04 Oct2009


It’s been THAT kind of week. And for me, comfort food is the easy, temporary palliative for the blahs. And there are few dishes more comforting for many Filipinos than fried dried fish. In the tropics, and among large archipelagos, dried fish is one of the most basic and reliable sources of protein. It is simple to make, relies on readily available ingredients such as freshly caught fish and salt from the sea, and only requires a day or two of hot sun and a gentle breeze to manufacture. Then it can keeps for months on end. You have to admit, it can sound and smell a bit bizarre. You cut open a nice fish and remove its guts, then cover it with lots of salt, leave it outdoors to slightly decay and dry out, and occasionally rely on an errant maggot or two to help the decaying process and flavor enhancement. The end product possesses one of the most pungent food smells known to man, which is magnified to “code 9 level” when the fish is fried. :) But if you grew up with it, you probably love dried fish like I do. And besides, ever wonder how you would describe the manufacture of blue cheese? Heehee. So onto the dish…


I took several medium sized dried daing na lapu-lapu or dried grouper and soaked it in water for roughly 30 minutes to remove the excess salt. If you don’t soak this, you risk your dish being too salty, if you oversoak it, the dish will be a bit bland. So gauge your personal salt quotient and soak accordingly. Remove from the water and pat dry with paper towels. Heat up a pan with vegetable oil and fry the fish until cooked but still a bit moist, not the seriously crisp some folks are wont to do with dried fish. I do this outdoors if possible, so that the smell dissipates quickly. We have Australian neighbors and I can only imagine what they are thinking when they get a whiff of this…


Once the fish has cooled enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and shred it into small pieces. Set this aside. Chop up some garlic. I chopped up some scallions because we had it. I added in 3 finely sliced siling mahaba or mild finger chilies, also because we had it, though it barely added spice to the dish. Lightly beat a few eggs in a bowl. And make sure your rice is cooled for several hours after cooking to ensure that it is on the drier side…


Heat up a large wok or saute pan, add some vegetable oil, then finely minced garlic and a few seconds later the shredded dried fish. Add the white parts of the scallions and the sliced chilies and saute for a few seconds more.


Add in the rice and mix well until the dried fish and rice are well blended. This will take a few minutes to heat up all of the rice.


Then add the eggs and stir some more. Some freshly ground pepper might be nice and taste for saltiness so you can adjust with some added salt if necessary.


Serve with smashed tomatoes and chili vinegar on the side and eat happily. :) Here’s a previous post on a very similar take on this dish. Nasi goreng may be more flavorful. Crab fried rice more extravagant. Chorizo fried rice more cholesterol laden. Fried Rice with Bettyq’s XO sauce is also fabulous. But Daing Fried Rice is still one of my favorite comfort foods.

Photos by AT.



  1. jun b says:

    this is torture waking up on a sunday morning and the first thing you see is a daing fried rice ahhhh. should I get up and cook this or continue to dream about it.

    Oct 4, 2009 | 9:24 am


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  3. Marketman says:

    jun, at least they have great dace or other dried fishes in Singapore, you COULD cook this for lunch or dinner today. :)

    Oct 4, 2009 | 9:42 am

  4. kate says:

    Perfect blog to read on a cold, windy Sunday morning! Now I’m hungry and I wish we had some daing for this dish :)

    Oct 4, 2009 | 10:32 am

  5. zena says:

    This is torture. I have been seriously craving daing/tuyo since I left Manila in May. With garlic fried rice and sunny-side up eggs with crispy brown edges. =)

    Oct 4, 2009 | 10:38 am

  6. Angela says:

    This looks so good. Where oh where do I get decent dried fish? Let alone fry it outside in rainy Seattle weather? What is a hungry girl to do?

    Oct 4, 2009 | 10:49 am

  7. Toping says:

    This dish hits the spot. I’m having one of *those* days too. :-)

    Oct 4, 2009 | 10:51 am

  8. Marketman says:

    Angela and other folks in western locales. If you are lucky enough to have a good food hall that carries smoked salmon, they might just have kippers, or smoked mackerel or other fish. The kippers are a pretty good substitute for tinapa. Just buy the stuff, take it home, stick it in a microwave (when your spouse, partner or any human being unused to fishy smells is around), until heated through. Serve with hot steamed rice and chopped tomatoes and vinegar and I swear it cures the hankering for tinapa/daing when it hits. Some scrambled eggs would also be nice with it… :)

    Oct 4, 2009 | 11:00 am

  9. Fred Lopez says:

    Just woke up. I can almost smell what your cooking from your list of ingredients.

    Oct 4, 2009 | 11:01 am

  10. thelma says:

    garlic fried rice, fried daing or tinapang bangus, fried eggs and tomato salad with cilantro
    and serrano pepper… that will surel make my day! a very hot chocolate drink will
    complete the breakfast!

    Oct 4, 2009 | 11:34 am

  11. moni says:

    Yes, MM, nothing beats fried daing and hot choco on a Sunday morning after a storm. Where I am in Leyte, it is fried boneless danggit from Palompon, sikwate and puto maya.

    Oct 4, 2009 | 11:56 am

  12. marosee says:

    hey mm! may i ask what is the difference of this fried rice to the salted fish fried rice found in chinese restaurants? and do you have tips to make it more like that? thanks :-)

    Oct 4, 2009 | 12:36 pm

  13. James says:

    As an American here living in the Philippines and married to a Filipina … I can assure all Westerners that this is the second most horrid smell in the Universe! The first being, of course, bagoong frying.

    But, bleu cheese … ahh … the aroma! :)

    Oct 4, 2009 | 12:59 pm

  14. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Ok, so I miss this for breakfast……but I just had a great lunch….ZUBUCHON!!!!


    Oct 4, 2009 | 12:59 pm

  15. Marketman says:

    James, I feel for you. Hahaha. A couple of filipinos frying dried fish in the states got them sued by the neighbors or building owners. Other residents thought something had died and was decaying in the said apartment.

    Oct 4, 2009 | 1:11 pm

  16. moni says:

    James, that’s the same feedback I got from American grad students whenever we fried dried fish (tuyo) at the kitchen of the East-West Center’s Hale Kuahine dorm in Manoa. They would say, “What’s that stinking smell?” We would mutter, “If you only knew how delicious it is..”

    Oct 4, 2009 | 1:18 pm

  17. Lava Bien says:

    Hahahaha, the Blue cheese thingy hahahaha. I used to wait on table back in college and I could not understand how peoplecould eat it back then but when I got older, hmmm I actually start liking it and also start craving daing which is kinda wierd because I thought my mom was punishing us for feeding us dried fish, yeah I used to hate it. I guess mom is always (for most of the times) right hehehehehe . I eat almost 100% native food when I go back home, from native chicken tinola to daing na bangus, all the brothy soup dishes and definitely NO American fastfood, not even the pasosyal pasta.

    Pics look good. Nasi Goreng with eggs and bilis (or dilis for us). Available @ Mustafa Center/Mall in Little India, Singapore, 24 hours.. eat kamayan style, wow!!!

    Oct 4, 2009 | 2:00 pm

  18. Divina says:

    I love daing fried rice. I know foreigners doesn’t like the smell of it but it brings a lot of flavor to the dish. I think they’re missing a lot.

    Oct 4, 2009 | 2:02 pm

  19. Marketman says:

    marosee, if I am not mistaken, the dried fish used in Chinese fried rice is “dace” – a small fish. I have never made a version like a chinese restaurant, so I am not sure what recipe they use…

    Oct 4, 2009 | 2:05 pm

  20. Gener says:

    This morning is quite terrible for me! i had a breakfast of scrambled egg, baked beans fried rice and a FRIED DRIED SHARK!!! im not aware that my wife prepared it while im still in the bed and she does not know how to prepare this heavy salted shark..I just noticed when im eating it caused of leathery sand filled skin which is not pleasant chewing it! and the smell is pungent and awful..This is my first time eating dried shark and i cant bear the taste..Ouch!…I should read this first and perhaps copied otherwise i had a wonderful breakfast…

    Oct 4, 2009 | 2:12 pm

  21. Marnie says:

    I baked dried danggit wrapped tightly in aluminium foil in the toaster oven. I had to put a slice of lime on the foil to mask the little bit of stink that escaped from the foil. I had to open it on the balcony and, even then, the kitchen still smelled. It was a big production number but well worth it. I haven’t had fried danggit in almost 10 years.
    So, go ahead MM, don’t worry about your Aussie neighbour. Fry those dried fish everyday for all of us who must not offend our neighbours in our adopted countries.

    Oct 4, 2009 | 2:13 pm

  22. jun b says:

    your right MM, the chinese salted fish is equivalent to our daing and they do used it on their fried rice without garlic thou but it is nice nevertheless. although today lunch decided to drive all the way to marina to have nilagang Baka and lechon kawali finishing up with a halo halo. but as always at the end of the meal I will tell my wife I can cook better than this :) or next time have a long weekend in Manila for a meal in milkway or a stroll at Saturday/Sunday market @ makati. Now I’m dreaming …. go back to sleep jun :)

    Oct 4, 2009 | 3:53 pm

  23. Ariel says:

    sarap. one of my favorite chinese food fried rice is salty fish fried rice. I can just eat the rice by itself without any main course meal. Forget about the aussies next door, just enjoy the good rice breakfast.

    Oct 4, 2009 | 4:04 pm

  24. solraya says:

    Comfort food gets to us all at the same time? Or I am at that age when it hits me all the time? :) Kanin Club has this and whenever there is an urge for home cooking, we hie off there.

    Oct 4, 2009 | 4:04 pm

  25. Ariel says:

    when you have meals with fried fish and rice..the diet plan goes over the wall.

    Oct 4, 2009 | 4:05 pm

  26. betty q. says:

    Marosee: my MIL makes this salty fish fried rice for my youngest son. She buys from Chinatown this really stinking dried fish that looks like “espada”. Then she steams it first with slices of ginger (she puts ginger in everything!). Then shreds it. …proceeds to make fried rice…the only thing that she does differsntly from MM’s recipe …really hot wok and smoking hot oil and rice…stir fry …then create a well in the center….adds the egg, green onions…the fish together ….stir fry a bit and mixes together with the rice.

    Oct 4, 2009 | 4:15 pm

  27. Lee says:

    from where I am now.. I am dying for a daing.

    Oct 4, 2009 | 4:25 pm

  28. Lee says:

    And I am not in Great Britain… we are just using their bloody servers… No not the food servers but the Internet thingy server stuff gizmo.

    Oct 4, 2009 | 4:26 pm

  29. marcial bonifacio says:

    Bacalao- can be a decent substitute, if im not mistaken..peace..

    Oct 4, 2009 | 4:52 pm

  30. denise says:

    waaaah makes me miss my grandma’s fried rice…but we do have a steady supply of dried fish here in dubai (either homemade by the aunts or brought from the philippines)…and here walang pakialaman…when the neighbors smell frying tuyo…they automatically close all their windows…we don’t complain of smelling like curry so they don’t complain of smelling like tuyo :D

    Oct 4, 2009 | 4:56 pm

  31. Mila says:

    Salted fish is full of umami goodness, makes dishes so much better. I add some bagoong or patis to a basic tomato sauce and it sort of just creates a different subtext of flavor.
    My only problem is I don’t like waiting when cooking with salted fish. All the soaking, the shredding, argh! I’ve turned to using Connie’s bottled daing na isda in olive oil when I really need that hit of fishy saltiness in my garlic rice.

    Oct 4, 2009 | 6:10 pm

  32. Bong says:

    Funny incident during my military days while stationed overseas! I was on duty as the Command Duty Officer and was summoned to one of our unit’s bachelor quarters on base by the fire department. Apparently, someone thought there was a gas leak in the building so the fire department was summoned and they evacuated the entire building. To make a long story short, I was able to determine along with the fire department that the “gas leak” was the leftover aroma from the microwave in the break room! All the windows were opened and the all clear was given. As the building residents returned to their rooms, I eyed a couple of fellow Pinoys in the crowd and as soon as they saw me looking at them suspiciously, the first thing that one them said was “Sir, I told him not to do it!!! I told him not to microwave the tuyo!!!”…
    I had a great meal on duty that day!!!

    Oct 4, 2009 | 6:17 pm

  33. Marketman says:

    Bong, that is just too funny. And totally believable! :)

    Oct 4, 2009 | 6:19 pm

  34. cumin says:

    Sarap! Daing/tuyo is another dish that tastes better when eaten with hands. Earlier this week, while visiting evacuation centres, I automatically salivated at the smell of evacuees cooking tuyo. Although their living conditions were beyond pathetic, I actually envied them their lunch.

    Oct 4, 2009 | 7:12 pm

  35. butsoy says:

    One time, i cooked tuyo outside , it was early , i thought most of my neighbors should be at work, so di gaanong nakakahiya. I guess the stench was so bad the dogs in the neighborhood started HOWLING!!! I was so scared that the police will knock on my door and say “Mam, there’s a report that there’s an awful smell coming from your backyard” Thank God ! it didn’t happen, but from thereon I never cooked tuyo again! kakainggit ka naman!

    Oct 4, 2009 | 9:19 pm

  36. diday says:

    I can only guess what your Aussie neighbour might comment; ‘bloody ????’. LOL

    Oct 4, 2009 | 10:20 pm

  37. joyce says:

    yummy! i do something similar here but improvise using bottled tuyo fillets and frying the eggs, scallions etc before adding the rice.

    Oct 5, 2009 | 12:11 am

  38. myra_p says:

    Bong, reminds me of when my dad took home a native durian and my mom refused to keep it inside the house. It was put in the garage and our dog barked at it the whole night. Poor thing :P

    Oct 5, 2009 | 1:31 am

  39. Ernie says:

    Oh, I miss daing and tuyo so bad. I couldn’t cook it at home since it stinks up the whole house and lingers for days. I tried cooking it in the microwave but it still smells. I can’t cook it outside because the neighbours might call the cops too.

    Someday I’ll have my Daing Fried Rice again. For now I’ll just have to stare at your pictures while eating my Kraft dinner.

    Oct 5, 2009 | 3:12 am

  40. kurzhaar says:

    I think there is actually a lot in common between Asian dried/salted fish and things like salted anchovies (which many Americans don’t like). I like them both as well as things like Portuguese/Spanish salt cod (bacalao) and Asian fish sauces. But the odour is definitely an acquired tolerance!!!

    A friend of mine had gone over to a relative’s house to demonstrate how to cook a Thai curry, and she had brought some ingredients including a bottle of fish sauce. Unfortunately, the bottle tipped over in the car, which was never the same again…

    Oct 5, 2009 | 4:19 am

  41. Anna Banana says:

    It’s 5 AM now. Thanks to this post, I know exactly what my breakfast will be–daing and sinangag with coffee. Perfect beginning for Manic Monday~

    Oct 5, 2009 | 5:07 am

  42. betty q. says:

    MM and Mila: you know what else is REALlY, REALLY GOOD?? …flame broiled hamburgers made with PATIS! (which I think is one of the secret ingredients to Vera’s or In N Out Burgers). Eons ago, we lived close to Tropical Hut. So, that is the hamburger I grew up with and replicated here at home for several decades and also became household hamburgers that I fed my boys and their friends for several years. Vera’s burger went into town and the boys then turned their noses to Tropical Hut haMBURGERS. I have eaten quite a bit of Vera’s burgers now that I think there is Patis or something closely related to Patis.

    My Vietnamese friend who owns a restaurant shared this ingredient with me. She told me to use Maggi seasoning in the Vietnamese sandwiches and Patis in hamburgers. Once in a while, the boys will have a hankering for Tropical Hut hamburgers but Patis Hamburgers is the hamburger of choice now! Little do they know, that what I did was just omit the salt in the Tropical Hut ones and replace it with PATIS!

    Oct 5, 2009 | 5:16 am

  43. linda says:

    I always order this dish everytime I go to this Malaysian/Chinese resto and it’s exactly like yours with the inclusion of shredded iceberg lettuce and beansprouts.Yummy!

    Oct 5, 2009 | 8:47 am

  44. senn says:

    Hmmm. I’m lucky in this respect. My Caucasian husband and 16 year old daughter love buwad. True, they don’t like the smell when I’m cooking buwad, but when it’s done…boy, how they could eat them dunked in Data Puti vinegar paired with garlic fried rice, but then my husband is an adventurous eater.

    Oct 5, 2009 | 10:29 am

  45. Hershey says:

    Looks like your wok is starting to have its nice patina MM :D

    Oct 5, 2009 | 4:57 pm

  46. sha says:

    yummy… dont have my own kitchen again, darn. Anyway on my transit at Heathrow Termina 5 I took the comfort of having kedgeree for breakfast. That was the closest I could have to Fried Rice.

    Oct 5, 2009 | 7:12 pm

  47. Cristina Gray says:

    Yum! Uncommon subject. Not too many food articles/shows that I know of focus on fried rice as the subject. Much less fried rice with daing. Good one!

    Oct 6, 2009 | 2:25 am

  48. Ted says:

    @BettyQ, i will try that patis on burger patties. I soooooo soooo loved Tropical Hut hamburgers back then. I remember saving my school allowance just to get a taste of their hamburgers once a week. I still miss it, since i haven’t had it in ages.

    Oct 6, 2009 | 6:59 am

  49. denise says:

    bettyq…my dad is from malabon so we put patis on everything! and yes it is good with burger patties!

    Oct 6, 2009 | 8:41 am

  50. Lee says:

    denise: that is why the raw burger mounds are called patties… from patis.

    Oct 6, 2009 | 4:17 pm

  51. Helen says:

    My partner, He’s British, he hates the smell of tuyo being cooked, so we only do it when he’s out of the house, but I mean even the maids doesn’t like the smell of Kippers, it’s too fishy…..

    Oct 7, 2009 | 6:09 pm


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