Talakitok is the local name that applies to several species of Trevallies / Jacks (Family Carangidae) that make excellent eating. Identifying to species level can be somewhat dicey so I will give you names of some of the commonly eaten smallish talakitok in the Philippines (say Â½ to 1 Â½ kilos) â€“ Blue Trevally (Carangoides ferdau), Bluefin Trevally (Caranx melampygus), Gold-Spotted Trevally (Carangoides fulvoguttatus), etc. In several books, and on one internet dictionary, I noticed that talakitok is translated as â€œcavalaâ€ or â€œbanded cavalaâ€ fish. I think this is probably incorrect as it is neither a scientific name or reference and further digging suggests it is a Portuguese translation for what they call a â€œmackerelâ€ which talakitok is definitely not. Suffice it to say there are several species of talakitok that range from small to enormous (say 50+ kilos!) and they taste great.
Talakitok has a firm flesh with a delicious flavor that must be a result of all that active swimming in open water and around reefs throughout the archipelago. My dad used to fish for talakitok and said they gave a very spirited fight once you had hooked them â€“ think all those muscles equals firm flesh? You can fry talakitok whole and serve it with a strong escabeche style sweet and sour sauce, grill it on coals, or bake it in the oven. Fillets from larger fish are also good breaded. In this photo, I have taken a modest sized talakitok (perhaps a kilo or so), seasoned it with salt and pepper, wrapped it in foil with generous sprinkling of olive oil and the juice of one lemon and cooked over a coal barbecue. Simple to make, delicious to eat. Source: Fishes of the Philippines, by G. Broad.