After a long day in Culion and a 90 minute banca ride back to Coron, we landed at the pier behind the local market late afternoon and decided to see if there were any fish on offerâ€¦ The market was HOPPING and the selection was quite impressive. I guess locals buy their dinner an hour or two before they cook it up and I was so thrilled that I decided to purchase a fish and hope the cook back at the hotel would agree to prepare it for usâ€¦ The problem was, what fish should it be? Up top, these small salinyasi, were the fish leaping out of the water in the early morning banca ride to Culionâ€¦ sort of like little dilis or anchovies, I had never eaten these particular fish before so we passed on them despite their freshness. The next batch of fish were incredibly fresh looking tulingan at just PHP40-50 a kilo but the minimum size was about 2 kilos or so and it isnâ€™t a favorite of mineâ€¦ Several vendors had reef fresh talakitok that are always an easy choice fried, in soups, with sauces, grilled, etcâ€¦but I passed on the first few batches of this fish, pictured belowâ€¦
Lapis, the fourth choice, looked interesting but seemed to be a bit big for our dinner requirements.
An amusing local name adidas or tsinelas (flip-flops) for these fish meant a definite passâ€¦
Isdang bato and a warning from a local that these were third class eating fish meant skipping these as wellâ€¦
Beautiful, colorful and abundant, these loro or parrotfish seemed to nice to fry up but I wasnâ€™t bowled overâ€¦
The glutton in me took a second look at this gi-normous 6-7 kilo bahura or jack/talakitok but I only needed dinner for two people so I circled back through the marketâ€¦
â€¦and ended up with this 1.2 kilo yellow spotted talakitok that was incredibly fresh and would be perfect for dinnerâ€¦assuming our hotel cook would oblige us. Thankfully, the cook, Henry, happily fried the fish up for us and served it with a sweet and sour sauce. Along with some vegetables, we had a fantastic dinner. And the cost? Just PHP80 a kilo (PHP96 for the whole fish) + about PHP50 for a cooking fee! We could have fed 3 hungry folks and for less than $1 eachâ€¦donâ€™t you just love eating in the provinces??? Fish prices ranged from PHP30 to 100 a kilo (the latter for fine lapu-lapu) and they were amongst the freshest fish I have ever seen for sale…