and swordfishes.

    Sep 27, 2016 | 8:49 am

  7. Kouta Ono says:

    Marketman, I bet this would be good with the kilos of dayap my uncle brought from the province.

    Sep 27, 2016 | 7:59 pm

  8. Thel from Florida says:

    This grilled fish looks so delicious, makes me hungry hi hi hi. Last Friday, we had grilled
    halibut with lemon butter sauce and it was soooo good! Happy eating!!!!

    Sep 27, 2016 | 8:38 pm

  9. Greg Love says:

    Marlin are usually much bigger then Sail Fish and more rare. Here on Siargao the fisherman usually give the heads, innards and tails to local neighbours or keep for themselves. The body of the fish goes to market. The local price here now is about 160 php per kilo in the market.

    The heads, tails and Innards make great fish soup and/or wonderful fish stock and broth boiled and simmered with ginger, carrots, onions, garlic, black pepper, chile and Old Bay seasoning if can get. Sometimes a little wine too :-)

    Sep 28, 2016 | 8:44 am

  10. E J Buen says:

    According to reference.com: ”Although they are both billfish, marlins belong to the family Istiophoridae, while swordfish are the only members of the family Xiphiidae. Visually, the biggest difference is that marlins have a ridge on their back while swordfish have a single dorsal fin… Their range differs as well, with marlins living exclusively in the Atlantic Ocean, while swordfish are found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.” Tellingly, Alan Davidson included swordfish but not marlin in his book on the seafood of SE Asia.

    Sep 28, 2016 | 8:49 pm

  11. Marketman says:

    EJ Buen, then that would suggest all of these if locally caught, are swordfish and malasugue is swordfish, not marlin. Then again, I wonder if it is possible that we are importing marlin, as we do with salmon…

    Sep 28, 2016 | 9:43 pm

  12. Mart says:

    This post reminded me of reading up on an article a few years back that most fish sold in the USA were counterfeit; meaning the fish being sold is of a different species as what was indicated on the label.
    Doing a google search turned up this article from Forbes back in 2013:

    Sep 29, 2016 | 2:52 am

  13. Joanie says:

    my mother is from Eastern Samar. Every time we visit we get the very fresh blue marlin straight from the ocean. They call it sulusugi. We just grilled it and use soy sauce and calamansi. Yum.

    Sep 30, 2016 | 1:55 am

  14. E J Buen says:

    Yes, MM, it is possible that we are importing marlin but more probable that swordfish are being labelled as marlin – to be able to charge higher prices? Here’s a study done in the US. http://oceana.org/sites/default/files/National_Seafood_Fraud_Testing_Results_Highlights_FINAL.pdf

    Oct 11, 2016 | 9:04 pm


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