28 Mar2008


This has to be the most premium of the premium dried fishes, or at least one of them. A roughly two kilo live weight grouper or lapu-lapu, split open and bathed in a salt solution then rubbed with organic sea salt and left out in the sun to dry, just. Still a bit moist in the meaty parts, this was a feast for the eyes when still wrapped in heat sealed plastic. A few days before our long beach holiday, I was in Cebu on business, and I wanted to bring some dried fish back to Manila for the lenten holiday meals. So I sent Victor, my expert “food acquisition specialist” off to the Tabo-an market in downtown Cebu with a list of things to purchase. He came back with this beauty (and 3 more like it), among other dried fish wonders. The Tabo-an market has one of the best selections of dried fish I have ever seen and it is a pleasure to visit, but you will walk away with an incredibly pungent aroma on your clothing and body… But back to the Daing na Lapu-Lapu. At PHP490 per kilo, this seems like an incredibly pricey purchase, but a little goes a long, long way…


Victor purchased 2 kilos of the fish, or roughly 4 pieces, the one in the photo here being the largest piece. He couldn’t resist this specimen, because it had just arrived and looked so darned fresh, and I have to agree. From afar, if I didn’t tell you it was a dried fish, you might think it was fresh… the eyes just seem so real despite being dehydrated to the max! I am a bit wary of buying large semi-dried fish because I once bought one and a day later, the most humongous worm crawled out of it, just as I was prepping to cook it. I am told this is normal (?!) but I was a bit turned off, if you know what I mean. I suspect they were maggots or some other “I care not to know from where they were born” creatures. But what I can’t see, doesn’t bother me as much, and this dried lapu-lapu seemed incredibly pristine and no creepy crawlies anywhere, as far as I could tell.


Because they are semi-dried, I didn’t want to leave them out and have some flies find a new maternity ward, so I actually put these in the FREEZER as soon as I got home and that is where they stayed until we thawed them at the beach… Next up, two recipes that we did with this incredible dried lapu-lapu.



  1. Maria Clara says:

    They are a good eating fish never had them dried though. They are superstars in Chinese restaurants especially at their lauriat banquet.

    Mar 28, 2008 | 1:55 am


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  3. erleen says:

    daing and ginisang upo….

    chinese style salted fish fried rice….

    Mar 28, 2008 | 3:21 am

  4. eej says:

    MM, what’s up with all these recent alien like photos in your blog? First was the the glowing red alien crab and now you have a spotted, fanged fish ready to attack! hahaha

    Can’t wait for the next monster from the deep photo in your next post! Gulp.

    Mar 28, 2008 | 5:24 am

  5. Ebba says:

    Ummm, sarap, sarap, can’t wait till I go back to Philippines this May. In Quezon Province, they too have good variety of “tuyo and tinapa”. The fishes they used are the fresh catch, not the left-over, so talagang masarap, especially those dilis, wow… then homegrown tomatoes and fresh eggs from the local farm.. wow.. and with green carabao manggo..wah, uwi na ako.

    Mar 28, 2008 | 5:25 am

  6. Maria says:

    Yum-o! I remember having this with laing and langka vegetable in gata.

    Mar 28, 2008 | 7:16 am

  7. millet says:

    that looks incredible, MM! victor is either a genius or a very good student of MM. i would cook that bacalao ala vizcaina-style, after an overnight soak. curious about what you did with this.

    Mar 28, 2008 | 8:43 am

  8. CecileJ says:

    I remember my trip to Tabo-an Market last year. After staying there for a scant 45 mins, the taxis refused to take us as we reeked of dried fish smell!!!!

    Mar 28, 2008 | 9:24 am

  9. Ebba Myra says:

    We had a neighbor – the wife is an american, husband-half american, half Korean. They feed their 6 yar old daughtr “internatinal foods” including dry squid that came from the asian Lola. Whenever she comes to our house (close to the chilren’s playgrond), she brings a whole pack of dry quid. She will then pull some directly frm the plastic bag and munch on it like a beef jerky. The other kids does not seems to mind, but I remember wheneer she tries to talk to me… ohhhhhlalala, the opungent sweet smell of the stuff is aromatic.. I guess I guess I should be more welcoming since I eat tuyo, bagoong, etc..

    Mar 29, 2008 | 6:35 pm

  10. tei says:

    where can i buy here here in manila? are these available at the salcedo market?

    Mar 30, 2008 | 12:47 am

  11. carol says:

    we are looking for possible buyers of grouper…?

    Jan 5, 2009 | 4:58 pm

  12. Romeo Gameng says:

    Looking for a buyer of fresh fish (grouper or lapu lapu)

    Jul 16, 2009 | 5:22 pm


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