22 Nov2006


I have only eaten fried Samaral or Spinefoot or Rabbitfish (S.Javus). Its skin sometimes sam2has a weird texture when fried but the flesh itself is firm, clean tasting and great with vinegar or other sawsawan. These specimens were from the Batangas market the other weekend and you can see from the eyes just how fresh they were (clear eyes, fresh fish, most of the time). An incredibly thin fish, my previous post on Samaral suggests they come from the same family as danggit (talk about anorexic sea dwellers) which are, well, FLAT … Nevertheless this is considered a sort of premium fish in the markets today and at PHP140 a kilo it was pricier than some of the other choices in the market. It is found in waters from the Philippines through Indonesia and onto Northern Australia. I almost always consume at least one whole fish for myself since the meat to bone ratio is relatively low…



  1. millet says:

    i’m always confused about the difference between samaral/kitang/kitong and danggit. kitang is supposedly the prime variety of the two (because it is usually fleshier?) but am not sure. those in the know, though, insist that there’s a difference. i’m almost always turned off by the bitter taste that’s left in the abdominal cavity, no matter how thoroughly the fish have been cleaned.

    Nov 22, 2006 | 11:57 am


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  3. lee says:

    i agree with millet about the bitter taste of their “tiyan”. Cleaning these type of fish is an ordeal with their sharp fins and ultra stinking innards….

    Nov 22, 2006 | 12:22 pm

  4. tulip aka pinaygourmand says:

    I used to think that Samaral and Danggit is the same. We call it Samaral here in Luzon,Danggit in Visayas and Kitong in Davao and I thought Danggit is a “baby” Samaral. Well that was years ago, apparently Samaral and Danggit belongs to the same family. Kitong being different from Samaral…hmm, I think its the same if not, same family then. They are more than 5 species under the same family if Im not mistaken and most of the time even fishermen doesnt really know the difference.

    Nov 22, 2006 | 1:46 pm

  5. sam says:

    M, this post brings back nice memories of childhood summers, camping out on the beaches of northern Zambales. The fishmongers offered freshly caught samaral right off their little boats at the cdrack of dawn. MM, fried samaral eaten with julienned green mangoes, chili, chopped onions and fish sauce, and steamed rice spells summer bliss. I also like it rubbed with a bit of sea salt and cracked peppers and grilled over hot coals. Millet, I remember a cousin poking a tiny slit in the belly with a knife tip, then using kitchen shears to open up the belly, cutting through the bones. Slitting the belly with a knife cuts up and cause the innards to spill. Using shears will allow you to cut around the unpleasant parts, making it a breeze to take out the innards. Give it a try :)

    Nov 22, 2006 | 2:21 pm

  6. Jaja says:

    I always thought that samaral/kitang/kitong and danggit are one and the same. They all look the same to me=) I have to re-orient myself about the fish variaties found in our markets. Whenever we have this at home, we always have it “sinugba” or grilled paired with blanched Camote tops and tomatoes salad with a vinegar/sugar/salt and pepper dressing. Yummy!

    Nov 22, 2006 | 4:00 pm

  7. gonzo says:

    wow that fish looks ultra fresh. reminds me of childhood summers as well. why is it that the best tasting fish one has ever eaten is the one he has caught himself? – as anybody who has gone fishing will attest..

    Nov 22, 2006 | 4:44 pm

  8. MRJP says:

    I think I had grilled samaral in “Dampa”, if I’m not mistaken. At first I didnt know what it is called so I used to call it as “big fresh danggit” because they look alike. As for kitang, isn’t it a fresh water fish? I thought that kitangs live in the river. If so, could they still be related to samaral?

    Nov 23, 2006 | 12:19 am

  9. wil-b cariaga says:

    I like this as sinigang but only tomato for acidity, with ginger onion and patis. . . its great, we call this fish “malaga” in Ilocos and it has a nice taste but be careful not to make the soup bitter. . . clean fish, remove the insides. . . hehe

    Nov 24, 2006 | 10:42 pm

  10. Sharphead says:

    I have a taste of this in ZAMBOANGA CITY, yummy! very fresh

    Nov 27, 2006 | 9:43 am

  11. Anthony A. Prodigo says:

    Would you be able to send me a picture of a Kitang Fish… or more info about it?

    Jan 12, 2008 | 2:02 pm

  12. Danny B says:

    In Dagupan City where I grew up we call this fish ‘malaga’. I was assigned to Southern Tagalog when I was a salesman and so I got to taste their samaral from Palawan, Marinduque and Batangas. The ones from Dagupan are the best, in my opinion, because the flavour was stronger whereas those from Southern Tagalog, while being a bit bigger, were more bland. This fish is great pan fried with just salt seasoning it or as a sinigang. It is premium priced even in Dagupan.

    One of my favorites!

    Feb 2, 2008 | 9:33 am

  13. vikylou says:

    I miss eating kitong/samaral and danggit. It is so delicious specially if kitong is cook inihaw (or sinugba, as we call it in cebu) style.Too bad you cant find those kinds fish here in the US….:-(

    Feb 28, 2008 | 6:02 am

  14. nouveau says:

    does anyone of you knew somebody that markets this kind of fish (Kitong)? pls do send a mail @ markbasit@yahoo.com. we are looking for buyers:.

    Mar 17, 2009 | 1:42 pm

  15. paeng says:

    This fish is great either grilled or cucido..

    Grilled with some garlic, salt and pepper, butter and oyster sauce wrapped tightly in foil..

    Cucido is bringing some water with salt, tomatoes, finger chillies, onions and leeks to a boil then add the fish.. Simmer for a few minutes until the fish is cooked.. (No blood indicates a cooked fish) Turn the heat off then squezze some calamansi juice for flavor.


    Jun 9, 2009 | 3:51 pm

  16. kim says:

    Yup! it’s great for cucido specially with siling bicol and some pechay leaves. It’s not kitang though. It’s called kuyog in batangas. samaral is more round, similar to kitang. The one in the picture is kuyog, it is more elongated in shape.

    Sep 4, 2009 | 4:39 pm


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